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Blinken In Riyadh To Press Ceasefire, Hostage Talks; Pro-Palestinian Protests Shake U.S. College Campus; Sanders Supports Pro-Palestinian Protests, Condemns Bigotry. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired April 29, 2024 - 10:00   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome to the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Erica Hill in New York in today for my colleague Becky

Anderson. America's top diplomat is back in the Middle East for a seventh time since the start of the Israel-Hamas War. On this visit, Anthony

Blinken's meetings come amid new signs of progress and finally securing a ceasefire for Gaza. Blinken is meeting with regional foreign ministers and

other top diplomats at a special world economic forum meeting in Riyadh.

It's all happening while a Hamas delegation is in Cairo discussing a new framework for a ceasefire. Blinken is urging Hamas to accept that deal.


ANTONY BLINKEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Hamas has before to proposal that is extraordinarily, extraordinarily generous on the part of

Israel. And in this moment, the only thing standing between the people of Gaza and the ceasefire is Hamas.


HILL: As talks continue, Rafah is still being targeted by Israeli airstrikes ahead of a promised Israeli ground incursion. Hospital officials

there report at least 20 people have been killed, including an infant and a toddler.

Jeremy Diamond is connecting us this hour from Jerusalem and Kylie Atwood is standing by at the State Department in Washington. Let's go first to

Jeremy there on the ground. Jeremy, give us a better sense of where things stand on this Monday, especially when it comes to some of those


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, Erica, only a ceasefire and hostage deal could prevent the Israeli military from

going into Rafah and carrying out that long-promised ground offensive. And the next few days will be critical to seeing whether or not that deal can

indeed be achieved. I'm told that the Egyptians now have a new framework that is on the table for Hamas to review.

It was submitted with Israeli input, crafted with Israeli input, but not all of the points have been agreed to by Israel. But the next coming --

next couple of days are going to be key to seeing whether or not what's in this framework is enough for Hamas to be willing to at least move forward

with negotiations or perhaps whether this week could spell the end of those negotiations for the time being and instead a Rafah offensive to be


This latest framework, I'm told, would see 20 to 33 Israeli hostages released over the course of several weeks with about one day of ceasefire

for every hostage release. But then what would follow that would be effectively a one-year ceasefire or what these officials are calling the

restoration of sustainable calm, diplomatic speak to effectively avoid talking about a permanent ceasefire in writing here.

And there is a delicate dance to be had here over whether or not over the timing of this first phase of the agreement that would see those 20 to 33

hostages released. And then this kind of longer term more comprehensive agreement, which would see not only the remaining Israeli hostages as well

as the bodies of dead hostages released, but also of course an end to the war, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip.

Something that Hamas has been insisting on in order to even begin to move forward with the first phase of this agreement. So critical days ahead to

determine the possibility of this happening. And we know, of course, that the United States says that they believe that the ball now is in Hamas's


HILL: Yes, absolutely. And welcome to you to watch for those developments. Jeremy, appreciate it. Thank you.

As part of the discussion here in the U.S., colleges are really struggling to contain an increasing number of pro-Palestinian protests.

The situation turning violent on Sunday at UCLA when physical altercations broke out between rival protest groups after security barrier was breached.

Also take a look at this intense protest on the other side of the country. This one in Virginia Tech.

Heavy police activity was reported on Sunday. Officers making arrests and then did work to remove demonstrations from an on campus in Campman. An

Atlanta, faculty at Emory University are pushing for a no confidence vote of the university's president following last week's violent arrests at a

protest site on campus. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for his part expressing support for the ongoing pro-Palestinian protests on U.S. college campuses

but also telling CNN anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry must be condemned. Take a listen.



BERNIE SANDERS, UNITED STATES SENATE INDEPENDENT: Right now what Netanyahu's right wing extremist and racist government is doing is

unprecedented in the modern history of warfare. They have killed in the last 6-1/2 months 33,000 Palestinians, wounded 77,000, two-thirds of whom

are women and children. They have destroyed over 60 percent of the housing. They have destroyed the health care system.

They have destroyed the infrastructure, no electricity, very little water. And right now, we are looking at the possibility of mass starvation and

famine in Gaza. When you make those charges, that is not anti-Semitic. That is a reality. So, our job is to condemn Hamas, a terrorist organization

that started this war, condemn in every form anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of bigotry.

But we do have to pay attention to the disastrous and unprecedented humanitarian disaster taking place in Gaza right now.


HILL: It is such a strong point of discussion here in the United States, and we are seeing more and more of these demonstrations. CNN's Gabe Cohen

is joining us now from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Those protests at G.W. spilling out beyond the campus, Gabe.

