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Connect the World

Gaza Health Minister: At Least 45 Killed in Israeli Strike on Rafah; At Least 19 Dead after Storms Rip Through Four States; ANC Party Faces Stiffest Challenge Since taking Power; Leaders from Japan, China and South Korea Meet in Seoul; Island's Communications Rely on Series of Undersea Cables. Aired 9-9:45a ET

Aired May 27, 2024 - 09:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: You're looking at the World War II Memorial on Washington D.C.'s National Mall. It is 9 am in Washington,

where the U.S. is marking Memorial Day. It is 5 pm here in Abu Dhabi, I'm Eleni Giokos. This is "Connect the World". Also happening over the next two

hours, scenes of devastation in Rafah after an Israeli airstrike on a camp for displaced people, at least 45 people have been confirmed killed.

Rescue efforts are underway in Papua New Guinea where more than 2000 people were buried alive in a deadly landslide. I'll be speaking to a U.N. mission

official working on the ground. And storms tornadoes and floods are sweeping across the U.S. this hour. We'll get a live update from a town in

Texas, hit hard over the weekend.

Welcome to the show now Israel has struck a displacement camp where civilians were sheltering, killing at least 45 people in Rafah in Southern

Gaza. That is according to the Gaza health ministry, we must warn you that you are about to see in this segment is going to be very difficult to


Well these are the scenes overnight of the camp in Rafah set ablaze, the Israeli military claim to CNN Hamas officials were killed in the strike

with what they called precise munitions. Local officials say most of the casualties were women and children. Now you can see the location of the

camp on this map.

And it's a reminder that over a million people have been sheltering in Rafah as the war force people further south, though many have fled yet

again, as Israel ramps up the operations in that area. The strike came just two days after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to hold

its offensive in Rafah.

On Sunday, Hamas fired rockets at Tel Aviv, the first attack of its kind into Israel since January. We got CNN's Nada Bashir following developments

for us. She is standing by in London. Nada, distressing video out of Rafah a lot of that video we actually cannot share because it is so disturbing.

Help us understand the impact of the strike.

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well look, Eleni, as you mentioned, many of those who were sheltering in this tunnel, Salton neighborhood in Rafah have

been displaced time and time again, they have been pushed south into the Southern City of Rafah by the Israeli military told that this would be a

safe zone.

And in fact, over the last month, we have been hearing warnings from the IDF telling civilians now to evacuate parts of Rafah to Gaza's coastal area

for their safety and protection ahead of a looming full scale ground operation. This was not one of those areas. This was not an area that

received an evacuation order.

This was supposed to be a safe zone for civilians. Clearly, that is not the case. We've seen this incident overnight airstrikes targeting an area that

is densely populated by civilians filled with tents, makeshift tents, sheltering civilians and we have seen graphic disturbing, horrifying video

emerging from the scene last night.

Tents completely engulfed in flames charred bodies being pulled from the burning, shelters, including the bodies of children. Now, as we've heard

from the health authorities in Gaza, the majority of those casualties were women and children. More than 240 people have so far said to have been

badly wounded and injured.

We've heard from health authorities saying they simply do not have the capacity in the remaining hospitals in that Rafah area to care for that

number of casualties. So this is an overall disastrous situation for many of those civilians in the Southern City of Rafah, huge amount of concern.

Of course, we've been hearing widespread condemnation and warnings against further military action in Rafah. Clearly those warnings have not been


GIOKOS: Yeah, and you know, what is of course, you know, getting a lot of attention as well as this is just a few days after the ICJ ruling for

Israel to hold operations in Rafah, we have seen some reaction, firstly to whether Israel is going to be adhering to that ruling and of course, the

criticism of the way that Israel is conducting this operation in Rafah. What more do we know?

BASHIR: Yeah, absolutely. We've been hearing fierce criticism of course from European leaders.


We heard earlier this Warning from the U.S. Foreign Affairs Chief, Josep Borrell saying that Israel must adhere to the ICJ ruling. They must

immediately halt and military operations in Rafah. We've heard from the German foreign minister saying earlier today that the International Court

of Justice order for Israel to halt its military operation in the southern Gaza City of Rafah is binding and has to be followed.

And in fact, President Macron, France has also issued a statement he said that he was outraged by last night's attack on Rafah that these operations

must stop. There are no safe areas in Rafah for Palestinian civilians. I call for full respect for international law and for an immediate ceasefire.

