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U.S. Urges Restraint as Israel Weighs Response to Iran; Day 2 of Jury Selection in Historic "Hush Money" Case; Prime Minister Narendra Modi Seeking a Third Term; Trump Continues Bashing Judge over Gag Order; Olympic Torch Lit in Ancient Ceremony. Aired 9-9:45a ET

Aired April 16, 2024 - 09:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome to our special breaking news coverage. It's 5 pm in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson.

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: And it's 9 am on the U.S. East Coast. I'm Erica Hill in New York.

ANDERSON: We are following two major stories for you this hour. Here in the Middle East, we remain on high alert as we wait for what Israel's response

might be to Iran's weakened retaliatory attack. Over the course of the next two hours you'll hear my conversation with the Egyptian Foreign Minister on

the fears for regional stability.

And from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who says Iran shuttered its nuclear facilities on Sunday for quote, security

considerations too, key interviews coming up here on CNN.

HILL: Meantime, here in the U.S., Becky it's day two of jury selection in the historic hush money trial of Former President Donald Trump. Court opens

just a few minutes from now the former president arriving here just a few moments ago, the questioning of potential jurors is set to resume at the

top of the hour 10 am New York time.

Donald Trump is facing 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels

ahead of the 2016 election. And it is historic because he is the first former president to ever be tried in a criminal case, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good, Erica, back with you shortly. Well, it's a tense waiting game here in this region has Israel's government ponders its response to

Iran's attack and Iran's President raises the rhetoric. Israel's war cabinet is as we speak, convening for a fifth time since Iran launched more

than 300 missiles and drones towards Israel.

The government is promising to take action but facing intense international pressure to avoid further escalation. Well, Iran's President says if

Iranian interests are targeted, the response will be quote, severe and painful. With the very latest, lets cross Nic Robertson who is in


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, Becky, three and a half hours, into that fifth war cabinet meeting. We know that some of the

faces around the table will have changed at its core. It's the Prime Minister, the defense minister and Benny Gantz, who formerly you would have

described him as the main opposition figure, political opposition figure to the Prime Minister.

But they bring in other figures as needed the head of Mossad, the army chiefs are there. There are observers, those who've been the head of IDF,

the Israeli Defense Forces in the past, they bring in all the experts, they have had a lot of them around that table and to the point that you'll be

discussing later with Rafael Grossi there head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA.

That Iran shuttered its nuclear facilities Sunday knowing that President Biden over the weekend cautioned Israel against an immediate strike, but

knowing that members of the war cabinet did want an immediate strike even while the drones and other missiles were in the air flying towards Israel.

You think back to what Iraq has, rather, Israel has done in the past to strike deep into its enemy's territory at strategic targets, the Osirak

nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981, the nuclear power plant that was being built in Syria in 2007, there was a strike there it took Israel 11 years by

the way to admit to that strike.

But it shows the level and complexity of things that could be being discussed around that table right now that war cabinet table that they do

want to act. That is clear. But what it's going to be these discussions go on.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): In heated debate, Israel's war cabinet facing their toughest decision since October 7th. How to respond to Iran's unprecedented

air assault over the weekend? Differences over how and when not if dividing them, looking to allies for help.

BENNY GANTZ, ISRAELI WAR CABINET MINISTER: Faced with the threat of Iran, we will build a regional coalition and exact a price from Iran in a way and

at a time that suits us.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): At stake escalation of already inflame tensions, even regional war, the U.S. urging restraint and recusing itself from



ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We have been coordinating a diplomatic response to seek to prevent escalation.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): According to Israeli officials, Iran launched more than 350 drones, cruise and ballistic missiles late Saturday early Sunday

60 tons of explosives. Most intercepted by Israel and allies. In a paradigm shift of decades of proxy shadow war with Israel, Iran claiming it has

established deterrence following Israel's deadly attacks on its Damascus consulate two weeks ago, and warning Israel and the U.S. against


NASSER KANAANI, IRANIAN DIPLOMAT: Instead of making accusations the western countries should appreciate the Islamic Republic a few months' restraint

and responsible actions towards the stability and safety in the regions.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Even Israel's putative ally Jordan, which helped bring down some Iranian missiles Sunday, is wary of Israel's next move.

AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The Israeli Prime Minister has always liked to invoke some sort of confrontation with Iran. Now as the

international pressure on Israel to stop the aggression in Gaza continues. Invoking a fight with Iran is something that we believe he thinks could

dilute that pressure.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): In Gaza after months of mounting international pressure, Israel appearing to delay plans for an offensive in the densely

populated Southern City of Rafah and established aid deliveries directly into the malnourished north. For now, how hard to hit back at Iran for not

blew up relations with allies dominating Israel's political agenda.


ROBERTSON (on camera): And the IDF Chief of Staff last night told troops during a visit to an airbase that they were thinking ahead, officials are

thinking ahead, that they will strike back. But I think we should also look to Brussels and the European Union who are considering sanctions on Iran to

the high level of diplomatic support that Israel is enjoying at the moment and the criticism from those same countries of Iran and its strike on

Israel over the weekend.

And the fact that there was a G7 meeting called over the weekend by the G7 leaders to follow up on the strike and trying to sort of coordinate action

there is a movement I think we can see internationally towards a diplomatic response. That will obviously is something that Israel would like to see as


But I think the idea that it's a diplomatic path alone that Israel is willing to settle for. That doesn't seem realistic when you look at past

practice of Israel, that there will be some sort of military strike. And that does seem to be the assessment of the United States at the moment that

it will be a limited strike, but that there will be a strike, Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Nic. I want to bring in our Chief National Security Correspondent Alex Marquardt, then who is in Washington. Alex, you got new

reporting on this, as I understand it.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Becky, that what we're being told my colleague, Natasha Bertrand and I by

officials here is that there is an expectation that Israel will carry out something military, something kinetic, but that it will be limited in


That's the phrasing that I've been told by a senior Biden administration official. And so the point by Israel would be to respond in a very visual

way against Iran, but in a way that would hopefully not require in the Iranian view, a response for that. But of course, that is, you know, far

from --

The official you speak to here in Washington, are certainly very frightened about what this Israeli response could look like, because of the question

about it provoking yet another Iranian retaliation. Now, so far, we're told there has been no warning by the Israelis about anything imminent, which

the U.S. would hope to get.

Because an Iranian response would mean, perhaps putting American service members or diplomats in harm's way, perhaps an American or an Israeli

expectation that the Americans would help out. But what we've been hearing since Saturday night since Israel was able to knock down 99 percent of the

projectiles were coming into Israel is take the win.

That's the message from the White House to the Israelis, take this win, recognize that response by Iran essentially equalized what Israel had done

in Damascus and just move on from here. Israel has a lot of goodwill right now to what extent they decide to maintain that goodwill by not responding.

That remains to be seen. There's certainly a sense of we're hearing from Israel that they feel they need to reestablish deterrence when it comes to

Iran, Becky.


ANDERSON: Alex, it's certainly no winning it seems for anyone in Gaza at present. I know you've been talking to your sources about the hostage and

ceasefire talks currently stalled. What do we know at this point?

MARQUARDT: I think you're absolutely right. They're stalled. They seem to be at a real impasse. And what we've just learned my colleague, Jeremy

Diamond and myself is that Hamas is now saying that they are only willing to offer some 20 women hostages and elderly and wounded and sick men in the

first phase of a ceasefire deal.

That is half Becky, of the original 40 number that has been talked about for weeks, if not months. We had learned that Hamas was saying to mediators

that they did not have that 40 number. But now Hamas is telling mediators, we're only willing to offer 20 of those hostages. So then there's a

question of whether in order to reach that 40 figure, they would add some of the men perhaps some of the IDF soldiers.

