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G7 Summit Begins in Italy; Ukraine's Attempt to Turn Convicts into Soldiers; SCOTUS Allows Abortion Pill Access to Stand; Hostage Treatment in Israel-Hamas War; Call to Earth; Former Employees Sue Musk, SpaceX for Alleged Illegal Firings; Pilgrims Arrive in Mecca before Official Start of Hajj. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 13, 2024 - 10:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): It is the second hour of the show.

Wherever you are watching, you are more than welcome. It's 6 pm here in Abu Dhabi; it's 4 pm in Italy, where the Group of Seven is meeting. The U.S.

president working to ensure support for Ukraine continues in the event the G7 undergoes a political shakeup.

Plus an exclusive report on Ukraine's efforts to turn convicts into soldiers.

And later in the show, how an emerging artificial intelligence power is positioning itself between China and the U.S. My conversation with the

world's first AI minister


ANDERSON: Well, we start in Italy, where the heads of the world's richest democracies as they are known, are meeting for the G7.


ANDERSON (voice-over): You're looking at the faces at that summit; seven world leaders alongside European Council president Charles Michel and

European Commission president Ursula van der Leyen.

But with the war in Ukraine a key focus, the guest of honor is this man, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He is expected to sign a new 10 year security pact

with the U.S. on the sidelines of the summit. That perhaps the most important but only one of a number of key offers he is expected to get

while he is there.

Our own international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joining us from Italy.

So let's start with that.

What does this expected long-term security deal between the U.S. and Ukraine look like Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, this is something that's not precisely what President Zelenskyy wanted because, if we go back to the

NATO summit last summer, what he wanted was essentially that Article 5 security guarantee commitment, that an attack on one member of NATO is an

attack on all.

He wanted to be inside that umbrella. But the NATO summit said, look, what you can get is bilateral agreement with all 32 NATO nations. So this is the

United States' version of that bilateral agreement or security pact, that essentially says the United States has your back.

It's a 10 year pact that will perhaps we understand have language in it that will sound like, if Ukraine is attacked again by Russia in a future

scenario, then the United States would be dealing with it as an urgency within 24 hours.

So this, it tries to buy Ukraine a firm commitment, whoever is the President of the United States going forward, because, as we understand,

potentially with Donald Trump to become president, he might try to weaken the relationship and weaken support for Ukraine.

So potentially that might head that off. But we know that the other NATO nations have already taken similar steps; 14 other countries have already

signed off on this. So this leaves another 17 other countries to make these bilateral security agreements with Ukraine.

One other thing we're expecting to hear from President Biden today will be about 300 additional sanctions on individuals and companies in Russia that

the United States feel are sort of getting around the existing sanctions, to get in technologies, computer chips, that sort of thing, that Russia is

using on weapons.

That already there are sanctions designed to stop that happening but these are going to broaden out the language and who they can apply to blunt

Russia's military capability. So that's another thing we're expecting today, Becky.

ANDERSON: Busy times. Thank you, Nic.

Well, that's the story at G7. While leaders hold talks in Italy, military officials from nearly 50 countries are meeting in Brussels. While there

they will talk about Russia's war against Ukraine and their combined efforts to support key.

It comes as Ukraine struggles to replenish its depleted army after more than two years of fighting. CNN's Clare Sebastian has this exclusive report

on Ukraine's program to turn convicts into soldiers.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Think twice before coming to us," says this battalion commander of Ukraine's 3rd

Assault Brigade. "We are really tough."

This is Ukraine's newest effort to solve a crippling manpower shortage on its front lines.


CNN gained exclusive access inside a Ukrainian prison as inmates are given the chance to choose another path.

SERHII, UKRAINIAN PRISONER (from captions): It so happened that during a fight, I killed a person. I foolishly killed a man. I have a wife and

children. I want to protect my wife, my kids, my family.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): The vetting process, stringent. At less than a month since President Zelenskyy signed a law allowing some prisoners to

apply for early parole to join the armed forces, Ukraine's justice ministry says from almost 5,000 applicants, nearly 2,000 prisoners have been

released to fight, basic training already underway.