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erica. That is right. Intensions have been rising overnight. If you look behind me, you can see a whole bunch of

barricades that are piled up in the middle of university yard here with that Palestinian flag posted on top of it. What happened overnight, those

barricades had been surrounding this small part of the yard here where there were these groups of tents.

Just about 20 campers were left from this now, days-long protest. But overnight there was this incident, and they decided all of these protesters

to pull up those barricades. As you can see, so many more tents have come into the yard, and this is what H Street, just outside G.W.'s property,

looks like here. The protest has only been growing, and the big question as we enter Monday morning is when, if at all, will D.C. police come in and

clear out these protests?

Up to this point, they have said they really don't want the optics of that. They don't want to be removing tents and potentially arresting these

protesters who have said that they are not going to leave, even if it means being arrested, that they have these demands for G.W. and for some of the

other schools in the D.C. area to divest from anything connected to Israel and the Israeli government.

So, again, we're waiting to see how the school and MPD Police, I should say, how they respond, Erica, but those tensions are still rising this

morning, and we'll bring you more as soon as we have it.

HILL: Yes. As we continue to follow. Gabe, I really appreciate the update there. This topic, of course, not just happening here, not just being

discussed here in the U.S., but of course abroad as well. We are seeing demonstrations rise in other areas across the globe, and as we know,

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, of course, in Saudi Arabia.

Kylie Atwood joining us now from the State Department. The Secretary making some comments about what we have seen in terms of these protests, Kylie.

What more can you tell us?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, Erica, I spoke with him late last week and what he said about the protests is that

they are not in and of themselves, anti-Semitic, though he said that there are specific comments that have been coming out of some of these protesters

that are anti-Semitic and he called into question, of course, any of the chants that have been pro-Hamas chants, you know, saying, you know, what in

the world do they mean by that?

So, he was very clear to say that the administration is watching these protests. I asked him how these protests may impact Biden administration

policy, and he said simply that the administration listens to the American people, but he didn't get any specific detail as to how these protests

could impact Biden administration policy. And I think that's an area for us to continue watching as these protests are only spreading across the


And of course, the backdrop today, Erica, is that the secretary is in Saudi Arabia. He said earlier this morning that the new proposal that has been

put on the table from Israel to Hamas to try and secure this ceasefire, and of course, the release of hostages is in his words, extraordinarily

generous proposal. He urged Hamas to take up and accept that proposal, as he has been doing for some time now, saying that this back and forth

between the two sides, the onus is really on Hamas to accept what Israel has put on the table here.

And as you were speaking earlier with Jeremy, time is of the essence because it's very clear that Israel has plans to go into Rafah if there

isn't a ceasefire agreement and U.S. officials are keenly aware of that. Of course, the secretary is trying to push all momentum towards the ceasefire

while he's in Saudi Arabia and while these negotiators are meeting in Egypt today.


HILL: It is of the essence. Kylie, appreciate it. Thank you.

Just ahead here, dozens are dead. Homes washed away, trees uprooted, a massive dam collapse in southern Kenya adding to the misery there. After

weeks of heavy rain and flooding will take you to the scene. Live.


HILL: A new CNN poll finds high levels of disapproval when it comes to Joe Biden's handling of the conflict in Gaza. 71 percent of respondents say

they don't like the way the U.S. President has handled the war between Israel and Hamas. That number is 81 percent. If you look at those between

the ages of 18 and 34. That CNN poll also asked registered voters about the presidential race finding that Donald Trump leads Biden in that head-to-

head matchup.

CNN's Political Director David Chalian enjoys this now from Washington with a closer look at the latest polling. It had been sort of narrowing, I

guess, a little bit from what we've seen in a lot of the polling. The space between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. But we're seeing Trump eke out ahead


DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. And I should just -- we'll do a little bit of a quick lesson on poll reading for everyone watching. Erica.

Focus less on the margin between the two candidates and understand each candidate's level of support. And I think you see a remarkably consistent

race across our polling for the last eight months. Donald Trump's support level has been within a narrow band of two percentage points, somewhere

between 47 and 49 percent.

Joe Biden's support level has been within a narrow band of three points, between 43 and 46 percent. That's all within the margin of error. So, this

race has been a remarkably consistent one showing a Trump lead for the most part. And again, this is nationally, and that's not, of course, how we

actually elect presidents here in the U.S. It's an electoral college camp, but today it is 49 percent to 43 percent in our poll with about six months

to go in this race.