And perhaps some of those hostages who have been killed, that remains to be seen. But this does appear to be a major impasse, Hamas not willing to

release the number of hostages that had been agreed to in this framework and the same time Hamas accusing Israel, of not budging on their demands to

allow Gazans to go back to the northern part of the Gaza Strip in an unrestricted way and for the IDF to pull back from Central Gaza.

So each side very much has their demands and is sticking to their guns. And what that means is that these talks do not appear to be progressing at any

real pace, Becky?

ANDERSON: Yeah, and frustrating the mediators, Egypt, Qatar, the U.S., of course, has been involved in this the sort of sense of this maximalist

approach by both sides. Really, and I'm sure our viewers will say, haven't we been here before? And the answer is, you know, frankly, we have, it


And it does seem as if we're sort of one step forward, three steps back at this point. Listen, we're all working our sources to try and ensure that

we're across everything that's going on. We very much appreciate your time, Alex. Thank you. Well, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has been

clearly very involved in what has been going on with regard these hostage talks, the last round of negotiations, of course, were hosted in Cairo.

I spoke to him earlier on today. And we caught up about what was going on with those talks. But we started by these weekend attacks against Israel by

Iran, the weekend drone and missile assault by Tehran. Now, we know that the foreign minister from Egypt has been in touch with both countries,

messaging to both. And asked him what his message to both Israel and Iran was?


SAMEH SHOUKRY, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, I've spoken to both foreign ministers, in an effort to convey the importance of maintaining tranquility

and peace and not to engage in a cycle that will only bring about more instability and will have a very negative effect on the people of the


This constant resort to military activity of one kind or another is not in any way helpful. We have to deal with the ongoing situation in Gaza, which

is quite a humanitarian crisis of an unprecedented dimension. And we have to deal with the overall security and stability of the region.


ANDERSON: And that was an important wide ranging interview. And we will bring that to you in full, including our discussion about where the

ceasefire and hostage talks stand and about an imminent assault by Israel on Rafah. The question is when at this point, it seems rather than if all

that part of our discussion and that will be in our next hour of "Connect the World".

So please do stay with me for that. And you can follow the latest developments from this region. In our Meanwhile in the Middle East

newsletter that drops three times a week. There's a story out now, on the very difficult balancing act Israel is facing as it considers its response

to Iran's retaliation. Scan the QR code on the bottom of your screen to sign up.

HILL: Well, here in the U.S., it is day two of jury selection and the historic hush money trial of Former President Donald Trump. Court opens

just a few minutes from now. Donald Trump arriving here a short time ago, seen a jury is expected to take anywhere from one to two weeks.


On day one, more than half of the first group of potential jurors was immediately excuse after they said they didn't feel they could be fair and

impartial. National Correspondent Brynn Gingras has been following all these developments for us and joins me now. So Brynn, we'll get to day two

of jury selection in just a second.

But there were also some important moments yesterday before jury selection began. And some of them stood out where the prosecution actually saying

that they felt Donald Trump had already violated the gag order. Where does that stand this morning?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, so that's coming up. It's another thing that the judge is going to have to address and actually

set a hearing for that next week. Basically, what the prosecution said here, Erica, is that Trump violated that gag order. Remember, he is

forbidden to say anything disparaging about jurors about the prosecution's family members, the judge's family members or witnesses in this trial.

And prosecution says that Trump had three tweets where he talked about witnesses, one of them being his former fixer, Michael Cohen, who is a main

witness in this trial, he basically he's called him a sleazebag in one of those tweets. And the prosecution wants to find Trump for violating that

order $1,000 for each of those three tweets.

So the judge said he wasn't going to rule on that yesterday, but did set a hearing for next week. Now remember, of course, we know that Trump really

in the past hasn't really stayed, you know, close to that gag order, as we saw in the civil trial. He violated it several times. So we'll see if that

continues, of course, as the president continues to attend this trial, Erica.

HILL: There were a lot of logistics also being dealt with in those first couple of hours in court yesterday. There is an important hearing next week

in Washington D.C. before the Supreme Court. Donald Trump wanted to be in attendance. But this judge said no, he has to be in New York, correct?

