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Baltimore Bridge Collapse; Israel-Hezbollah Fighting; Former Hamas Hostage Details Sexual Assault in Gaza; SCOTUS Weighs Future of Abortion Pill; Sean "Diddy" Combs Probe; Call to Earth; Trump's Social Media Stock Soars for Second Day. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 27, 2024 - 10:00   ET




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

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

Investigators now on the boat that caused the collapse of the bridge in Baltimore. Plus, we are getting the first details on the victims of the


Rocket exchange between Israel and Hezbollah has killed at least seven in Lebanon and one in northern Israel.

Donald Trump's Truth Social is now a public company and it's reaping big gains on Wall Street. But experts say that could be short-lived.


GIOKOS: Welcome to the show.

Divers are looking for the bodies of the six construction workers presumed dead in the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore. The divers are

facing what Maryland's governor calls a treacherous situation.

Investigators have boarded the cargo ship that took down the bridge and recovered its data recorder. The hope it will provide some answers. The

governor spoke to CNN last hour.


GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): Our hearts go out to these families. They are, they are living a nightmare right now. And so when I told them that we would

exhaust we would exhaust every single option for the search and rescue to try to bring them -- bring back survivors, now that we've transitioned into

a recovery mission I promised them the same.

That I will exhaust all options to be able to bring them a sense of closure. And that includes these heroic divers who literally, as we speak,

are right now in the water, trying to and working in pitch dark conditions and frigid temperatures and high tides and high winds with mangled metal

all around them.

Who are looking and still searching for these individuals. So I'm thankful for these first responders for the heroic work that they're doing.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Have you had a chance to speak to the families of those presumed lost?

MOORE: I have. Yesterday I had the chance to spend time with them and prayed with them and prayed for them. And just praying that God can give

them a sense of peace. And so that's what we're hoping for right now, that, in this moment, that we can just bring them a sense of a sense of closure

after this, after this horrific incident.


GIOKOS: And we're learning more about the six people, now presumed dead. This is a picture of one of their Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval was married

and was a father of two, had come to the U.S. from Honduras 18 years ago.

Another of the missing, Miguel Luna, was an immigrant from El Salvador, who had also lived in Maryland for almost two decades.

Two others were from Guatemala and the Mexican embassy in Washington says some of the workers were from their countries. CNN transportation analyst

Mary Schiavo joins us now and she's a former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Mary, thank you so much for joining us. Look, you've been integral in our coverage of this story since that bridge collapsed. And since that vessel

struck that pylon, causing this catastrophe.

We've just heard from the mayor (sic), talking about how the recovery teams are facing treacherous conditions in very cold water. It is absolutely

heartbreaking to think what the teams are going through but also the loss of life here.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN TRANSPORTATION ANALYST: Oh, absolutely. And what they're going through in the water, for example, this water, I think they said it's

around 40 to 50 degrees. Hypothermia can set in rather quickly and you've only got about one to three hours in that kind of cold water before you

could perish. So it's very difficult for them.

It's hard to see; strong currents there. And they're treacherous working conditions when you realize there's also a giant container ship with

containers, teetering on the front end of the ship. Tough stuff.

GIOKOS: Yes. Yes. Exactly. Look, the NTSB has sought as the investigation we're starting to get a bit more information. I want you to take a listen

to what they said.


JENNIFER HOMENDY, CHAIR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: Right now we do have the data recorder, which is essentially the black box. We've

sent that back to our lab to evaluate and begin to develop a timeline of events that led up to the strike on the bridge.

And we hope to have that information to share with the public later today.



GIOKOS: All right. Importantly, critical information as with in terms of what we're going to be expecting from that black box. But perhaps one of

the most vital questions in terms of that mayday call, being able to stop traffic but not being able to alert the workers that were conducting

maintenance on the bridge.

SCHIAVO: Yes. I mean, that mayday call clearly saved a lot of lives but what it contacted, were people on either ends of the bridge, firstly

contacted one end of the bridge and that individual said, no, you're going to have to contact somebody on the other end of the bridge.

But the workers were on the bridge. So it appears there wasn't any way to get someone over there to contact them.

But by stopping the traffic on either end of the bridge, the bridge is almost two miles long, that the cars were doing 55 miles an hour, which is

typical speed limit in the United States, they had just enough time for the cars to transverse the bridge. And it was life-saving that mayday call,


GIOKOS: Yes, absolutely.