Obviously, this is not predictive. This is just the snapshot of where things are now, Erica. One thing I would just note is on the issue matrix,

yes, the economy is the most important issue for voters. There's no doubt about that. And Joe Biden's economic rating is at 34 percent approval. It

is below his overall approval rating at 40 percent. So that's a clear trouble spot on issue number one for voters for the president. But that

Israel-Hamas war issue is even worse, Erica.

HILL: It is. So, looking at those numbers, right, we touched on this coming out of the break, but I'd love to go back to that with you. 71 percent to

the disapprove of Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war, but that number is at 80 -- 71 is already high. 81 percent among younger voters, those ages

18 to 34.


That block alone is a major concern for Democrats heading into November. And I would imagine this is certainly not helping.

CHALIAN: There's no doubt it's not helping. There's no doubt about that. It is a major concern. This is a major potential pitfall with a key voting

block. But I will also note some recent survey work done by the Institute of Politics at Harvard, a deep dive into the youth vote, found that the

Israel-Hamas issue, while overwhelmingly young voters are opposed to the way Biden's handling it, is not the top issue on their mind.

They also are economy voters in this election, according to that survey. But this was a key part of the Biden coalition, the winning coalition in

2020, young voters, and keeping them enthused and engaged and supporting Biden for these next six months. There's no doubt that this Israel-Hamas

issue complicates that. As does, Erica, this whole notion of just with more time since the Trump presidency, Americans seem to have a rosier view of

the Trump presidency than they do of being in it with Biden right now. 55 percent call the Trump presidency a success.

That is a complete reversal from where Americans were when the Trump presidency ended and they were assessing it in real time. But with a little

bit of distance, a majority say that was a success, whereas 61 percent of Americans in this poll call the Biden presidency a failure. So, the Biden

team also is going to have the challenge of reminding voters of what those chaotic four years were like because in their hazy memory, things are not

quite as they assessed it at the time.

HILL: Yes. And interesting to see how well that will work. We know that's what the Biden team has been trying and trying to focus on. But as you

point out all these other issues, I was also struck by something in our CNN polling. And you and I had a brief e-mail conversation about this earlier.

But we talk so often about how divided this country is and Americans talk so often about how divided this country is.

The fact that a very high number, 71 percent of Trump supporters say they don't understand why anybody would back Biden. 67 percent of Biden

supporters say they can't understand why anyone would back Trump. I mean, this really just illustrates where things are in this country.

CHALIAN: Perfectly illustrates. I think in one poll question, here is the story of the American body politic. It is just an unbelievably polarized

time. It's not just that you're choosing one candidate over the other. It's that in choosing your candidate, you can't even fathom why anybody would

support the other person. So, think about that when you think about your neighbors and coworkers and all the people you interact with.

If you have chosen a candidate this race, you can't even understand why somebody else would go in a different way. We live in such polarized times

we sort ourselves geographically through our politics these days in America. And that's what makes this race, which has so many unique

circumstances about it, given Trump on trial and Biden's low standing, still I think a rather unpredictable race because it's going to be so

dependent on turning out your own supporters come election day.

HILL: Yes. It is going to be fascinating to watch. And it is certainly great job security for you, my friend. That's for sure.


HILL: Always appreciate talking to you, David.

CHALIAN: Take care.

HILL: Reuters is reporting Haiti's transitional council is planning to meet tomorrow to choose an interim president. Now this is a key step, of course,

toward getting the anarchy that has been gripping the country under control. Important to remember that Haiti has not had a functioning

government in years. The nation, of course, has just been overcome by violence by dysfunction armed gangs, maintaining a stranglehold on the


What exactly do those gangs want? CNN's David Culver traveled inside gang territory to speak with one influential figure who also happens to be on

the FBI's most wanted list. There's David's exclusive report.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This war-torn intersection in Port-au- Prince is the blurred boundary, signaling we are now in gang territory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an area we have never been into before.

CULVER: We're told to drive to this road and someone will meet us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's assured us that he's sending somebody and so we are to just wait for that person. It looks like a vehicle here, the truck.

CULVER: The armed men in the front seat motion for us to follow, so we do. Over rocky and flooded streets. We're venturing deeper into land that for

months Haitian security experts have warned, stay away from. But we've been assured by this gang's leader that we'll be safe. We only hope his

messaging reached all the checkpoints.

Four guys in the car behind us as well. So, they're fully escorting us in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) motorbike with the two guys.

CULVER: After 45 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're asking us to move.

CULVER: Several dozen masked men and women most carrying guns direct us towards the driveway.

This guy in front of us now seeming to be leading us to some sort of a house. Good.