GINGRAS: Yeah, that's right. The judge said he has to be, he's the defendant this trial. So he needs to be here for this trial. And that means

every day of it, which is four days a week. He also brought up a question about going to his son Barron's high school graduation and changing around

the schedule for that, but the judge did not rule on that just yet -- so let's see how this trial goes.

But he needs to be here. And yesterday during the jury selection process, what you just said to her to the viewers, you know, it was quite a process.

It didn't get started till late in the afternoon. But 96 people were brought in and more than half said they couldn't be impartial or fair and

so were dismissed.

And it's going to be a tedious but of course important process for this trial. And during that time, Trump, you know, at times shut his eyes, there

was you know, people wondering, was he sleeping? Other times, he though, he was sort of reading along those 42 questions that jurors needed to answer

about him as they were in his presence.

And he actually you know, conferred with his attorneys past notes. So we'll see how he is today with this process. Again, that takes quite a bit they

expect it to last up to two weeks and see if he can withstand it, but he is trying to get out of his obligation to be here every day but the judge

seems to be firm that he does need to be there.

HILL: Yeah, we will be watching for that and it is that look at someone watch -- some wise legal scholar said to me in court, it takes a long time

to get a little done. So we'll be watching that Brynn, really appreciate it. Thank you. This is of course an unprecedented time in American history

really unchartered waters too in an election year.

That's a lot to keep up with. The good news is you can find it all on CNN politics, the latest developments in Donald Trump's legal cases, the media

blitz by his supporters, and how some of them could even be auditioning for VP. Still to come here on CNN, the world's largest democracy, heading to

the polls this week, the mood in India ahead of that key vote and -- global economy doing, we are just seeing the IMF latest assessment and its warning

for the world.



ANDERSON: Well, India is just days away from the start of its general election nearly a billion people are eligible to vote in what is considered

the world's largest election. Opinion polls predict the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right wing party will easily win and he is expected to be

appointed again as prime minister.

When the election begins on Friday and unfolds in seven phases ending on June the first. Let's bring in CNN Will Ripley and we will cover this

election at length. So let's start today with the most obvious question, which is what's at stake, Will?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is a lot at stake for the 1.4 billion people living here in India, nearly 1 billion

of them, as you mentioned registered voters and every single one of them over a period lasting about six weeks. If they want to vote, they'll have a

polling station available within two kilometers.

So the hope is for a high voter turnout, like what India saw in the last election, what was almost 70 percent, the approval rating of Narendra Modi,

the Prime Minister already has won two terms, he's going for a third term, which would be another five years in power, around 75 percent by some

polls, although some here inside India would dispute that that's an accurate number because he certainly does have his fair share of critics.

But he also has a lot of his supporters, particularly supporters in the in the Hindu community, the Hindu majority here in India, because Prime

Minister Modi has essentially basically by his life story, he's told his life story being the middle son of a tea seller and selling tea and

listening to people hearing about their problems understanding of the issues plaguing everyday people.

And also putting Hinduism first not all religions, not a secular focus like previous Indian administrations but a Hindu first nation. Some has said he

essentially has not just set himself up and advertised himself as a prime minister, also a head priest, a protector of Father of the Nation, listen.


SABA NAQVI, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: -- something which has not happened before in Indian politics among all our prime ministers, he willfully

creates a cult of his own personality.

RIPLEY: Have you ever seen this city so divided, so polarized?

VISHWAMBHAR NATH MISHRA, HEAD PRIEST AT SANKAT MOCHAN TEMPLE: This is what we call it. It is not the religious center. It is basically a spiritual

center. So this unique fabric has a strained condition now. And we have a fear that this fabric may break.


RIPLEY: And that is one major concern here in India and also observers from other parts of the world that the religious minorities here, particularly

the Muslim minorities, are going to be further marginalized by a government that has been accused of looking the other way, even when there have been

acts of violence against Muslims, even when there have been allegations of unfair police and judicial treatment towards Muslims.