For 28-year-old Dmytro, the decision was personal.

DMYTRO, UKRAINIAN CONSCRIPT (from captions): Two missiles hit my house. I had two small children and a wife. Nobody survived. At that moment I was

already in prison in Kharkiv. I am not here only for revenge but also for people who are suffering.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Ukraine is keen to differentiate its prison recruitment efforts from that of Russia.


SEBASTIAN (voice-over): The late Yevgeny Prigozhin drafting thousands of inmates into his Wagner paramilitary group, a so-called meat grinder

assault on Bakhmut that cost thousands of lives.

DENYS MALIUSKA, UKRAINIAN JUSTICE MINISTER: We selected the best prisoners we have. Those who volunteered to participate in the mechanism were passed

down through all legal and healthcare checks.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): The justice ministry says so far, the experiment is going well.

MALIUSKA: My understanding is that their morale is far better than any other conscripts. They receive a good salary, respect, a uniform, better

living conditions.

And yet, for some of these men who may be on the front lines by the end of summer, this was not an easy decision.

VITALIY, UKRAINIAN PRISONER (from captions): My family is very worried. To be honest, they don't support me. It's a choice. Because now the situation

at the front is difficult.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): A chance to turn around their own fortunes and, they hope, the fate of their country -- Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.



ANDERSON: The Supreme Court from the United States is in session and it is releasing opinions today. Some of the cases it has been considering are

highly consequential. CNN Justice correspondent Jessica Schneider is joining us now.

Jessica, this session started at the top of the hour and we are already getting new dropping from that court.

What have we heard?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. The Supreme Court starts issuing opinions at 10:00 am. So we've gotten the

first opinion and it's a pretty big one, one of the bigger ones that we are anticipating.

This is about the abortion pill mifepristone and the Supreme Court basically throwing out a challenge to the abortion pill, saying that the

people who brought this case just don't have the necessary standing or the injury to bring this case.

So let me back up and give you a bit of background. This is an abortion pill mifepristone that is used in the majority of abortions nationwide. It

was released by the FDA in the year 2000 and, in subsequent years, they've relaxed some of the rules surrounding this drug.

Meaning that women can now get it by mail; they can now get it at 10 -- up to 10 weeks pregnant instead of just up to seven weeks pregnant. They can

also get it via telehealth without meeting in person with their doctor.

And a group of doctors who are opposed to abortion, several years ago, they brought a challenge to this pill, saying basically that the FDA didn't have

the authority to even approve this pill and then didn't have the authority to relax some of those restrictions over recent years.

Those doctors actually won at the lower courts. They won in a district court in Texas. Then they won at the appeals level. But what the Supreme

Court is saying today is that those doctors, who just morally oppose abortion, they don't really have any legal right to even bring this


So even though it has persisted for several years at the lower courts, the Supreme Court stepping into say, doctors, you really don't have any injury

here. You don't prescribe mifepristone, you don't use mifepristone. Therefore, you cannot challenge this.

So what does this do practically?

Well, this leaves mifepristone on the market as is with every rule in place, that's been in place for several years, will remain in place. This

lawsuit is effectively null and void. However, it does leave open the opportunity for other groups, who might have standing or the actual injury

here. It leaves that open for those groups to sue.


But likely if that happens, it would take several years for anything to affect mifepristone. So, Becky, what the takeaway is here, after months of

uncertainty as to what might happen with the availability of the abortion pill, turns out nothing will happen. It will remain status quo.

Women will be able to continue to get the abortion pill, as has been customary in recent years.

There was a lot of concern around this because with the overturning of Roe v. Wade two years ago, a lot of women around the United States, now in

states where they are in states that maybe ban abortion or severely restrict abortion, they have been relying on this pill received by mail to

actually perform these abortions.