Look, you've got the black box on one hand. You also have a bit of information coming through from the company that chartered the ship as

well, saying they were perhaps propulsion and issues, loss of steering, that information also coming about. We've seen the images of the vessel

flickering lights and perhaps losing electricity.

But what are you going to be looking at that's going to be vital and what are the teams investigators going to be looking vital -- that is going to

be vital in understanding how this happened?

SCHIAVO: Well, yes. I mean, the NTSB gets their work done. This is a huge project for them investigating. Of course, they are assisted by the United

States Coast Guard and many other agencies.

But they do it by breaking down into working groups. And one of those working groups is the recorder group, the black box group. And on that will

be all sorts of information about the condition of the ship, the engines, the steerage, the gauges.

And it also, they will also have a recording of conversations at the bridge in the wheelhouse and the control house of that ship. And unlike many

tragedies, transportation tragedies, the people on the ship are alive. They will be interviewing the harbor pilots, the people who are actually

steering the ship.

And that's required. And there are also others in the area in that harbor. There were two tugs that originally started out with the ship and then

pulled back once they were in the channel.

So there's a lot of people that they can interview. They will have some answers by nightfall, by tonight. They will already have tremendous amounts

of information.

GIOKOS: Mary, you made mention of this vessel that's still in the water, still loaded with cargo and we can see the images now, mangled bridge on


At what point do they start discussing moving this vessel and also ensuring that there isn't any hazardous material on this vessel?

SCHIAVO: So that's the big issue. They cannot move the vessel until they can get the bridge pieces off. And that's a tremendous effort. You know,

when, you know, in the U.S., when they replace bridges, sometimes they implode them. They literally just drop them from explosives.

And when they do that, they have to get cranes and barges to get the pieces out. A lot of times, bridges, bridge components are used for making coral

reefs in the U.S. So they might be able, they might be allowed to haul them outside and deposit them in the open waters.

But that takes marine cranes, it takes experts to cut up the pieces. You're going to have to get those out in certain amounts of pieces. That, though,

getting those assets in place, and they're going to have to come from all over the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

That could take many, many days, if not weeks, just to simply move the bridge structure.


Sounds logistically challenging. And of course, something that could hamper the recovery operations. Mary Schiavo, always good to speak to you. Thank

you so much for staying with us on the story.

Well, let's stay on this. And structural engineer Ian Firth joins us now. He's a world-leading expert in bridge design as well as construction.

Great to have you with us. Perhaps we can -- you can help us make sense of those initial images that we saw of this rapid collapse of this bridge when

that vessel struck that pylon.

This is an old bridge but to, your understanding should a bridge behave this way when it came into contact with that kind of force from a vessel of

this size?


Yes, absolutely.

Thank you for having me on.

I have to say there's no surprise to me at all. There's the bridge, obviously, had its main supports taken out from underneath it. And so, of

course, it's going to come down.

That support, as you know, a relatively slender structure, four legged structure, which the bridge stands on. Or should I say stood on. Concrete

structure was never designed to carry anything like the kind of impact force that it experienced.


I mean, that was a very, very large ship. Indeed one of the biggest container vessels in the world. And it imparts a massive force of several

thousand tons. So it was never designed --


GIOKOS: We're talking about -- yes, absolutely. And it's very evident as we see the aftermath of this.

Look, here's the reality with newer bridges and newer designs. There's always some kind of the ship impact protection measures that can be put in

place. We've heard of concrete slabs and all sorts of other things within the sea.

Is that something that should have been done retrospectively and looking at the older bridges and asking these questions?

FIRTH: Absolutely right. So as you will know, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida collapsed in 1980 when it was hit by a ship five years earlier.

In Tasmania, the attachment bridge came down in similar circumstances. And in both those cases, rebuilt and with vessel impact protection.

And ever since then we have been designing big bridges. I've been involved with many where we do indeed design vessel protection measures, whether it

be an artificial island around the bridge support. So a ship will beach on the island before it hits the support.

Or as you say, a big concrete -- running a concrete structures as a fender, a deflector so that the vessel will hit that, deflect or stop and not hit

the bridge. Very sadly, nothing like that was installed in Baltimore.

Bear in mind, the bridge is Baltimore predates those incidents. It comes from the early 1970s. It was completed in 1977. But it really, it should

have had much better protection.

GIOKOS: I mean, honestly, I'm hearing you say that you've been able to install these impact protection measures.