We're about to step out and meet Vitel'homme Innocent considered by both U.S. and Haitian authorities to be a violent criminal and leader of the

cross-barrier gang.


He's one of the FBI's 10 most wanted with a bounty of up to $2 million accused in the kidnapping of American missionaries and the death of another

American hostage. Vitel'homme rarely seeks media attention. Yet given he commands what some U.S. officials say is the largest gang in Port-au-

Prince, and his domain includes the U.S. embassy, we wanted to better understand his motives.

Vitel'homme agrees to meet us.

Hi there.

On his turf.

I'm David.

Flanked by his followers, he leads us inside this flashy mansion.

And so, is this your home?


CULVER: In a room filled with gold-rimmed furniture and stuffed animals, I ask him about the crisis in Gulf in Haiti.

Our dream is to rid the country of the corrupt oligarchs and politicians who are holding us back, he says. We need to get rid of the system and

return stability to Haiti. He speaks with intention and calls for greater dialogue.

But if it's the same system that's been in power, then as armed groups, we will never put down our weapons, he says.

And so, do you have regular communications with, as you say, the other armed groups?

Yes, we're united, he tells me. The gangs have formed a coalition known as Viv Ansanm or living together, and collectively they push back on foreign

intervention, holding tight their grips over a fractured state. Some using terror tactics like kidnapping, rape and murder to sustain control.

CULVER: Is that something you've participated in in ordering your men and women to kidnap?

He says he hopes to defend himself in court against those allegations, and while not denying his followers have kidnapped people, he deflects blame to

outside forces for creating a state of corruption as he sees it. He's eager to show us other parts of his home and territory and introduces us to his

top commander.

CULVER: So you're his cousin.

Security experts suggest Kraze Barye has more than 1,000-armed gang members, including recently escaped inmates.

As you can see, a lot of his armed soldiers and followers are around us. And he's suggesting that we follow and drive with them.

He brings us to the edge of his territory. We notice his guards, normally curious and watching us, are instead looking outward, cautiously toward

another gang's territory, a reminder that the coalition of gangs might be more fragile than portrayed. In the midst of our tour, a disturbing video

starts circulating on WhatsApp. It reportedly shows the devastating and deadly aftermath of an allied gang attack on a community a few miles from

where we are.

The destruction, the violence, the deaths that have played out. Do you take any responsibility for that?

He only says he made mistakes and is not perfect. He blames politicians. We're interrupted. Something nearby puts his guards on edge. We pick up the

conversation a short distance away. Senior editor Caitlin Hu further pressing for an explanation to the horrors we've seen in Haiti.

CAITLIN HU, CNN SENIOR EDITOR: But we have also met in hospitals, women, children, innocent people who have been burned, who have been forced to

leave their homes, who have been shocked, who have been raped. Why are innocent people suffering in this struggle?

CULVER: He does not clearly answer. Instead, he frames the months of deadly street violence as collateral damage. He points the finger at police,

saying they refuse to engage in dialogue and instead recklessly open fire. Police say they're desperately trying to keep the gangs from gaining more

ground. Vitel'homme claims to be a man of faith, devout and practicing voodoo, a common religion here in Haiti.

I've heard rumors and I don't know how true they are, so I ask you that you have voodoo protection. Do you feel that protection?

Yes. He tells me confidently. Adding that he prays daily for his fellow Haitians.

Ultimately, what is it going to take to bring stability and a future of calm to this country?

He says he and the other armed groups need to be included in discussions of Haiti's future. That's the only way he sees convincing gang members to drop

their guns in exchange for a future outside of violence.

As curfew nears, we head back the way we came. Vitel'homme stopping several times along the way, mingling with locals, handing out food, smiling as

though on a campaign trail.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're getting out.

CULVER: He wants us to meet these two men. Blind refugees. They tell us Vitel'homme took them in. But it leaves us wondering why help these men and

force so many others out of their homes. Look at the actions over words he tells me. As we near the edge of his territory and the end of our five-hour


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's not hanging around here (INAUDIBLE)

CULVER: Vitel'homme gets out of his motorcade, waves for us to move forward, and strolls to the desolate street corner. He then comes to our

door and shakes each of our hands, his actions, intentional, and symbolic.

Here we are, just blocks in the U.S. embassy and that's clearly a demonstration of how confident he is and the many he has around him,

displaying their show of force.

A flexing of strength in a lawless nation, where today at least gangs hold the power.

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


HILL: Important reporting from David and his team there. Stay with us, we're back after this quick break.