So there was some concern that it wouldn't be as widely available. But as we stand today, the Supreme Court basically kicking this case out, saying

that there's no standing here. It's dismissed and everything will remain as is, at least for the foreseeable future with this abortion pill, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. There's been so much criticism, isn't there, about this Supreme Court and the politicization of this court. We also know that

abortion and reproductive rights are so high up on people's agenda, five months out from this key election in the States, at the back end of the

year. So it's an important ruling at a key time.

Now, just having you here is really important because this, of course, typically takes a break at the end of June. That's not much time with all

of these cases to be decided. There's a log list of cases, including a key decision which affects Donald Trump. Explain what that is.

And when we might expect to get that decision and whether all of these opinions can actually be delivered before July.

SCHNEIDER: So if tradition holds, the Supreme Court will release its remaining two dozen opinions by the end of June. It seems like there's a

lot left. But they've got an opinion day tomorrow. And then typically what we see in the last two weeks of June is they really load up on days where

they release opinions.

We don't know what they are yet. They usually release the days just a few days before. But like you said, I mean, the big case that we're looking at

is for the Supreme Court to decide whether or not Donald Trump -- and for that matter, all former presidents -- whether they have immunity from

criminal prosecution once they have left office.

Now Donald Trump's team has argued that he has immunity from criminal prosecution for every act he took while in office. And the Department of

Justice has said that's absolutely not the case. Perhaps official acts, you might have immunity for.

But private acts, you certainly wouldn't. And the DOJ is arguing that everything Donald Trump did around January 6th, around the election, in

their view, to disrupt the election results, they say that those were private and not official actions. And therefore, Donald Trump shouldn't be


So the question is, how is the Supreme Court going to come down?

They have never decided this issue. And it looks like they will decide it in the next two weeks, we're not sure on which day. But of course, Becky,

that will directly impact the remaining criminal cases against Donald Trump.

The one here in Washington has been on hold because of that very question. So we'll see if that case will be able to move forward. And if so, if there

might be a trial before the election, which is looking less and less likely.

ANDERSON: This is -- it feels like these decisions and opinions couldn't be more important. Just step back for the benefit of our viewers, who may

not know as much about the U.S. Supreme Court as you do.

I mean, these are, these are huge decisions that this court, which is embedded at the very heart of what happens in the U.S. today and going

forward, has to take. Just remind us of the makeup of this court, if you will.


The Supreme Court, Becky, is really the last stop when it comes to these issues that are often of the utmost important to the American public.

The Supreme Court decides if the laws that are passed by Congress are constitutional or not. So these nine justices really are the last stop and

they are the decision-makers.

I mean, we saw the implications two years ago when they overturned Roe v. Wade, overturned that absolute right to have an abortion before viability,

which is usually at about 24 weeks.

And then we saw the fallout from that. States around the country have unilaterally decided whether or not to restrict abortion. The makeup of

this court has changed dramatically since Donald Trump was in office.


Incredibly, Donald Trump was able to nominate three justices. And he did so with a mind that he would appoint pro-life, anti-abortion justices. And

sure enough, he appointed three of them. They're still on the bench obviously. And that was right when we saw the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

So this court has a supermajority of conservative votes. There are six conservatives, three liberal justices appointed by Democrats. That doesn't

always mean that they're going to vote one way or the other.

But we have consistently seen this court divided along ideological lines. I will note that this abortion pill case was a unanimous decision. It was

written by one of the justices that Donald Trump nominated, Brett Kavanaugh. But it was joined by the entire court.

So they do tend to coalesce and come together on certain issues. But of course, they didn't get to the heart of this case. They only got to whether

or not these doctors even had the ability to bring this lawsuit.

So it is, yes, as soon -- in recent years, this court has really drawn the ire, of criticism from alleged ethics violations and then, of course,

criticism for the opinions that they've released and the rulings that they've issued that have affected the people across this country.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you, Jessica. Thank you.

I want to bring in Jeff Swartz. He's a former judge in Miami-Dade County and a professor at Thomas Cooley Law School.