Then the question becomes, could this been have been avoided if we had seen this being put in retrospectively?

This could have been avoided.

FIRTH: It's serious. I mean, I don't know the details and specifics about that particular site, which I don't know the details. But why were they not

put in?

It may have been cost. It may have been circumstances that would have made it difficult. Obviously one of the things that would have been an issue is

the narrowness of the channel. It's only 350 meters wide. There about the bridge span -- sorry, I'm using meters. I hope that's all right -- 350

meters is whatever it is in feet. And quite a narrow channel for a vessel of that size.

And if they had put some big impact protection devices either side of the bridge pier (ph), then that narrow channel would be even narrower.

So there may have been reasons why they decided not to do it. But it's a very sad decision to have been met to make because you can see what


Now, undoubtedly the replacement bridge will --


FIRTH: -- will be a longer -- sorry.

GIOKOS: Well, look like an opportunity to rebuild and rebuild better. Ian Firth, really good to have you on and your expertise. Thank you so much.


GIOKOS: At least eight people are dead following cross-border attacks between Israel and Lebanon on Wednesday. One person was killed during a

rocket attack in a northern Israeli town.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility, saying it launched dozens of rockets in response to an Israeli attack that killed seven medical staff in a facility

in southern Lebanon earlier Wednesday. CNN's Ben Wedeman has reported extensively from Lebanon and is back with us this hour.

Ben, good to see you again. I think one of the biggest concerns here, as you see a significant escalation between Israel and Hezbollah, and what

that would mean regionally, is this incident a concern and pointing toward further escalation?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Eleni, it certainly does indicate an escalation of sorts on the border between

Lebanon and Israel.

Now since the 8th of October, when hostilities began between Hezbollah and Israel, it's been sort of blowing hot and cold. There was a period not long

ago when we didn't have a cooling of the situation on the border. But certainly this incident today in which, as you said, seven people killed of

the Lebanese side, one on the Israeli side, represents one of the bloodiest days since the beginning of the war in Gaza.

Now until now, both sides have sort of stuck to what are known as the rules of engagement, not hitting too close to strategic places -- although we did

have this strike on the Hamas leader in Beirut back at the beginning of January.


But by and large, both sides are keeping within what seems to be broadening rules of engagement. But still we haven't had full scale hostilities.

Now certainly the Israelis have time and time again warned that they might consider major military operations in Lebanon. However, given Hezbollah's

capabilities and arsenal, Israel, very busy as it is with its war in Gaza, doesn't seem quite prepared or ready to essentially have a two-front war at

the moment.

But certainly there is a fear that, if one side goes too far, that certainly that kind of full-scale war is very much a possibility.

GIOKOS: All right. Ben Wedeman, always good to speak to you. Thank you.

Hamas is now calling on overseas donors to stop parachuting food aid into Gaza. The airdrops have become controversial and, in some cases, deadly.

Palestinian paramedics say at least 12 people drowned on Monday as they tried to retrieve aid parcels that fell in the sea.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has the details but a warning: her story contains graphic images.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As they spot a plane and the aid begins to drop, they run as fast as they can.

It's the rush of a people so desperate, so hungry, who would do anything to feed their children, now on the brink of starvation. This is what survival

in Gaza has come to, fighting for food, that little bit of aid that makes it into the north, where manmade famine now looms.

People chase parachutes that fell into these choppy waters. It is desperation that drives them into the sea. What you're about to see next is

disturbing. It's the reality of a war growing more cruel by the day.

The fastest, the fittest emerged with boxes of American-issued meals ready to eat. Others didn't make it out alive. People gather around the thin,

frail body of a man who drowned trying to reach that aid.

Twelve people drowned, according to paramedics.

"The parachutes fell into the water," Abu Hammad (ph) says, "but people want to eat. They went into the water and drowned. The current was so

strong, they didn't know how to swim. It's what you do when you have nothing left to lose."

"A man (ph) goes in swimming to get food for his children. He returns dead," this man says.

"Bring us aid through the land crossings. Our children are dying. We are dying.

"What are you doing? Where is the world?"

The world has been piling up lifesaving aid into trucks stuck at land crossings. Seemingly powerless in the face of Israel that's accused of

using starvation as a weapon in this war, a charge it denies, forcing the International Community to resort to dropping aid from the sky.

Several countries carried out aid drops on this day, deliveries that have been criticized for being ineffective, insufficient and unsafe.