And of course, there is huge amount of concern around the potential for further military action in Rafah. We've heard previously from one of

Israel's closest allies, the Biden Administration, President Biden himself speaking to CNN saying that if Israel were to fully go into Rafah than the

U.S. would not be able to support in the form of arms and weapons that would not be the case.

It remains to be seen whether this latest incident is in fact a red line for President Biden this I certainly don't outrage amongst many in the

international community, particularly of course from the United Nations, which has repeatedly warned against a fall operation in Rafah and continued

airstrikes in Rafah.

This is an area that is densely populated still, with civilians, the vast majority internally displaced. And of course, there is simply nowhere safe

left for civilians to turn. And of course, there are questions around how this will impact ongoing ceasefire negotiations. That is another point of


We heard today from Qatari officials saying that they are worried that this could hinder those ongoing discussions around the potential truce between

Israel and Hamas, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Nada Bashir, thank you so much for that update. While the Palestinian Authority is calling on the United States to put more pressure

on Israel to stop the violence and said the U.S. bears responsibility for these crimes that shame humanity.

We have not heard from the Biden administration yet, regarding the attack on the refugee camp. Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. President seemed to put

forward a red line when it came to targeting civilians in Rafah.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They're going to Rafah I'm not for playing the weapons that have been used historically, to deal

with Rafah, to deal with the cities and that deal with that problem. We're going to continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and

their ability to respond to attacks that came out in the Middle East recently. But it's, it's just wrong. We're not going to -- we're not going

to supply the weapons and artillery shells use --


GIOKOS: Well, we are closely following the response from the Americans and we will bring it to you when we get it. An emergency official has told the

United Nations that as many as 2000 people were buried alive in last week's massive landslide in Papua New Guinea. It means the death toll appears to

be fast worse than initially feared.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have 18 of my family members buried under the debris and soil that I am standing on. And a lot more family members in the

village I cannot count. I am the landowner here thank you to all who have come to help us. But I cannot retrieve the bodies so I am standing here



GIOKOS: Well, the landslide hit a remote region of the country in the middle of the night Friday and the U.N.'s Migration Agency says it

swallowed more than 150 homes. Rescuers are still searching hoping to find more survivors. I want to bring in Serhan Aktoprak from the U.N.'s

Migration Agency in Papua New Guinea for more some more insight, as these rescue operations continue.

Good to have you with us. Serhan, horrendous number of people trapped under rock and sand. What can you tell us about the rescue efforts right now?

SERHAN AKTOPRAK, CHIEF OF IOM MISSION IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Thank you, in less than four hours, we will have completed four days ever since this

unprecedented disaster hit the country. Still, more than 2000 people are trapped under this debris which is estimated to be as deep as six to eight

meters at varying levels throughout this four football field size area.

A further 1600 people are believed to have become displaced currently accommodated with their relatives and friends nearby. Rescue efforts are

continuing with unbelievable challenges because the landmass, debris continues to slide because of various reasons including rocks still falling

from the mountain and water pushing it forward, we are praying for clear skies because any rain could make it even more difficult.


And then we are aware of the cultural sensitivities. People are not willing to let any excavators, any heavy machinery get close, because they would

like to maintain the integrity of the corpses of their loved ones, although they are coming to terms that it's already now too late. But because of the

traditions, they would like to continue that their secrecy is maintained.

GIOKOS: So Serhan, I mean, you mentioned something important there, you know, losing hope, or rescue workers now coming to grips with the fact that

the likelihood of more survivors being found at this stage are very slim.

AKTOPRAK: That is correct. But still the communities and the national authorities, provincial authorities treated would like to treat it as

search and rescue operation, because again, of the cultural sensitivities, they are not able to move in any heavy machinery.

Although tech is on the way because the landslide has blocked an important lifeline of Northwestern Papa New Guinea that connects the provincial

capital Wabag with an important resource for Papua New Guinea that is known as the Porgera Goldmine.

And a lot of neighboring areas, that people are also suffering with lack of delivery of supplies, because of this interruption. Emergency Coordination

Team is on the ground, but they are not accommodated because there are no services available by the disaster site. They have to commute every day for

four hours from the capital of the province, back and forth.

And within a short window of time, they are trying to deliver food, shelter, medical assistance, and water and other important supplies. And of

course, we are increasingly seeing that mental health and psychosocial support is becoming urgently required. And we are hoping to deploy

specialists to the ground.