So one opinion is dropped; the pill, the abortion pill will remain on the market. This means that the court has avoided setting a precedent against

the FDA.

And there are, quite frankly, huge implications for this, not just for the business of abortion as it was but there's a much, much wider political

story here, isn't there?

JEFF SWARTZ, LAW PROFESSOR AND FORMER JUDGE: There is a much wider political story and there's a wider legal story here. This is the second

opinion that this court has put out supporting agencies and their power to make decisions.

And that's really important in how the government operates. So now they're kind of standing up for -- they did this with the Consumer Protection

Agency. Now they're doing it for this for this particular agency.

I think that the standing issue can be resolved. And we may see another case dealing with this mifepristone issue. But as of right now, there is

not a proper plaintiff to sue. They did not have standing and that was the basis of the decision. So we may see another case in the future.

But right now, nobody is going to allow the FDA to be challenged on this as a third party plaintiff. They're going to have to be directly injured by

this particular drug.

ANDERSON: We're expecting a couple of dozen, two dozen opinions to be delivered between now and July. And obviously key in that list is the

immunity opinion for Donald Trump and any former presidents.

What are you expecting to see and hear?

SWARTZ: Well, I don't expect to see absolute immunity for any president who commits a crime while they're in office or even afterwards. I don't

think that that's going to exist. I think the immunity against being prosecuted while they are in office is going to stand.

The real issue is, what other theory of immunity will they fall upon?

There was some at least inklings at the oral argument that they're looking at the idea of the difference between a president who does things for

private purposes and violates a law and a president who does something that they're authorized to do as President of the United States.

And commit a crime while doing it, that they will have immunity from prosecution for fulfilling their duties.

I'm not sure exactly where they're going to fall on it. I think Amy Coney Barrett may be the linchpin here. She seemed to be upset with the idea of

any kind of immunity. And she seemed to fall upon a founder by the name of Wilson, who actually wrote the Constitution and asked the question at the

Constitutional Convention.

Does the president enjoy any privileges or rights not given to any other citizen?

And the resounding answer, according to Madison's notes, was a unanimous no.


We just got rid of a king. We don't need another one.

So it depends on who's doing it. But I think that it's going to be close. And it may be that Coney Barrett and the chief justice will be the

linchpins to determine which way it goes.

ANDERSON: Your insight and analysis is so important.

And let's bring in CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer.

Let's start with where we started just a moment ago. The Supreme Court preserves access to the widely used abortion medication throwing out legal

challenges from abortion opponents. That's the legal story that's just being delivered by the court. Talk to us about the politics.

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's a legal decision that has political ramifications. It's a blow to the anti abortion rights

movement, which has scored many victories in recent years.

And I do think, at some level, it will energize those who are fighting for reproductive rights or a reminder that everything is not inevitably going

against them. It could bring this issue even deeper into the 2024 election, which many Democrats would be happy to have as an issue.

Because many Americans are not supportive of the direction many states have been going since the Dobbs decision. So I think this will be an important

part of 2024 as presidential and congressional elections.

ANDERSON: Looking forward to, as we've been discussing, a couple of dozen opinions that need to be delivered not least that on presidential immunity.

Again, the politics student, if you will.

ZELIZER: Well, the reelection campaign of the former president Donald Trump has in part been a question about presidential power.

He is boldly asserting the power that he had. He's calling for even greater power in this particular decision as it affects his cases. But even more

broadly as a president, totally immune from these kinds of criminal indictments and conviction.

So I think the two are intertwined. And then practically, this very well has already caused delays in the cases that are pending against him and

could cause further delays, depending on what the court says, even if it's limited immunity.

So those cases are integral to how the campaign will unfold. They are the big ticket issues much more than the hush money case in New York about what

the president did during his term in office.

ANDERSON: Good to have you both. Stand by. We're going to take a very short break, back after this.





ANDERSON: The Supreme Court of the United States, or SCOTUS as it is known in short, is in session and releasing opinions today. Some of the cases

it's been considering are highly consequential. I want to bring in Jeff -- bring back Jeff Swartz. He's a former judge in Miami-Dade County and a

professor at Thomas Cooley Law School.