And many Muslims on the ground, particularly in that City of Varanasi where I conducted the interview with one of the local religious leaders there, he

actually happens to be a Hindu priest, but he said he's concerned about the divisiveness, the scene in his community and he's concerned that that

divisiveness could continue.

Also other concerns as well on the ground here, Becky, such as 44 percent youth unemployment for people aged 20 to 24. You have widespread poverty,

ramp and government corruption, not to mention a deteriorating environmental situation. So certainly a lot of issues and yet Modi seems to

be almost unstoppable a real behemoth at the polls, at least that's the expectation, but as you know, in democracy, Becky, anything can happen.

ANDERSON: Well, if, as is the case elsewhere around the world, this is an election about how people feel about the Indian economy. Well, frankly, it

is on a real rip at present, that likely to play a key role in the way that people vote this year.


RIPLEY: Absolutely, the economy and India's growing stature and recognition on an international stage, you know, bolstering that relationship. That

business relationship, at least with Russia buying low cost Russian oil, but also bolstering diplomatic and military cooperation with fellow

democracies such as the United States and Australia and Japan, along with India forming the quad, which is much to the chagrin of Beijing, which

looks at India really as a rising force that could potentially curb its own assertive ambitions in this region.

The economy of India, by some measures has is climbing it's getting higher and higher. Even though there are a lot of people who are living below the

poverty line here. The number of billionaires is rising, industries are innovating and startups are thriving. And it's a business climate that

Prime Minister Modi has made part of his brand in indigenous in addition to those other issues, particularly the Hindu first policies that --

ANDERSON: Will Ripley on the story for you. Thank you, Will. Well, still to come. We are standing by for day two of Donald Trump's historic criminal

trial. The big challenge facing both sides, picking a jury to decide the former president's fate on dozens of charges, we'll get a New York Defense

Attorneys take on that coming up. And key IMF economic data released, stay tuned to find out what that might mean for already stubborn inflation, more

on that after this.



DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- looking at it and analyze. Every legal pundit, every legal scholar, said

this trial is a disgrace. We have a Trump hating judge. We have a judge who shouldn't be on this case. He's totally conflicted. But this is a trial

that should never happen or should have been thrown out a long time ago.

If you look at Jonathan Jeremy, Andy McCarthy, both great legal scholars, is not one that we've been able to find that said, this should be a trial.

I called a I was paying a lawyer and mark it down as a legal expense some accountant, I didn't know marking down as a legal expense. That's exactly

what it was.

And you've been indicted over that. I shouldn't be right now in Pennsylvania and Florida. In many other states, North Carolina, Georgia

campaigning, this is all coming from the vital White House because the -- put two sentences together. He can't campaign. We're using this in order to

try and win an election.

And it's not working that way. It's working the opposite way. So check that out legal expense. It's called legal expense. It's what you're supposed to

go -- Nobody's ever seen it. Nobody has ever seen anything like it. So thank you very much for coming. I'm going to sit down for many hours. I am

now going to sit down and the voters understand that you have to do is look at the pose -- and the judge should recuse himself -- Thank you very much.


HILL: So Former President Donald Trump there speaking just before entering the courtroom, just I want to do a quick fact check there. One thing that

he did say correctly is that we haven't seen anything like this before. That is true. It is historic. It is the first time ever that a former

president has been on trial on criminal charges.

However, the former president also saying that all legal scholars agree that this was a sham as he said many times that of course is not correct.

There are some people who disagree with the charges. There are many other legal scholars who don't. Meet some other interesting points that I

actually want to get into now with our expert Defense Attorney Misty Marris joins me Misty, great to have you with us.


The timing could not be better, my friend. I was struck by the fact that among those comments we just heard from the former president. He said I

marked it as a legal expense. I marked it as a legal expense. He it seems to be referring to what this case is about, right?

The allegation that in fact, there were -- there are 34 counts now that he's facing felony counts of mishandling business because of how a hush

money payment was used to allegedly cover up an affair a sexual encounter ahead of the 2016 election. Is he essentially trying to try his case before

heading into the courtroom now?