HILL: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. More than 100 people are now confirmed dead after weeks of flooding in Kenya. Dozens were killed in a

dam burst in north of Nairobi, torrents of water washing away homes and cars. As you can see here from the video, just uprooting trees, roads are

understandably blocked and dozens at this hour remain missing. It is feared more bodies could be found in the mud.

Parts of East Africa have been hit hard by heavy rains this spring. Some experts are attributed to climate change and they do warn more rain is on

the way.

CNN's Larry Madowo is joining us now live. Such treacherous conditions as well, Larry, as they tried to dig through some of that mud and that rubble.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's correct. We're in a location where overnight flash flooding led to some massive devastation. So far, 71 people

have died here and they fear that more may still be buried under the rubble and the mud.


So, what we're seeing here are first responders from the Kenya Red Cross. They've been told by locals that they've been hearing a fawn vibrating, and

they think they could be someone or some people still buried under here. So, what they're trying to do is to clear these trees that have gathered

here, some iron sheets, the roofing of what was definitely a house that was blocked by that fence and some rocks that were used in building the house

to see if they can figure out what's happening under there.

Is it just a phone that's on its own or is there an owner of that phone that's still buried under here? And that is a search and rescue operation

that's been happening throughout the day here in Maai Mahiu, just about an hour and a half, northwest of Nairobi. This entire field was a path of the

water overnight, and it swept through everything in its path, the homes that were here, the people that were here, and everything they owned is all


A good example is over there. You can see a car that's partially lodged on a tree. That car was swept almost 500 meters from the hills to get there.

The only reason why it stopped there is because there's several trees blocking its way, but that's been the devastation seen here. In this --

Maai Mahiu is a town in this reef valley, they've seen some previous flooding but nothing to this extent.

Previous reporting said it was a dam that's burst its banks, but local says that is not exactly what happened here. There is an old railway line here

with a culvert, a tunnel under it that was blocked because of continuous rainfall, and yesterday the water just blew right through it, and swept

through everything in its path. This is the worst devastation Kenya has seen since the rains began back in March.

Overall, nationwide, at least 103 people have died from these heavy rains in Nairobi and other parts of the country. The government has had to

postpone the reopening of schools nationwide for at least a week to avoid endangerment the lives of learners and there's been people in different

parts of the country trying to cross some rivers, getting swept away, people being asked to move to higher ground.

Some of the worst devastation is here in Kenya, but it's across the region in Tanzania, like you mentioned, 155 people confirmed dead. It's a problem

across the region that still the forecast says more rain is coming.

HILL: More rain, which is of course what no one wants to hear. You mentioned the government closing down schools over safety concerns. What

else has been the government response specifically in the area where you are now in the wake of that potential dam break?

MADOWO: The government has set up a multi-agency team to respond to the heavy rains and the flooding that has come from it, and they have a center

here set up in this town for family members to report any of their missing kin, and they're also sheltering them in nearby schools. But I think a lot

of the work is being done by people like this, people who, from the Red Cross and other agencies, trying to just salvage orders as possible to find

survivors and make sure that everybody is accounted for within meeting people here telling us they don't have people who are -- that still have

family members missing.

(INAUDIBLE) I just want to show everybody what's happening over here. Even though the devastation in human life has been exceptional, there's also a

lot of livestock that we've seen. Over there is -- I believe that is -- that's a sheep that they're carrying there that was killed in this, just

over here on the other side of this place, they're clearing, is a full, probably four or five-year-old cow that's just kind of transfixed in the

moment despite of the devastation that the -- people here, the animals, everything that path -- the path of the water did not survive, Erica.

HILL: It is a lot to endure and more on the way, as you noted. Larry, really important to have you there, thank you.

Let's get you up to speed now and some of the other international stories on our radar at this hour. Protesters in Georgia denouncing the

government's efforts there to force through a controversial Russian style foreign agents bill, thousands marching on Sunday. The bill itself would

require organizations receiving more than 20 percent of funding from abroad to register as foreign agents or face huge fines.

Protesters say it would be used to crush dissent. The E.U. says the bill could halt Georgia's integration into the block as for protesters, many

believe their future is in the West.


LEVAN JOBAVA, PROTESTER (through translator): I want to show the position of my family, (INAUDIBLE) Russia and our path in future is in Europe

because we believe that the European justice and the European world where the system serves the people and not the other way around. The system

doesn't serve the people.


HILL: The bill faces two more readings in Parliament. The next one is on Tuesday.