So let's just recap; the abortion pill will remain on the market.

So this means that the court has avoided setting a precedent against the FDA, correct?

SWARTZ: Yes, they've set a precedent against the FDA for the moment. Remember the issue in this case that they decided -- and they were pretty

clear upon this at the oral argument -- they just said that the people who were suing the FDA didn't have standing to sue, meaning they were not an

injured party.

Despite their protestations to the contrary, they said, you're not an injured party. And if you're not an injured party, you don't have the right

to sue the FDA. And that's basically what happened here.

They took this doctor, this group of doctors, and said, you're just doctors. And we're not looking at patients who have been harmed by the

drug. You're just doctors who think that your proclivities, your religious proclivities will be harmed.


SWARTZ: And that just was not enough. And that was the issue that they decided on.

ANDERSON: So does that mean that a different party could take issue with this abortion pill in the future, i.e. the door is not ultimately closed,


SWARTZ: The door is not closed. Another party who actually is harmed by the medication could sue the FDA and say, you didn't test it enough. You

didn't do this, you didn't do that. And so therefore we want to take it off the market despite your approval.

That is ultimately going to be very difficult because the evidence was clear that mifepristone is safer than aspirin. So if you're going to -- and

it just doesn't cause the kind of harm they're talking about.

So as a result of which, I find it very hard that, in the end, that any court would side with that plaintiff who is complaining about the harm that

was done. They went shopping for a specific judge.

These three -- these three doctors moved to this place in Texas where this one particular judge was. And that was because he was a pronounced (ph)

anti-abortion advocate. And so it was also an issue of venue shopping. And they didn't like that, either.

Julian, let me bring you in and I wonder what -- you might want to follow up on that point because this is, this is still a political issue, right?

Abortion is incredibly motivating to both sides of the political spectrum in the United States.

ZELIZER: It's one of the most motivating issues, I would argue, at this point. I think for many conservatives, especially evangelical Christians,

abortion has been the issue, really, not since Dobbs but since the 1970s following Roe v. Wade.

It animates the movement, it energizes religious conservatives that connect to the Republican Party. It was an integral part of why so many on the

Right supported Donald Trump, especially the Christian Right.

And so even this case and with the complexities of what happens next, there will be many on the Right who are energized to double down on the fight,

that it's not over despite their victories.

And similarly, for proponents of reproductive rights, this is one of the greatest existential threats right now that has resulted from the Trump

presidency in the current court. And they are determined to go at the ballot box to revert this.

ANDERSON: Remind our viewers what Donald Trump's position is when it comes to abortion and reproductive rights very specifically.

Or is this where there's a bit of a gray area?


ZELIZER: Yes, very specifically is difficult. I mean, he has come out against some of the most draconian bans that have been called for now. And

he's spoken about protecting certain rights.

At the same time, he's adamantly boasted about how he created a 6-3 conservative majority on the court that produced the Dobbs decision. And

he's been very firm generally against reproductive rights. And he has stood as a champion to the Right.

So although there are elements where he pushes from some of the extremities, I think primarily politically, generally, he is supported and

boasted about his own role as the architect of the legal infrastructure that overturned Roe v. Wade.


And it opened the door for everything we're seeing in states like Alabama and elsewhere.

ANDERSON: So let's just have a look at this map because it shows that, across the United States, there are huge portions of America where abortion

access has been restricted by tough laws.

What are the key states that are in the crosshairs of this?

ZELIZER: Well, I can't see your map but Alabama has certainly been one of the areas where you've seen a shift to the Right that's even further than

what was anticipated. I mean, we're now getting into the medicines and technology to allow people to have babies that are now on the table.

Florida is another state where you've seen a lot of restrictions. And I assume the map will line up with a lot of the South, for example, where

there's been a big push post-Dobbs to really go even further, including issues like access to the pills and stopping almost any kind of abortion-

related medicine or practice.