MISTY MARRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNY: Yeah, it sort of sounds like he's setting out some of what we would anticipate his defense being on the courtroom

steps, which, again, is always going to be an issue, because he has said that he's going to testify whether or not that happens, we don't know.

But it's always dangerous to make those types of broad statements outside the courtroom when we don't know what the evidence is going to be when it's

actually before the jury. So anything that said outside the courtroom can ultimately come back to haunt him when the case is underway.

HILL: Well, you read my mind. So thank you for answering my next question about whether or not that could come into play. You know, he also said that

he should be out campaigning other states that he's not allowed to go. The reality is he does need to be in court every day we know that.

There are some other interesting bits, though about this case that people may not be familiar with when it comes to New York state law one of the

reasons we don't we aren't seeing cameras in the courtroom video cameras is because of New York State law. But New York State also allows Donald Trump

to really be a part of this jury selection, including in the sidebars and the judge has said that's OK. Can you walk us through that? And what that

could potentially be like for these potential jurors?

MARRIS: Yes, absolutely. That is a very, very unusual request. So basically, when there's a sidebar, that's when both of the lawyers go up to

the judge's bench. And they discuss issues relating to the jury questions relating to the jury questionnaires.

It's where legal arguments are done before the judge and the judge will ultimately make a ruling if the prosecution or defense takes issue with

something that's happening during court -- or during the trial? Well, the defendant usually stays at the table.

They are not a participant in that sidebar, but Donald Trump has asked to be a participant and to actually be a part of those divers. And the judge

said, OK, what is it like for the jurors? Well, I've been in this courtroom so many times he will be pretty up close and personal to the jurors. So

it's going to be an interesting dynamic, because usually it's just the lawyers with Donald Trump also being involved in those sidebars, that's

definitely a different dynamic.

HILL: So we also heard it may be more likely that the judge actually clears the courtroom do you think part of that reasoning would be? Look, there are

a lot of -- there are a lot of players here to go into a sidebar? It's not just the attorneys it would be of course, the former president, the secret

service so a lot of people to fit into the judge's chambers or into a different room?

Or could it also be that you want to keep those prospective jurors, you want to keep a little bit of you -- as you've noted a little bit of that

distance maybe between that and the defendant?

MARRIS: Yeah, it's a combination of both because sometimes those arguments are sensitive and could potentially be something a juror is not supposed to

hear. And so it's not unusual to clear a courtroom if there is to be a larger argument.

But to your point, there could be another aspect of this, which is that dynamic that could put the jurors in an uncomfortable position, because

part of this is seeding an unbiased jury and getting honest answers from them during the four year process. So anything that could compromise that

is certainly something the judge is going to be looking out for.

HILL: We are looking for jury selection to get underway again, probably in about a half an hour. We'll get through that first group and other groups

will be brought in. We know this because last one to two weeks. What are you watching for in this process Misty?

MARRIS: Well, as we -- as we go through the jury selection process, obviously this is a really, really difficult case, to sit a jury. Now,

nobody is asking for somebody who's never heard of Donald Trump or knows nothing about him. That's simply impossible.

But the questions there's a 42 page questionnaire that's going to help the attorneys craft further questions for the board your process and make

determinations about how to see the jury? You know something that I found very striking yesterday, there were about 50 jurors who automatically said

that they could not be impartial, that they were biased, those jurors were dismissed.

So it's really the remaining jurors as you get about 500 people in the courthouse today to sit for this jury where the prosecution and the defense

are going to dig into some of those questions set forth on the questionnaire and other questions in the -- process with the goal of

seating jurors who can listen to the evidence in the courtroom and make a determination on that evidence alone separate the politics separate the

media separate all of that from what comes into the courtroom.