Earlier this month, another air drop disaster, when a parachute failed and eight packages came crashing down, killing at least five people. It's a war

that's testing humanity. And many say this is what failure looks like -- Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.


GIOKOS: We're hearing from people familiar with the Doha ceasefire talks, who say they are, quote, "stuck but ongoing."

Israel and Hamas are trying to negotiate a hostage release deal and a ceasefire in Gaza. The families of the hostages are losing patience.

In the meantime two arrests were made Tuesday when family members protested outside the Israeli defense ministry in Tel Aviv. That word from one of the

groups taking part.

For the first time, one of the hostages who'd been held by Hamas is saying publicly that she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the militant group.

Amit Soussana speaking to "The New York Times" says she was abducted from her home by at least 10 men during the Hamas attack on October 7th. And she

says was subjected to a horrifying series of events when she was dragged into Gaza. CNN's Melissa Bell is tracking the story for us from Jerusalem.

Melissa, what more can you tell us about her experience?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Amit Soussana, Eleni, is a young Israeli lawyer who was kidnapped on October 7th, released as part of

that exchange that we saw back in November. And what she's given to "The New York Times" in an interview that lasted a full eight hours.


It's very detailed reporting, very carefully thought through. And what it allows is a very harrowing read, first of all, about what this young woman

went through while she was in captivity. The details of her fear, the details of how she was tied, the uncertainty that awaited her, the changes

in locations.

And of course, as you say for the very first time, an actual account of some of the sexual violence that we've been hearing so much about ever

since this conflict began.

Remember, the United Nations published a report earlier this month that outlined not only what it said were indications of rapes and gang rapes

that had taken place on October 7th but also what it believed were ongoing abuses against the female hostages still in the hands of Hamas in the Gaza


And I think what her testimony allows is a glimpse into that. That's certainly what's been picked up on by one of the mothers of one of the

young ladies still being kept hostage, who said, it reminds us and gives us an idea of what these people, these are children, are going through day

after day.

Saying where in Gaza, where a day is like eternity. And of course, this sort of testimony is poignant and as difficult to read as it is, adds of

course, pressure to the Israeli authorities and reminds the Israeli people of the urgent need to get their hostages out.

Comes of course, in the context you mentioned a moment ago, of the fact that we're hearing that those talks that had proved so promising, with some

semblance, beginnings of an agreement, at least on the ratio of Palestinian prisoners that might be exchanged for some 40 Israeli hostages.

We had assumed that was collapsed after the Israeli delegation left Doha. In fact, now hearing that those conversations continue, with proposals

going back and forth on some of the other sticking points.

Things, Eleni, like the movement of Gazans northward within the Gaza Strip, the humanitarian aid, the position of Israeli troops inside the Gaza Strip.

Those talks said to be continuing with some hope then that a ceasefire might yet be achieved.

GIOKOS: All right, Melissa Bell. Thank you so much for bringing us that story.

And we'll bring you the latest on where hostage talks stand coming up a little later in the show.

Also ahead, America's highest court considers the fate of a widely used abortion pill and it appears some justices are skeptical about banning it.




GIOKOS: Yesterday, we brought you live arguments from the most consequential reproductive rights case since the overturning of Roe versus

Wade. The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing the fate of mifepristone, the primary drug used for medication abortions.

Well, a ruling isn't expected for months.


A majority of justices already appeared skeptical of a nationwide ban or new limits on the pill. CNN's Paula Reid has the key moments from

Washington for us.


PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hundreds of protesters gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court as the justices

considered the most significant abortion case since they overturned Roe v. Wade.

This case focuses on expanded access to Mifepristone, one of two drugs typically used in the process known as medication abortion, which accounts

for roughly two-thirds of abortions in the U.S.

But during Tuesday's arguments, a majority of the justices appeared likely to maintain the expanded access to the drug, which was first approved by

the FDA in 2000.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE NEIL GORSUCH, U.S. SUPREME COURT: We've had, one might call it a rash of universal injunctions or vacatures. And this case seems

like a prime example of turning what could be a small lawsuit into a nationwide legislative assembly on an FDA rule or any other federal

government action.

REID (voice-over): Shortly after Roe was overturned, a conservative group of anti-abortion doctors and advocates sued the FDA over its approval of

Mifepristone and the case now focuses on FDA approval of expanded access to the drug.