ANDERSON: Let me bring in Stephen Collinson here.

I hope you've had a chance to listen to the discussion that we are having; this, of course, on the opinion that is dropped in the past 30 minutes,

Stephen, on the abortion pill.

How important is this issue likely to be in the battleground states come November?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Democrats, hoping it's very important because it's one of the few issues where President

Biden actually leads Donald Trump in terms of public approval of his position.

We've seen the number of ballot initiatives in recent years since the overturning of the constitutional right to abortion, a couple of years ago,

where Democrats have even made progress in very conservative states.

It's shoring up abortion rights. In the midterm elections in 2022, we saw this was a very important issue in mobilizing Democratic voters and

independent voters coming to the polls and voting against the Republicans.

So every time a conservative court or a conservative state legislator takes a step, that is seen as making it harder for people to get abortions, the

Biden campaign comes out and said, this is all because of Donald Trump. This is because of the Supreme Court that he created, the conservative

majority during his first term. And it's all on him.

As Julian was saying, Trump's position on this is very unclear. I mean, it reminds me a little bit of Boris Johnson, when he said that -- the former

British PM -- when he said that his position on cake was having it and eating it.

Trump once credited -- as Julian was saying, for the Supreme Court majority -- for the overturning of abortion but he doesn't want to take the

political consequences of having done so. He says, it's up to the states to decide, which is -- mirrors the original Supreme Court decision to overturn

the right to abortion.

The problem with that is states all over the country are deciding different things. And it's absolute chaos. And one thing that you're seeing today in

this judgment is the Supreme Court having to deal with the consequences that it unleashed by its original decision to overturn abortion. So that's

very interesting.

ANDERSON: That's a very good point.

It's good to have you all. Thank you very much indeed for joining us. We are going to take a short break. Back after this.





ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, the time here is 36 minutes past 6.

Here being Abu Dhabi in the UAE. While negotiations to end the fighting and release of the hostages in Gaza appear to be sputtering, we are learning

new information about conditions some Israeli hostages have been facing after four of them were freed in that Israeli military raid last weekend.

The family of one freed hostage is sharing details about the abuse and punishment he suffered during months of captivity. CNN's Paula Hancocks has

this report.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the Israeli military launched Saturday's rescue mission in Gaza, one of the hostages thought they had

come to kill him.

Andrey Kozlov shouts his name in terror to the troops. His family says the Hamas guards told them for months, the sounds of war they were hearing were

Israel trying to target them as they were causing trouble for the state.

His brother, Dmitry, tells me he didn't understand why the IDF came. He was afraid they came to kill him. It took some time to realize they had come to

rescue him. Psychological abuse coupled with frequent punishments marked Kozlov's captivity, according to his family.

"They were trying not to leave marks," his brother says because eventually it is their reputation but they would still punish him this way or the


"He has told us there are some moments he will never share with us," his father says, "but one he did share is that at the hottest time of the day,

they would cover him in blankets. It's a difficult ordeal to be dehydrated through heat."

Kozlov, 27 years old, is a Russian citizen who moved to Israel almost two years ago. He was working as a security guard at the Nova Music Festival on

October 7th when he was kidnapped and taken into Gaza.

His parents flew from Russia Sunday for an emotional reunion, one they hadn't dared to hope for after eight long months.

"This is the best scenario we could have hoped for," his father says, "to see him alive, to feel his presence and to hug him. It is outstanding."

His mother says, "we are infinitely happy to see him. He laughs, he jokes, "he enjoys communicating with all of us. With his family, with doctors,

with the people who surround him."

His family says Kozlov was shocked when Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to visit him and the three other hostages rescued while in


As for those hostages still in Gaza, his father says, a deal or a rescue, whatever it takes to get them out -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Tel Aviv.


ANDERSON: If you saw our newscast last hour, I talked about the massive number of displaced people in Gaza, something like 80 percent.