GIOKOS: So Serhan, I mean, it's really dramatic images that we're seeing just, you know, villages and homes being destroyed there. And we're also

seeing pictures of people basically using shovels and what they can with their hands to try and work through the rubble and picking up really heavy


What is required right now as a sort of immediate intervention and are you able to get any of what is needed on the ground given that most of the main

highways the main arteries leading to that area have also been impacted by this landslide?

AKTOPRAK: The National Disaster Center issued a letter requesting international support which we have received today. And we know Papua New

Guinea's partners neighbors, governments are rushing to their aid. And we believe from tomorrow, a lot of essential shelter, blankets, kid's kitchen

utensils, hide all the necessary equipment will start to be delivered.

But food will still remain as a critical aspect. Logistical challenges are out there. We are estimating that Australian Government will be deploying

its choppers to transport many of the supplies from the nearby airport. And, of course, U.S. Agency for International Development and other

partners are supporting us in delivering the necessary support.

GIOKOS: Serhan, thank you so much for the updates. All the best to the rescue workers much appreciated. All right, some 120 million people right

now in the United States are facing a severe weather threat on the Memorial Day holiday. At least 19 people were killed in bad weather across four

states over the weekend.

Arkansas had the greatest loss of life with aid Oklahoma, Texas and Kentucky also suffered a lot of damage. I want to go now to CNN's Ed

Lavandera in hard hit Cooke County, Texas. Ed, great to see you, you've covered severe weather a lot for us actually. Give me a sense of the

destruction you're seeing and how that compares to a lot of the other stories that you've been covering on the weather front?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the devastation of this one is intense. It's much more harrowing because this

tornado that struck here on Saturday night happened just before 11 o'clock at night. So all of this hitting in the darkness where people are kind of

left scrambling to save their lives and seven people work killed in this including four children.


And we've know the harrowing details of one of those families -- a family, they lived in a trailer home, just where you see those trucks in those two

trees there in the distance. And we spoke with one of their family members, the brother of the father of that family who raced out here to the scene to

discover his brother, sister in law and niece and nephew, and their home had been thrown about 100 meters, all the way here.

This is the remnants of that family home. The gentleman was there, he was alive with a broken hip and a broken leg. And then the sister in law and

the two children were found dead here -- who came here just moments ago looking for some of his family's belongings kind of -- recounted what it

was like for them here Saturday night is and this is what he told us about what he saw when he arrived here at the scene.

This is the remnants of his brother's family's home that was thrown more than 100 yards by this tornado. And this is where they ended up and his

brother was leftover in this debris over here and his sister in law and niece and nephew were left underneath this car, he arrived here on the


The three of them were already dead. And he took his brother and loaded him up into his truck and drove him out of this neighborhood to get him to the

hospital. So this storm that ripped through here Saturday night, just simply devastating. Dozens of homes destroyed here, people have been over

the last 24 hours, were using kind of like heavy equipment to just pile everything into piles that will be taken away.

That's just how destructive all of this was. The storm continued hit a convenience store where there were more than 100 people sheltering inside,

everything collapsed on them. Many people had to be rescued from there. So just treacherous scenes, like as I mentioned, seven people killed including

four children, and roughly 100 or so other people injured in the aftermath of the storm, just a very dangerous situation.

I was rated by the National Weather Service's was described as an EF-2 tornado. And that comes with winds of 135 miles per hour so you can

understand better, just -- that's what it took to cause the devastation you see around me.

GIOKOS: Yeah, absolutely tragic. Ed listening to you and the stories and the people that you've met could you give me a sense of how assistance is

being given to the people that were being affected in terms of shelter and any supplies that they might need on the ground right now? Are they getting

that assistance?

LAVANDERA: Yeah, there's, you know, so that stuff is in place, there's a you know, the Governor of Texas has declared several counties in this area

as disaster areas and that helps qualify people for temporary housing. And then there's also been a huge volunteer effort people coming by, to help in

the cleanup process and to provide.

Be in the process of finding temporary housing because it will take months for many of these people to get back on their feet in terms of where they

will live. So a lot of that is in the works. It can be a tedious process for many people, but from what we understand so far that his that the

mechanics of all that are already taking place.

GIOKOS: All right, Ed Lavandera, great to see you. Thank you for bringing us the story. Well, meanwhile, much of the U.S. Gulf Coast is under an

excessive heat warning today. Forecasters say the high temperatures will make conditions miserable. And Houston the heat index will hit 110 degrees

Fahrenheit the temperatures are some 10 to 15 degrees above normal, all this on a holiday, when many folks spend time outside.