But during the hearing, justices from across the ideological spectrum pressed the group challenging the drug as to whether it had standing or the

right to bring the case, asking their lawyer about what harm the group faced.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, U.S. SUPREME COURT: May I ask Ms. Hawley about your basic theory of standing?

I mean, you're just saying even FDA admits that there are going to be some adverse events, people are going to show up in emergency rooms, people are

going to come face-to-face with one of our doctors who objects to some aspect of the treatment.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Just to confirm on the standing issue, under federal law, no doctors can be forced against

their consciences to perform or assist in an abortion, correct?

REID (voice-over): And Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson pressed on why the group believes restricting everyone's access to the drug is necessary given

that doctors can raise religious objections under federal law.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, U.S. SUPREME COURT: I mean, it makes perfect sense for the individual doctors to seek an exemption but as

I understand it, they already have that.

And so what they're asking for here is that in order to prevent them from possibly ever having to do these kinds of procedures, everyone else should

be prevented from getting access to this medication.

So why isn't that plainly overbroad scope of the remedy the end of this case?

REID: We expect this decision to come in late June, which will, of course, be the heart of the presidential campaign season. Now whatever the justices

decide here could potentially be a factor in that critical race. Since Roe was overturned, the Democrats have used the abortion issue to galvanize

their supporters.

Whereas former President Trump, who has taken credit for Roe being overturned, has also said, look, when it comes to Republicans, there need

to be some concessions on this issue because, quote, "we need to win elections" -- Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.


GIOKOS: Still to come, U.S. officials say the black box from the cargo ship that struck a Baltimore bridge has been found. And we'll have the very

latest on the investigation and what we know about those missing.





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

Our top story, the so-called black box of the cargo ship that triggered the deadly collapse of a major bridge in Baltimore is now in the hands of

investigators. Also happening, divers are in the water, they're looking for the victims who plunged into the river when the bridge fell. All six are

presumed dead.

CNN's Kristin Fisher joins us now from Washington.

We're starting to get a lot more information. The black box is going to be critical in understanding what happened leading up to the crash and the

reaction. We're hoping to hear from the NTSB at some point in the next few hours.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE & DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. And you know, as you were saying, there's NTSB investigators able to board the

vessel for the very first time in the overnight hours and obtaining the ship's voyage data recorder.

Which, when you're talking about airlines and airplanes, that's essentially the equivalent of a black box on these types of vessels. And so that

hopefully there may be some information from that, Eleni, that the NTSB is going to be able to share when they hold this press conference a little bit

later today.

But those types of things usually require a bit of time for them to extract all of that data. So it remains unclear exactly what more we will learn


Also happening today, the NTSB is interviewing the crew on board the Dali for the very first time. So between the black box and the crew interviews,

hopefully starting to get a much more full picture of what happened in those minutes and even hours before this deadly collision took place.

And one other thing, Eleni, yesterday, we were able to listen to the very first conversations between officials on or near the bridge after they got

that mayday call from the ship's crew, saying that the ship was suffering from some kind of power issue. Listen to this extraordinary exchange,

literally right before the ship hit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need one of you guys on the south side, one of you guys on the north side, hold all traffic on the Key Bridge. There's a ship

approaching that just lost their steering. So until we get that under control, we've got to stop all traffic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're on the route to the south side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm on traffic now. I was driving on the south prior to the bridge. So I'll have all -- I'll have the traffic stops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten-four. Is there a crew working on that bridge right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Several trucks (ph).


Done (ph). Only south traffic (INAUDIBLE) right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, if we could stop traffic, just make sure no one was on the bridge right now. I'm not sure where -- if there's a crew out

there. I want to notify whoever the foreman is, see if we can get them off the bridge (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten-four. Once the other unit gets you all right up on the bridge (ph) (INAUDIBLE), all having traffic stop at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten-four. Once you get here, I'll go over, have the workers on the Key Bridge and then stopping outer loop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) procedures (ph) left.


The whole bridge just fell down. Start, whoever, everybody, the whole bridge just collapsed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we know what traffic was stopped?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't get to the other side, sir. The bridge is down. We're going to have to get somebody on the other side, (INAUDIBLE)

battalion (ph), NTSB (ph), to get up here and stop traffic coming northbound on the Key Bridge.


FISHER: So incredibly, those officials were able to stop traffic from going on the bridge in those seconds before the ship hit. The governor of

Maryland saying yesterday that undoubtedly saved countless lives.

But then you also heard in that exchange the officials talking about, we -- saying we know that there's a construction crew on the bridge. We later

learned they were filling potholes.