Eight out of 10 of the population forced to flee their homes as a result of this conflict and others in Ukraine, Sudan and Haiti, for example, the

numbers of displaced people in the world are going up and up.

Take a look at this. According to the United Nations, 117 million people were displaced last year. That amounts to one out of every 69 people on

Earth. That's up by 8 percent from 2020 to an almost double the number from 10 years ago.

The U.N. Refugee Agency says the number has continued to rise in 2024, topping 120 million by the end of April. Sobering statistics. We will be

right back.




ANDERSON: Well as the planet's oceans continue to warm up, hurricanes are getting stronger and causing greater damage in regions like the Caribbean


So today on our series "Call to Earth," we head to Puerto Rico, where a simple nature-based solution is being used to restore the island's vitally

important first line of defense against coastal storms. Have a look at this.



ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the north shore on the main island of Puerto Rico, an idyllic destination for sun



here in (INAUDIBLE) Puerto Rico on the northwestern tip of the island in an area that has been devastated by hurricanes in the past few years. We had

dunes here.

The dunes were totally devastated by the -- by the storms. And we are restoring those ecosystems.

ASHER (voice-over): Professor Robert Mayer is the director of an organization called Vida Marina at the University of Puerto Rico Aguadilla.

It aims to strengthen the resilience of the island's coastline, particularly its sand dunes, which are natural barriers to flooding and

storm surge.

MAYER: Restoring degraded ecosystems, especially coastal ecosystems, is very important not only because we are very vulnerable to the effects of

climate change but because these are ecosystems that are used by other species, other species like sea turtles, birds. We have invertebrates.

And we were seeing a degradation of these ecosystems just increasing at an alarming rate.


ASHER (voice-over): Today, the team is installing what they called biomimicry matrices, planks repurposed from shipping pallets that are

placed vertically into the ground. This helps rebuild dunes by mimicking natural processes to trap sand.

MAYER (voice-over): We have the trade winds that are pretty, pretty strong.


And they carry a lot of sand. Since we don't have any structures here, most of that sand falls on the roads, and from the roads it disappears. This

will help us promote formation of a dune similar to what we had before the storms.

ASHER (voice-over): After Hurricanes Irma and Maria battered Puerto Rico just two weeks apart in 2017, followed by a destructive winter storm in

2018, Vida Marina was pulled into action, identifying 23 priority sites in desperate need of restoration.

By 2021, they had successfully restored all 23 sites using this system.

MAYER: What we see here is approximately three meters of sand accumulation.

ASHER (voice-over): Severe weather events are not the only threat to the coastal regions here. Mayer says that the illegal extraction of sand,

recreational vehicles, horseback riding and beachgoers are all contributing factors to significant beach erosion.

To help protect the dunes, wooden boardwalks are now constructed and signs redirect foot traffic from sensitive areas. Community outreach, education

and building a network of local volunteers are also critical to beach protection efforts.

MAYER: So we're trying to train a new generation of ecological restoration practitioners, which is so important in this decade.


ASHER (voice-over): Vida Marina says that, to date, it's rebuilt and restored nearly 35 kilometers of sand dunes along the north shore. Simple

solutions taking cues from nature and the supportive communities that are proud to call this island home.

MAYER (voice-over): We see more respect as time goes by. We see less tracks of ATVs on the dunes, less sand extraction. We think we're getting

through. We have created a buzz around sand dune restoration, which wasn't the case 20 or 30 years?

Things have changed. And that's very rewarding.


ANDERSON: And what you are doing to answer the call is important to us. So please message us with the #CalltoEarth. We'll be right back.




ANDERSON: I want to revisit our breaking news this hour for you. The U.S. Supreme Courts ruling on one of its highest profile cases this year. The

justices rejected a lawsuit from the anti-abortion doctors regarding access to the abortion drug mifepristone.

Essentially, they've left an FDA ruling in place that allows patients to receive the drug over the mail without an in-person medical consultation. I

want to bring in CNN medical correspondent Meg Tirrell at this point.

Let's just have a look at this ruling and what you believe the key take-out is through a health lens, Meg.