Qatar Airways says it is conducting an internal investigation after 12 people were injured during severe turbulence on the flight from Doha to

Dublin. Dublin Airport says six passengers and six crew members were injured in the incident, which happened while the plane was flying over


It comes just days after Singapore Airlines flight experienced a similar issue. One person died and more than 100 others were hurt. Passengers on

the Dublin flight say that incident was very much on their minds.


MUFADDAL ALI, PASSENGER: Just very scary, to be honest -- I'm just shooting right? They'd prefer the 10 or 15 seconds and that was a worse 15 second of

my life. The food was everywhere on the plane because it was -- it was a taxi time. And I have seen a few people. They were like literally flying in

the plane because it was so prescient the plane.

CHERYL SUKER, PASSENGER: It was quite scary that the plane just seemed to go stop, which it didn't but then dropped quite a severe drop.

PHILOMENA PRENDERGAST, PASSENGER: We had our seatbelts on just from watching the episode that happened last week. It was just it was there in

your mind. It was so scary at the time.


You just don't know -- or not like -- staffs were amazing like to -- actually get up and have to look after us and they're going around with

bandages on their hands and bloodied faces.


GIOKOS: Oh, terrifying thought there but also another terrifying moment for two passengers on bought a small plane in Sydney, Australia when they were

forced to make a crash landing on Sunday. Now you can see how close the plane was flying to homes in a suburb. You can see it crash landing.

There absolutely scary. One of the passengers, tell CNN affiliate 9News that they didn't think they were going to make it to the airport's hangar.

But they did and luckily no one was injured, the cause of the crash is under investigation.

And still to come, the aftermath of a heavy weekend of Russian bombardments in Eastern Ukraine will bring you the very latest. Plus, South Africa's

ruling party faces its stiffer challenge in 30 years. We'll explain why the party of Nelson Mandela risks losing its parliamentary majority. We'll be

right back.


GIOKOS: Welcome back now in two days, South Africa will hold a critical election which could see the greatest challenge to the ruling African

National Congress. The party of Nelson Mandela is trying to extend its 30 year hold on power. But widespread concern over corruption, joblessness and

power cuts could threaten its parliamentary majority for the first time.

If so, the ANC could be forced to form a coalition with rivals such as the Democratic Alliance which has been wooing voters with a promise of economic

reform or with the EFF or the MK which is backed by Former President Jacob Zuma. CNN's David McKenzie has more for us.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): IT worker Mmeli Mbatha knows how to gin up a crowd. He's volunteered for the

ANC since he was just 15. But now it's crunch time.

MMELI MBATHA, ANC YOUTH LEAGUE: We want to show the support to the ANC, because ANC has been supporting us.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): The party of Nelson Mandela needs their voices, and it really needs their votes. 50 years in power, and the party that has

defined South African politics faces its strongest challenge yet.

MCKENZIE: This could be the most closely contested election since the dawn of South Africa's democracy, and many believe that the ruling ANC could

lose its majority but their supporters say don't count them out here.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): The ANC can fill stadiums, yes, but it also has a formidable ground game.


Spending vast sums He's on this campaign getting right into neighborhoods with senior leaders.

THULI GWALA, ANC SUPPORTER: Voting for ANC until now.

MCKENZIE: Why do you still want to vote for the ANC?

GWALA: I want to vote because my ANC who worked for me.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Millions of South Africans, like Thuli Gwala depend on modest government social grants to survive. For decades, these grants

have been the party's trump card. But South Africans want more. Breathtaking unemployment, sustained electricity, blackouts, and stark

inequalities have left many feeling betrayed by the promises of the ANC.

Once loyal supporters are abandoning the ANC, even forming their own parties, they are more than 50 on the national ballot. I have voted for the

ANC twice. All these people here before, majority of them used to vote for the ANC. Look at the ANC's electoral support ever year is going down.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): The ANC government has presided over huge allegations of corruption. And there is a very significant problem with

unemployment. Why should people this time vote for this party given that record?

FIKILE MBALULA, ANC SECRETARY-GENERAL: We are a party that has made strides in terms of renewal and fighting, the stigma, so to say, of being

associated with corruption.

MCKENZIE: Is it enough to win this election? Are you feeling confident?

MBALULA: The elections will be one on the basis of the work we do among our people. And as we -- you can see, we are not idly.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Never idle, not during campaign season. But on Election Day, will voters be singing a different tune?