Pedro Sanchez has announced he will not resign from his post to Spanish Prime Minister. The announcement coming just five days after he temporarily

abandoned his public duties to decide whether he could continue his job. That of course came after a Spanish court had launched an investigation

into his wife over allegations of corruption. Sanchez said she -- that his wife would defend herself and cooperate with the judicial system.


It is no secret that politics can be a rather brutal business. Now that's the word now from Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf at his resignation

speech. He quit earlier on Monday following a power sharing agreement that collapsed with the Scottish Green Party. His resignation cuts off a likely

no confidence vote in both his leadership and the minority government. Yousaf says he will stay on until his new party chooses a new leader.


HUMZA YOUSAF, PRIME MINISTER OF SCOTLAND: Therefore, I have to spend the weekend reflecting on what is based for my party, for the government and

for the country I lead. I've concluded that repeating our relationship across the political divide can only be done to someone else at the helm. I

have their form formed the SMP's National Secretary of my intention to stand down as party leader and ask that she commands his leadership contest

for my replacement as soon as possible.


HILL: French actor Gerard Depardieu has been taken into custody by police in Paris. According to CNN affiliate BFMTV. The 75-year-old is now being

questioned over sexual assault allegations, leveled by two women who say the assaults happen on film sets. Depardieu previously been placed under

investigation for alleged rape and assault after a number of women filed complaints against him. The French actor has maintained his innocence

denying those accusations.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD and there is much more news ahead. We're going to take a quick break. We'll see you on the other side.


HILL: The U.S. Secretary of State is back in the Middle East for the seventh time since the story of the Israel Hamas war and is urging Hamas to

accept the latest framework for a Gaza ceasefire. Antony Blinken meeting today with regional foreign ministers and other top diplomats at a special

forum, a special world economic forum meeting rather in Riyadh. It comes as a Hamas delegation in Cairo is there to discuss the new proposal for a

truce which calls for the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners over the span of several weeks in exchange for a temporary

ceasefire and the "restoration of sustainable calm."

I want to play for you a little bit more from that meeting when the Saudi foreign minister was asked specifically about the situation in Gaza and

Saudi Arabia's role. Take a listen.



measure. Humanitarian but also a complete failing of the existing political system to deal with that crisis.

We in the region are not going to focus only on solving the crisis of the moment. We are going to look at how we can solve the bigger problem in the

context of Gaza. That is a real commitment to a two-state solution. That is a credible irreversible path to a Palestinian state. That's the only

reasonable and credible solution that guarantees us from not having to come back to this same situation two, three, four years down the line.



HILL: The Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs also pointing to reduce conflict in the region. Take a listen.


ADEL AL-JUBEIR, MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SAUDI ARABIA: Our objective is to link the region with the world and to be able to put the

resources of the region together so we can create synergies that have a positive impact on all the inhabitants of the region. This is complicated

by the tensions that we have in the region. So, our objective is to try to put an end to these tensions so we can focus on the things that matter,

economic development, and prosperity.


HILL: The crisis in Gaza understandably top of mind of the World Economic Forum conference. That is where my colleague Becky Anderson sat down with

the forum's president. They began by speaking about the future of the enclave and what will be needed to help rebuild.


BORGE BRENDE, PRESIDENT, WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: There will be no willingness among any donors to rebuild Gaza if there is no guarantee that there will

not be a Gaza war again, because who will rebuild something that will be bombed again?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: That means an irreversible path to Palestinian statehood. From the conversations that you are having here,

and these are around a unified Arab strategy for Gaza and Palestinians going forward, is your sense that we are close?

BRENDE: I think with the ceasefire in Gaza, at least there will be a willingness to have real political discussions. What is in it for Israel

is, of course, a potential deal with, for example, Saudi Arabia. And so, the Arabia will then gain additional support from the U.S. on the military

side. But we know that this has taken time also before. And I guess there is also complications with the political situation in Israel.

Is there a willingness to work for a two-state solution? And then we have the American elections coming up, too, that some people say that it is not

possible to move before after those elections. Because a plan, though, I think, has to also be supported very strongly from outside. You will have

to have the Arab countries and the U.S. and other key players saying, this is the deal. Take it all of it.


HILL: Important points, of course. As in terms of the economic picture for the region, it is not defined, of course, by conflicts. It's incredibly

complex. The host of the World Economic Forum is a case in point. Here's more about Saudi Arabia's current trajectory.


BRENDE: So, it is very significant that Saudi Arabia have reached already this big milestone of 50 percent of their economy is now based on non-oil

and gas. This was the plan for 2030 that the conference launched, and now we are in 2024. So, this is incredible. But we also see other GCCs that is

doing really well about UAE, also with their investments now in A.I. They have a lot of talent there, Qatar.