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what was at stake here was not that the drug was going to potentially come off the market altogether.

That was what a lower court had decided.

But as this got up to the Supreme Court, the issues at stake really were whether the Supreme Court would agree with the appeals court and rollback

access to mifepristone, which is one of two drugs used in medication abortion, to essentially where they stood in 2016.


So it would make it impossible to get the drug or very difficult to get the drug through the mail, which is a very common way that medication abortion

is now accessed in the United States.

And we know from the most recent set of data that medication abortion is the most common way that people access abortion here in this country. It

accounted for 63 percent of abortions in 2023, according to the Guttmacher Institute. There were more than 1 million abortions in that year.

So that's more than 600,000 people who are accessing medication abortion in this way. We know increasingly, especially as abortion restrictions have

been becoming stronger in certain states in the U.S., that telemedicine has become increasingly important for access.

In those states where abortion is banned, medication abortion through the mail is also illegal. So this wouldn't have changed that situation. But it

would have affected access to abortion through the mail in all states, including in states where it is legal.

So this case was tossed out on standing. They didn't get into the merits of the case and there is some expectation that this case could find its way

back. So it is not closing the book on these legal questions. But as of right now, nothing changes with access to this drug in the U.S.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, Meg. Thank you.

Controversial CEO Elon Musk is waiting to hear if his massive Tesla pay package will be restored by shareholders. He says he has no doubts. And as

he waits for today's shareholder decision, former employees of SpaceX are suing Musk and the rocket company that he founded.

They say he illegally fired them after they called that sexual harassment in the workplace. CNN's Anna Stewart shows us why the stakes are so big for

both Musk and the company he founded.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONENT (voice-over): It sounds like the trailer of a blockbuster movie. Featuring fast cars and starring robots. Well, it's

not. It's a teaser for a corporate AGM. But given it involves Elon Musk, it's far from boring.

ELON MUSK, CEO, TESLA MOTORS: At Tesla, we build our cars with love, like we really care.

STEWART (voice-over): This was Musk at the 2018 AGM after the board agreed unusual compensation package that gave Musk no salary or cash bonuses or

equity that vests by the passage of time.

Instead, Elon would get a 100 percent at risk performance award with a huge price tag now worth around $50 billion in Tesla shares if Musk hit a series

of performance milestones, which he did.

But a few months ago, the payday was cancelled by a judge in Delaware.

DAN IVES, MANAGING DIRECTOR, WEDBUSH SECURITIES: This is a game of high stakes poker. It all started with the Delaware court ruling that

essentially voided Musk's $56 billion pay comp package from 2018. But Musk hit all the issues, all the issues, all of the milestones that he needed to

in taking Tesla above a trillion .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On June 13th, we will hold our annual shareholders meeting.

STEWART: The Tesla board is now asking shareholders to reinstate Musk's pay package and to move Tesla's incorporated home away from Delaware to


IVES: Musk is Tesla, Tesla is Musk, heart and lung and ultimately, shareholders need Musk. And if Musk starts to spend less time at Tesla,

that's a bad thing for Tesla. And I think that's the issue right now at stake.

STEWART): Musk has other companies he can focus on like SpaceX, Neuralink, The Boring Company and X, formerly known as Twitter.

And Tesla shareholders may want his attention if Tesla is to evolve from electric vehicles to humanoids, robo-taxis and artificial intelligence.

So coming soon to an AGM Thursday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your vote decides the future of Tesla.

STEWART: Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: And you wouldn't bet against him, would you?

It's billed as one of the biggest religious gatherings in the world. Today more than 1.5 million people have arrived in Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the

annual Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj. It officially begins on Friday. This year, to help pilgrims cope with the intense June heat, Saudi government

says 5000 first aid volunteers will be on hand.


In addition to more than 1,500 military personnel.

Well, that is it for CONNECT THE WORLD. Do though stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" with Rahel Solomon is up next. From those working with me here in the UAE

and around the world, it's a very good evening.