GIOKOS: All right, that was David McKenzie for us in Johannesburg giving us an overview of what we can expect from South African elections later on

this week. All right we are going to very short break. I'll be back right after this, stay with CNN.


GIOKOS: Welcome back, I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi, and you're watching "Connect the World". Russia's latest deadly attack on Eastern Ukraine was

caught on security cameras and you're looking at various terrifying angles of the moment of the strike on a hardware store in Kharkiv.


At least 17 people are dead after the attack on Saturday. Official said nearly 200 people were inside the building when it was hit. This war heavy

bombardment killed nine people across three regions in Ukraine on Sunday and wounded another 50. Meantime, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

announced a weapons deal for Ukraine worth $1 billion.

President Zelenskyy arrived in Madrid earlier to meet with Prime Minister Sanchez after previously canceling all upcoming international visits.

Joining us now with more on this, we've got Melissa Bell live in Paris, Melissa, good to see you.

You know, this meeting with Prime Minister Sanchez in the backdrop of all of this, you've seen these deadly strikes in Ukraine. Really important for

President Zelenskyy to try and push for more weapons and of course more aid at this point.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That's right we'd already seen President Zelenskyy will remember, Eleni, standing in the ruins of what had

been the last series of deadly attacks on civilian infrastructure around Kharkiv. Standing in the ruin remains of a printing press on Thursday, just

offer this Thursday strikes urgently appealing out to the West to carry on with its weapons delivery, indeed, to speed them up to do more to allow

Ukraine to ensure its defenses.

Specifically, of course, since we've seen this opening of the front around Kharkiv and the gains being made by Russian forces at there. Moscow again,

claiming at today the gain of a village in Donetsk and have a settlement in the Kharkiv region. It is that pressure in the context of that pressure

both militarily along the front lines with Ukrainian officials speaking about 24 --

In the last 24 hours, 15 attacks along those Kharkiv front lines, but also the pressure that has been brought to bear on civilians after that dreadful

attack of -- That death toll continues to rise. It is now at 17 with only about 30 percent of the rubble having been sifted through, Eleni. It is in

our context.

Of course the President Zelenskyy is in Madrid meeting with Pedro Sanchez that extra billion euros worth of aid has been pledged by the Spanish Prime

Minister, of course, a welcome piece of news, but we've also been hearing up from President Zelenskyy and perhaps most importantly, from Jen

Stoltenberg these last few days, Eleni, about the need.

Possibly, he's suggesting that NATO allies consider the possibility of allowing Kyiv to use the weapons that have been given to them by Western

allies on targets inside Russia. This believes the nature Secretary General would give Ukraine the ability to better defend itself specifically now

that we see it under such pressure there in the Northeast.

GIOKOS: Melissa Bell, thank you so much for that update. Good to see you. Well, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our

radar, right now. Heavy rain and lightning strikes have killed at least seven people in Southern India after tropical cyclone Remal reach land on


Authorities evacuated more than 1 million people across India and neighboring Bangladesh. The state of emergency and the French territory of

New Caledonia will lift Tuesday morning according to the French President's office. It was imposed two weeks ago after deadly rioting sparked by

proposal to grant greater voting rights to French residents living on the islands.

Tributes to actor Johnny Wactor who was fatally shot in Los Angeles while trying to stop a car thief. He was best known for his role on General

Hospital. Wactor's mom say three men were trying to steal his catalytic converter before he confessed to them. Police say one of the suspects then

opened fire.

And just ahead a tough challenger for Rafael Nadal at the French Open we preview the action. Plus the leaders of Japan, China and South Korea meet

for the first time in years. Two of them are U.S. allies. So the big question is what did they talk about? Find out just ahead.



GIOKOS: Welcome back. Now the leaders of South Korea and Japan have condemned a planned satellite launch by North Korea. Tokyo says if it goes

ahead, it would be a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Now this comes during a trilateral summit with China. That meeting and Seoul

wrapped up earlier in the day.

Senior leaders from China, Japan, and South Korea all sat down together to work on boosting cooperation. That's pretty rare. The three nations haven't

held these kinds of talks in more than four years. The trilateral summit comes amid tensions between China and Taiwan and now Taipei says it's

working on a plan to create a new satellite system to keep people online in case of a disaster.

The self-governing island currently relies on a series of vulnerable undersea cables for its communications. CNN's Will Ripley has more on the

problem, and Taiwan's proposed solution.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Deep beneath the waters around Taiwan, a fragile digital lifeline. Some call

shockingly vulnerable to a Chinese attack, 15 undersea internet cables, connecting Taiwan to the rest of the world. Vital strategic assets and

potential military targets.