But then the Middle East is kind of true. There is the GCC. And then there are other Middle Eastern countries that are really, really struggling.

ANDERSON: I'm assuming that you will look at a country like the Kingdom and say here's a great example of how that kind of portfolio comes together

successfully. Again, how does one take what is going on here and around this region as a starter for 10 as it were when you're looking at the wider


BRENDE: So, Saudi Arabia is now inviting investments that's important. We're seeing people also, expats coming to the Kingdom. And they also have

an open trade policy. They're reducing tariffs and they're not sticking to protectionism. The challenge globally is that trade was the engine of

growth for decades. So, trade was growing much faster than the global economy. No trade is growing slower.

Then that is also leading to more anemic growth. So, what we have to avoid is that the 20s become the 1970s.


HILL: So, how do you avoid the 20s becoming the 1970s? Well, it's also important to look at some of the success stories of these past decades.


BRENDE: So, we are faced with a re-globalization. It's a different globalization. I think on the global value change, we will not only have a

situation where you stick to comparative advantages. You will have near- shoring, partials or French-shoring that you then trade more with countries where you feel that you agree. But it's also very important that we don't

lose the baby with the buck for it, because this globalization has led to a situation where never seen so much poverty being eradicated.


In 1990, 40 percent of the global population lived in extreme poverty. Today it's 10 percent.


HILL: I want you to watch for more developments out of Riyadh. Meantime here in the U.S., nearly 60 million people may have to soon decide between

paying for their internet access or food and other essentials. That's because a government program, which keeps low-income households online is

actually going to run out of money by Wednesday.

CNN's Jason Carroll has more.


CINDY WESTMAN, RECIPIENT, AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM: I have a growing child and with inflation of a cost of food, I don't have that much food


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Cindy Westman, times are tough, but manageable for now. She lives on disability and

carefully budgets each month to care for her 12-year-old daughter who has cerebral palsy and autism.

WESTMAN: I even have to, you know, budget when I have an oil change.

CARROLL (voice-over): Now a program Westman relies on will run out of funding at the end of April, cutting off a critical lifeline for her and

millions of other low-income Americans. It's called the Affordable Connectivity Program, or ACP. The 2021 pandemic era benefit helps Americans

afford internet access. Crucial for rural Americans like Westman who use it for telehealth for her daughter, especially when service goes out in her

hometown of Eureka, Illinois.

WESTMAN: FEMALE: Having that funding allowed me to afford a portable hot spot backup internet that I was using for my daughter.

CARROLL (voice-over): The Federal Communications Commission warns the ACP will end unless Congress extends it, forcing more than 23 million American

households to either pay hundreds more for internet or go without it.

Widening a digital divide and not just in rural areas. Before the ACP, Milton Perez had to use free internet on the subway platform. He calls his

apartment an internet dead zone, which made taking his online classes nearly impossible.

MILTON PEREZ, RECIPIENT, AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM: I had to walk out to the front of the building to be connected to the class.

CARROLL (voice-over): Perez, once homeless himself, works as an advocate for people experiencing homelessness. He now helps connect those still in

shelters to the internet.

PEREZ: Seeing during my shelter state, the difference between people who had internet access and that dating. And it could be deadly.

CARROLL (voice-over): Millions of veterans also rely on the program like Walter Durham in San Diego. He uses the internet to contact doctors and to

chat with his daughter overseas.

WALTER DURHAM, RECIPIENT, AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM: I don't want to have to either do without Wi-Fi or I have to come up with other means to

pay for Wi-Fi. So -- because I can't count on the politicians doing anything to help the American people.

CARROLL (voice-over): Legislation to extend the program has received bipartisan support, but like so much in Washington, the bill has stalled.

CARROLL (on camera): Is there anything that realistically can be done?

YVETTE CLARKE, UNITED STATES HOUSE DEMOCRAT: Absolutely. We need to make sure that that's bill comes to the floor to make sure that we can --

CARROLL (on camera): But it hasn't come to the floor so far.

CLARKE: It hasn't. It hasn't. However, you know, we still have time.

CARROLL (voice-over): President Biden has called on Republicans to do more to get the bill brought to a vote. Meanwhile, those who need it most have

little faith in lawmakers.

DURHAM: I would say most likely they're not going to do anything.

WESTMAN: They can pass things with a drop of a dime. And if there's on both sides of the party, you know, both parties and the other parties are going

to do something that's going to be the best. There should be zero resistance. And this should have been done yesterday instead of people

fearing that they're losing this one day.