"Can we get to the foreman?

"Can we get to them in time to move them off the bridge?"

Unfortunately, we now know they weren't able to do that. And so now all six of those construction workers that divers have been searching for and are

continuing to search for are presumed dead.

And Eleni, you've got divers in the water continuing to contend with these very cold temperatures in the water, strong currents. And now today you

have some choppy waves and rain to contend with as well, not to mention all the mangled metal that they're having to dodge in the water as well.

So an incredibly difficult recovery effort still underway the way in the Port of Baltimore.

GIOKOS: Heroic efforts. So many questions around when they got that call, how much time they had to, of course, try and stop the traffic and also

reach out to the foreman. Hope we will get more detail as the hours progress. Kristin Fisher, always good to see you. Thank you.

Well, we're learning new details about at least three other deadly accidents involving Synergy Marine Group. That's the group that managed the

Dali cargo ship.

In 2018 in Australia, one person was killed in an accident involving the ship's elevator.

A year later in Singapore an officer went missing after likely falling overboard.

And last year in the Philippines, a sailor was killed when a tanker collided with a dredging ship.

In response, Synergy Marine Group says they are currently focusing on the Baltimore incident and says it would be inappropriate to discuss any

previous incidents at this time.

Meantime, the deadly bridge collapse in Baltimore highlights what experts say is an urgent need to improve or protect all bridges to accommodate

larger modern vessels. CNN's Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong with a closer look.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This one is about 100 meters longer than the Dali, just huge. And look at it right next to moored

(ph), right next to Hong Kong's Stone Cutter Bridge (ph). So that gives you a sense of the scale of how big these ships are next to a critical piece of

infrastructure like that.

At the time that the Francis Scott Key Bridge was constructed, that's in the late '70s, industry experts tell me that ships like this and the Dali

simply didn't exist. The shipbuilding industry was not making container ships of this size then.

And so there is a new reality here that perhaps we're having to get to grips with. Case in point, up the Pearl River from where I'm floating right

now, from Hong Kong Harbor, there was just last month a deadly incident involving a Chinese ship hitting another bridge in the city of Guangzhou.

It brought down part of that bridge, killed at least five people. As vehicles plunged off of that bridge, some of them actually hitting the ship

itself, Chinese officials initially blamed the ship's crew for that accident.

So the fact that you've had two incidents like this, almost back-to-back on opposite sides of the world, well, perhaps it suggests officials have to

look more closely at these types of risks, particularly when you're talking about vessels like this that are just simply enormous.


GIOKOS: Well, I want, to, turn now to another story that we're following. An attorney for embattled media mogul, Sean Diddy Combs, says his client is

the target of a witch hunt. Combs was headed to a spring break trip with his daughters when agents searched his two homes. CNN's Josh Campbell



JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sean Diddy Combs, music mogul. Now the target of a federal investigation carried out by a

team that specializes in human trafficking crimes.

Two homes belonging to Combs, one in Los Angeles and one in Miami Beach, were searched Monday, according to a law enforcement source briefed on the


A second law enforcement source familiar with the search warrants tells CNN agents were authorized to search his homes for documents, phones, computers

and other electronic devices. Armed vehicles descended on the property simultaneously, a precaution related to armed private security teams

employed by Combs.


His homes were searched by HSI, the principal investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, with personnel stationed across the globe,

which specializes in countering human trafficking, focused both on rescuing victims and identifying and prosecuting suspected traffickers.

This investigation coming on the heels of several civil lawsuits.

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: All of them were incredibly graphic, accusing Diddy of rape, grooming, sexual assault,

drugging women. There's a lot of similarities in these lawsuits.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): One of those from a former girlfriend, Cassandra Ventura, who goes by the stage name Cassie, alleging rape and physical

abuse, was settled in November.

In a December statement, Combs responded to the claims in all the lawsuits, saying, "Sickening allegations have been made against me by individuals

looking for a quick payday. Let me be absolutely clear. I did not do any of the awful things being alleged."

Cassie's attorney, responding to Monday searches and the investigation, "Hopefully this is the beginning of a process that will hold Mr. Combs

responsible for his depraved conduct."

Another lawsuit filed in February by a former employee, producer Rodney Jones, who goes by the stage name Lil Rod, accusing Combs of, among other

things, sexual assault. The musician was not at either home at the time. His whereabouts still unknown.