Cut the cables you cut off the internet, plunging 24 million people into digital darkness, leaving this island democracy dangerously exposed. Elon

Musk spent years and billions developing Starlink using low orbit communication satellites to provide high speed internet.

RIPLEY: Here in Taiwan people have plenty of reasons to doubt the reliability of Starlink. Elon Musk controls it and he has deep business

ties with China.

RIPLEY (voice-over): In September, Musk made comments seen as signing with Beijing over Taipei.

ELON MUSK, CEO OF SPACEX: Their policy has been to reunite Taiwan with China. From this standpoint, you know, maybe this analogous to like Hawaii,

RIPLEY (voice-over): Taiwan's Foreign Minister quickly fire back posting on Musk's X platform. Listen up. Taiwan is not part of the People's Republic

of China, and certainly not for sale.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one.

RIPLEY (voice-over): To protect itself, Taiwan is turning to space, investing billions to develop and launch its own low orbit communication

satellites to ensure uninterrupted internet connectivity in times of crisis, a program spearheaded by Wu Jong-shinn Director General of TASA

Taiwan's Space Agency.

WU JONG-SHINN, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF TAIWAN SPACE AGENCY: The communication satellite is very important for our communication resilience during urgent


RIPLEY (voice-over): Starlink developed by SpaceX crucial in conflict zones like Ukraine and Gaza. TASA is racing to develop a similar system in space.

RIPLEY: The satellite you're developing if the internet or the communication lines were cut and Taiwan could go into the dark, right?

JONG-SHINN: Yeah, right --

RIPLEY: -- about this?

JONG-SHINN: Yeah, I think so. So that's very important for us. Yeah. We take it very, very serious. Yeah.

RIPLEY (voice-over): A chilling case study of Taiwan's digital vulnerability on its outlying Matsu Islands last year, Taipei accused two

Chinese ships of severing underwater cables without providing direct evidence the only backup sluggish microwave radio transmission, calls

dropped texting took hours, online videos unwatchable. Taiwan is cooperating with NASA in the U.S. accelerating its space program in the

face of rising threats.


JONG-SHINN: China is rising up in SpaceTech, for example, you know, don't have this political difficulty -- as you know, but in space, there's no

country, division or there's no boundary.

RIPLEY (voice-over): And back on Earth, rising cross strait tensions adding urgency to Taiwan's space race. Will Ripley CNN, Taipei.


GIOKOS: All right, time now to give you an update on the world of sports, could the king of clay be saying goodbye to Paris. Rafael Nadal is back at

the French Open for the first time since winning his 14th title there two years ago, and he's got a huge test in his first round match we just got


So we've got Patrick Snell, to give us an update on how it is going and whether he can beat all -- What's happening Patrick?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Hi Eleni, Yeah, really emotional scenes on the tab by to then the French capital of Roland Garros, the king of clay in

action at this hour taking on the German player, very good German player. Alexander Zverev was just one of the Italian open in Rome, a player very

much informed.

But the crowd really, as you can imagine getting behind Nadal, they want to see him if this is going to be his last French Open. And we don't know yet

that for sure. He did say that this will likely be as last year ever on the pro circuit. But he did say in the build up to this match, Eleni, he did

into the possibility is not yet ready to close the door and it all 100 percent.

He had a poor start in his match. He was broken in the very first game, he went to games to love down but he has just held his service 2-1 down

currently. But he's being willed on by the fans there who do not want to see him go out with a wimp. He's a warrior of the game. He wants to go out

on the high.

If it is going to be a case of going out, he's going to give it all, he's a fighter and he's going to push this one to the very end, you can be sure

that, Eleni will keep you updated.

GIOKOS: Yeah, I mean, it's you know, we're watching a bit of this now. But we know Rafael Nadal has just pushed through even after injuries. Is he

sort of the favorites to win? He has -- the sense that right now?

SNELL: -- he would not consider him favorite just given the fact that he's had all these injuries. These -- setbacks, the surgeries he's had over the



SNELL: His age I will say he's got the whole family there. And I think that speaks volumes, the whole family is there watching him and willing him to

try and win this match at least would be superb and then we see a case of just how far he might be able to go

GIOKOS: Yeah, all right. Patrick Snell, good to have you on. We'll see you right after the break and I'll be back at the top of the hour with more

"Connect the World", stay with CNN.