HILL: It'll be interesting to see and important to note, those 50 people who were excused didn't have to say why they felt they couldn't be

impartial or unbiased. So it would be interesting to know why. But unfortunately we never will. It's so fascinating. That's happening off the

top. Misty always appreciate your insight, your expertise. Thank you. And be sure to stay with CNN. We'll of course be following this closely

throughout the day -- though back now over to Becky in Abu Dhabi.

ANDERSON: Super Erica, thank you. Well, an upbeat forecast and a warning for the world's biggest economy. The International Monetary Fund currently

holding its spring meeting in Washington says the U.S. economy continues to exceed expectations and will considerably outpace its peers this year, but

there is a catch that strong growth the IMF says could fuel inflation.

So the IMF is urging the U.S. Federal Reserve to take what it calls a cautious and gradual approach to interest rate cuts. Well, let's have a

look at what these markets are up to. They are, let's call mixed pretty much flat. And we know that investors in these stock markets have been

keenly watching and listening and key indications about when those rate cuts might come.

So the fact that they are mixed and flat this morning, may be an indication that people are understanding where the IMF stands, is it well. The United

Arab Emirates where I am continues to grow as a Middle Eastern and global tech hub. And now Microsoft says it's investing $1.5 billion in the UAE's

artificial intelligence firm G 42. That gives the U.S. tech giant a minority stake in the company and a seat on its board of directors.

And it is worth noting the deal comes amid Washington's concerns over Beijing's tech advances and the U.S. has been especially worried about

deepening ties between China and the Gulf States including the UAE. Well, China's economy is in focus today.

Beijing says it picked up speed at the start of 2024. First quarter gross domestic product grew 5.3 percent from a year earlier, outpacing analysts'

expectations. China's economy is one has been having a bumpy ride. Let's put it that way, mostly due to the country's property downturn. So what's

behind this new upbeat number? My colleague, Marc Stewart explains.

MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with some context. It was just about one month ago when government leaders here in Beijing unveiled an

economic growth target of about 5 percent for 2024 some see that as ambitious.

This latest report, though, on the health of the Chinese economy is very much in line with that target. But there are some questions about whether

it can be maintained sustained into the future. If we look at the data manufacturing is a big part of the success. And in China there are really

three big industries right now electric vehicles, solar panels and batteries.

And being based here a lot of this is something that I've seen firsthand. Yet, as we've heard from Economist Harry Murphy Crews from Moody Analytics,

quote, there's a growing mismatch in China's economy. Manufacturers are doing the heavy lifting, while households sit on the sidelines.

And there's concern China is flooding the market essentially adding so much merchandise negatively then impacting pricing making it difficult for

others to compete. It's an issue Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen talked about during her visit here just last week, a practice that can prevent a

level playing field.

In addition, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and before that the German Chancellor expressed concerns among

similar lines according to Reuters. Finally the bigger issue China is still fighting economic headwinds, including problems with the property sector an

issue that still lingers and could prevent future growth. Marc Stewart, CNN, Beijing.

ANDERSON: And I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. We will be back with a more on your news headlines after this quick break. Stay with us.



ANDERSON: Well, the Olympic Torch is now officially lit ahead of the Summer Games. The ceremony took place in the Ancient City of Olympia in Greece,

the birthplace of the games dating back to 776 BC. Tennis Legend Serena Williams won't be competing at the Paris Games. But she did sit down

exclusively with my colleague, Amanda Davies, who joins us now and a tease as to what she told you, Amanda?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yeah, I wasn't sure Becky, given the fact we were in Paris with Serena was so often talks about her love for it as a

city. She won three French Open titles there. I did ask her whether she was tempted to evolve back to tennis to perhaps try and make an appearance at

the Olympics.

But she said no, that definitely isn't going to happen. But she's got so many other interesting things on the agenda at the moment and really this

drive to promote women in sports and the sports industry. And we talked a lot about how to capitalize this moment, for example, for the women in the

WNBA after the success of Caitlin Clarke in the college championship, so that is what we're going to be hearing from her just a couple of minutes.

ANDERSON: Super, can't wait. That's "World Sport" with Amanda after this short break, we'll be back top of the hour for you.