WAGMEISTER: This is a huge stain on his reputation, to say the least. And this really feels like a fall from grace for one of the biggest stars and

moguls in the music world.

CAMPBELL: Now we received a statement today from Combs' attorney, blasting the show of force by armed tactical federal agents outside both residences.

The attorney calling this a witch hunt and a gross overuse of military level force. Still, he says that Combs is cooperating with investigators.

He goes on to say in the statement that, "Neither Mr. Combs nor any of his family members have been arrested nor has their ability to travel been

restricted in any way. There has been no finding of criminal or civil liability with any of these allegations. Mr. Combs is innocent and will

continue to fight every single day to clear his name."

Of course, the big question still, what, if anything, did federal investigators find at those residences?

And how might that information be used in any possible criminal investigation?

As of right now, investigators aren't saying -- Josh Campbell, CNN, Los Angeles.


GIOKOS: Kenyan authorities have begun to return the bodies of starvation cult victims back to their families. Those bodies were recovered from mass

graves in the Chaka Hala Forest and they were victim Christian cult led by a pastor, who convinced many of them to starve themselves to reach

salvation. Others were bludgeoned to death.

Forensic experts and volunteers have been exhuming bodies for many months and they're not done yet. They warn there are likely more horrors to come.


IRUNGU HOUGHTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL KENYA: Four hundred twenty-nine bodies have been identified so far with the phase five

exhumation that's about to happen we suspect that that number may go up by several hundreds.

If we put those figures together, it -- this single massacre, this mass crime probably has combined more deaths than several terrorist attacks that

we've seen.


GIOKOS: Well, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD and there's more news just ahead. You can stay with us and we'll be right back.





GIOKOS: Throughout this week, "Call to Earth," is turning the spotlight on the Bahamas. An international working to advance ocean research and

conservation, Dr. Austin Gallagher launched Beneath the Waves nearly a decade ago.

Today we take a look at how their unique partnership with an apex predator led to the discovery of the planet's largest seagrass meadow in Bahamian




ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Early morning on the Western tip of Grand Bahama, the northernmost of all the Bahamian

islands. And just about 100 kilometers from the U.S. state of Florida's coastline.

AUSTIN GALLAGHER, FOUNDER AND CEO, BENEATH THE WAVES (voice-over): The Bahamas has really been a second home for me for as long as I can remember,

dating back to some of my first times ever going on scuba-diving trips, learning how to enjoy and swim in the ocean.

And it's just really remarkable because it supports so much life. So, for me, as a younger scientist that was fascinated with animals like sharks,

this was really ground zero.

ASHER (voice-over): Dr. Austin Gallagher is the founder and CEO of Beneath the Waves, a non-profit organization currently based in his hometown of

Boston, Massachusetts.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): We marine research projects all over the world, really focused on advancing discovery in our oceans and collecting the data

that governments and communities need in order to better coexist with our oceans.

ASHER (voice-over): Accompanied by three members of his team, they've come together from different points in the U.S. and the Caribbean for a four-day

research expedition.

To kick things off they're heading out to Tiger Beach, a well renowned dive spot that, as the name suggests, is famous for an abundance of one of the

ocean's most prolific predators and Austin's favorite research partner.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): This is the place that I've been studying for a long time and I've seen tiger sharks all over the world. This continues to

be the most special place for seeing tiger sharks, completely protected here from fishing. They've been benefiting from almost 30 years of

conservation measures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, guys.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get you down there.


ASHER (voice-over): Labeled as near threatened on the IUCN red list, they can grow up to 7.5 meters in length but are more commonly in the 3-4 meter

range, weighing between 385-635 kilograms.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Tiger sharks are the largest predatory shark in tropical waters and they are really like the Swiss army knife of the shark

world. Incredibly flexible diet, wide ranging behavior that can tolerate very large range in temperatures.

And they're found pretty much all over the world.

Just so nice to take a minute to realize how beautiful they are and this is really why we need to protect the species in this ocean. We have so much to

learn. So a really good first dive.

ASHER (voice-over): For the second dive, they've decided to set up at a seagrass meadow, a seemingly inconspicuous patch of green on the ocean

floor. But to Austin, it signifies so much more.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): I've learned that the behavior of tiger sharks is completely different in seagrass meadows.

ASHER (voice-over): From 2016 to 2020, the Beneath the Waves team conducted a study where they equipped tiger sharks with cameras. The aim

was to gain a better understanding of what a day in the life of the animal looked like.