CARROLL (voice-over): Jason Carroll, CNN, Eureka, Illinois.


HILL: When we return, Tesla CEO Elon Musk making a surprise visit to China to try to export his company's self-driving technology. So, what are the

chances? We have a report from Beijing.



HILL: The China Auto Show this year, it is all about the electrics, which could explain why Tesla's CEO Elon Musk made a surprise visit where he met

with senior trade officials. He was also there to promote Tesla's self- driving technology.

CNN's Marc Stewart was at the Auto Show and filed this report.


MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is Auto China, the largest car show in all of China, and one of the largest in the world.

There are a few gas-powered cars here, but the real focus is electric.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I came here mainly checking on E.V.'s. Now there are many E.V. brands, so there are lots of options.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We like the standout eye-catching color.

STEWART (on camera): There are more than 200 E.V. makers in China. Take a look over here. This is the line to see the latest offering from Xiaomi.

It's a Chinese tech company known for its phones. This is the much talked about Xiaomi SU7. Yes, it has aerodynamic design. It can accelerate very

quickly. Its battery can take you for about 500 miles, but its most distinct point is this touchscreen. You can use it to control almost all

aspects of your life.

You can turn the lights in your home, on and off. It can even start the coffee menu. This isn't just about performance. Geo-Politics plays a role


STEWART: Elon Musk flew to China over the weekend on a surprise trip and that Chinese Premier Li Qiang. Musk has his biggest overseas Tesla factory

in Shanghai, so he has big stakes in China. According to state media, Li said that China is open to foreign business and wants to make it easier for

global companies to come here. In addition, Musk said Tesla's Gigafactory in Shanghai is its best performing.

Tesla wants to be an even bigger player in the Chinese market in addition to its American base.

ELON MUSK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TESLA: It's good to see electric vehicles making progress to China. All parts will be electric in the


STEWART (voice-over): As a piece of American technology, Tesla faced lots of restrictions in China out of security concerns. Until this visit, Tesla

cars were sometimes not allowed to enter airports. Government compounds and other sensitive areas. Well, this time, after Musk met Li, Chinese

authorities announced that such restrictions on Tesla cars are no more because the company's China-made vehicles have passed the country's data

security requirements.

STEWART (on camera): As Elon Musk looks for success here in China, for Chinese car makers looking to break into the American market, that may not

be so easy. Top U.S. officials have expressed concern that Chinese cars could potentially collect data and send it back here to Beijing. A

potential blow for China, the world's largest auto-exporter.

Marc Stewart, CNA, Beijing.


HILL: There are just three weeks left in the English Premier League season and only two teams who can win the title. Manchester City and Arsenal.

World Sport's Don Riddell has more now on the fight to the finish.

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: The Premier League title race would now seem to be head-to-head between Manchester City and Arsenal. Liverpool

have kind of fallen away in recent weeks, so it's now down to the Gunners to challenge Man City and try to prevent them from becoming the first team

to win four consecutive crowns. But they had a tricky assignment on Sunday away at their bitter North London rivals Tottenham, and although Spurs play

well, Arsenal got the goals.

That's Bukayo Saka making it two-nil midway through the first half. And Arsenal were cruising when Kai Havertz made it three-nil in the 38th

minute. This was a frustrating day for Spurs. They had more possession, they had chances, but nothing dropped until the 64th minute when Cristian

Romero punished Arsenal's goalie for a dreadful mistake. And then, three minutes from time, Spurs really rattled their opponents for the penalty

from Son Heung-min.

Tottenham, though, unable to find another, so Arsenal held on for three crucial points. The Gunners must win every game and hope that Manchester

City somehow slip up, otherwise it is City's title to lose. It's in their hands right now. They picked up another three points on Sunday with a two-

nil win at Nottingham Forest.


City's defender, Josko Gvardiol is having a wonderful month. That was his third goal in just five games, while Erling Haaland returned from injury

coming off the bench to make the point safe. That's his 21st Premier League goal of the season. Two-nil, the final score. So, here's the table. So,

here's the table. Arsenal still top. The Gunners are a point ahead of Man City, but City have a game in hand. Arsenal have just three matches left to

play. City have four.


ERLING HAALAND, MANCHESTER CITY STRIKER: I think the most important thing is to not think, especially in these moments, about taking day by day

honestly, if you overthink you're going to be crazy in your head, so relax now. Enjoy. Focus on the next tone.


RIDDELL: The story will continue on Saturday with both Arsenal and Man City playing their next Premier League games at home. Back to you.

HILL: All right, Don, thank you. That's going to do it for CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with CNN NEWSROOM is up next.