What came back was hours of groundbreaking footage that would change the trajectory of their research.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): we're just at the beginning of understanding how valuable and how important this seagrass asset is. Seagrasses, mangroves,

they are what we call a nature based solution to climate change.

So if we want to try and build resiliency, if we want to try and enhance coastal protection and create benefits for communities and biodiversity,

going out and quantifying how much carbon and what the extent of that looks like is incredibly important for ocean research.


GIOKOS: Watch the special half-hour program, "Call to Earth: Expedition Bahamas," airing this Saturday and Sunday on CNN. I'll be right back.





GIOKOS: Welcome back. Let's check in to see how the company behind Donald Trump's social media app, Truth Social, is doing as markets open this

morning. The stock trading under the ticker DJT is up once again today, around 12 percent after soaring in its debut on Wall Street on Tuesday.

This marks the first time in decades that any part of Trump's business empire has gone public. CNN's Matt Egan is live in New York.

Great to see you. I mean, fascinating stuff. It's up. There was a concern about, well, how the stock would be faring.

But what can you tell us about its performance?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR WRITER: Well, Eleni, the performance is straight up. You see that up another 13 percent for Trump media. It's, been

a wild start as a publicly traded company, for the owner of Truth Social. It's been absolutely incredible over the last six months.

This stock has more than quadrupled. It spiked back in January when Donald Trump -- really, you can see the spike there on the screen -- when Donald

Trump, had a landslide victory in the Iowa caucuses. And then you can see more recently it's going straight up again.

And the higher the stock price goes, the richer Donald Trump is, at least on paper. He owns a dominant stake, 79 million shares. Those are worth

billions of dollars. Of course, we should note that, even though he owns that big stick, he can't necessarily tap that for cash, not right away.

There's restrictions.

But you see on the screen, we're looking at Truth Social. And it is important to remember that some experts are warning that this company is

overvalued because its core business, Truth Social, is still tiny.

I just can't see it, 0.5 million monthly active users total dwarfed by X, which is 75 million. But even Threads, Instagram's Threads is 10 times more

monthly active users than Truth Social does.


So then you make such a good point because you were talking about whether this is overvalued. I was wondering whether the price, this increase, not

sitting up 11 percent, is reflective of the fundamentals of the company that is actually using money and users or whether it's reflected of

something else. I mean, it's quite interesting that it's almost like people can bind to this if they're buying into what he stands for. I just wonder

what the play is here.

EGAN: Yes, it's a bet on Trump. It's not anything to do with fundamentals, not at all. This is a company that is losing money. It's generating very

little cash flow. It's really burning through cash.

When we compare Trump media to the most recent social media company to go public, Reddit, just last week, there's such a stark difference. Look at

this, Reddit about $800 million in annual revenue. When it went public last week, it was valued at $6.4 billion.

But look at Truth Social, it was valued when it started trading around $9 billion yesterday, even though it has a tiny fraction of the revenue. The

gap there is really stunning.

And that's why some experts, some professors are telling me that this stock is a bubble. Another professor told me that it's basically a meme stock.

But we should note that companies that are purely trading on momentum, they can keep going higher and higher and higher. It's very hard to pinpoint

exactly when they come back to Earth.

GIOKOS: Well, I mean, something doesn't add up and we look at those numbers and you juxtapose it against Reddit. But you know, I'm taking a

little -- analysts will say the trend is your friend. So just remind us what happened to last time a Trump business went public.


What have we learned about the trend of Trump going public?

EGAN: Well, let's go back to 1995. That's when Trump had a casino business. That went public to much fanfare. And even though this was,

again, a casino business, with a presence largely in my home state of New Jersey, this company never made a profit, which is pretty amazing.

It ended up filing for bankruptcy nine years later. Then it reemerged as Trump entertainment resorts. And it lost $2 billion over five years. It

filed for bankruptcy again in 2009. And this issue actually came up in the SEC filings for Truth Social owner Trump media, right?

They explicitly warned that Donald Trump has a history of filing for bankruptcy and that there can be no assurance that this won't happen again.

And, Eleni, I think all of this is just a reminder of how this company's fate is really tied to just one individual, right?

Donald Trump, he is not just the dominant shareholder. He's the chairman, he's the most popular user and he also, by the way, is under multiple

criminal indictments.

GIOKOS: Matt Egan, always a pleasure to speak to you. Great context there for us.

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