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Hezbollah Threatens Republic of Cyprus; Putin in Vietnam to Boost Strategic Partnership; Philippines Accuses China of "Brutal Assault" at Sea; Harnessing the Power of Iceland's Volcanoes; Kenyan Protesters Denounce Proposed Tax Hikes; SCOTUS Announces Opinions, Major Cases Outstanding; World Refugee Day; Olympian Fled Iran for Bulgaria, Now Aims for Taekwondo Gold. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 20, 2024 - 10:00   ET




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

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Welcome to the second hour of the show. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. The time here is 6:00 in the


SCOTUS in focus: the U.S. Supreme Court expected to hand down decisions on key cases.

An unexpected warning: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah puts the tiny island nation of Cyprus on notice.

And a number that will shock you. We hear World Refugee Day, we mark it amid growing global conflict.


ANDERSON: And while we wait for those Supreme Court rulings to drop, we start the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD here in this region and the

blunt warning from the leader of Hezbollah.

Hassan Nasrallah, saying -- excuse me -- no place in Israel would be safe in the event of all-out war. His televised speech focused on what he says

is the group's expanded military and intelligence capabilities.

That's followed Hezbollah's release of that purported drone video, showing Israeli military and civilian sites in northern Israel. Israel responding

that Hezbollah will be destroyed in all-out war. Ben Wedeman joining us from Beirut.

Nasrallah also had a pointed warning for the republic of Cyprus, Ben, saying it will be targeted if it allows Israeli forces to use its military

bases or airports. Of course, Cyprus has held joint military drills with Israel several times over the past decade.

What's going on here?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this reference to Cyprus really came out of the blue. We monitor Hezbollah media channels

very closely.

And there was no hint that this was coming. But clearly they're concerned, given the growing military ties between Israel and Cyprus, that somehow

Israel will use Cyprus' Airports or bases, as he said, to launch attacks on Lebanon and particularly Hezbollah.

So he issued this rather surprising warning against Cyprus. Now the response of the Cypriots was that, for instance, the president yesterday

came out and said this was not a pleasant remark coming from Nasrallah. And that he insisted that Cyprus wants no part in any war or conflict, as he


We heard also from a spokesman for the Cypriot government this morning, saying that no -- that Cypriot territory would not be used in any military

activity if it comes to a war. But clearly, Hezbollah is concerned not only about what could come from the south but also clearly what might come from

the West as well.

ANDERSON: Ben, the Cypriot president, as you rightly pointed out, has responded very specifically.

He said, "What I have to respond to is that the Republic of Cyprus is in no way involved in the war conflicts. The Republic of Cyprus is not part of

the problem."

He said, "The Republic of Cyprus is part of the solution and our role in this, as demonstrated, for example, through the humanitarian corridor."

He's talking there about the maritime corridor between Cyprus and Gaza is recognized not only by the Arab world but by the international community as

a whole. I think it's important that we just explain for the viewers what role Cyprus has had over the course of this war and how they have been


WEDEMAN: Certainly, they were a sort of a transit point for humanitarian goods headed to that rather ill fated or so far not very successful U.S.

pier that cost U.S. taxpayers $340 million to bring in humanitarian goods to Gaza along -- and also that includes the participation of 1,000 U.S.

service people as well.

Now Cyprus is in an interesting position. I recall during the '70s and '80s, it did not have very good relationship with Israel.


In fact, there was a case where the Cypriot authorities arrested several Israelis who they believed were involved in sabotage or attempts to

assassinate Palestinian members of -- members of the PLO at the time.

But as a result of the deterioration of Israeli-Turkish relations going back to the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, where Israeli commanders boarded a

Turkish ship and was headed to Gaza, killing several people on board that ship, those relations have deteriorated.

Keeping in mind, of course, that Turkiye essentially control -- has controlled the northern part of Cyprus since 1975. So essentially, the

Cypriot government is looking at it as the enemy of our enemy is our friend.

All very complicated in a very Middle Eastern sort of way. But that sort of puts Cyprus on the map in terms of where they stand at the moment,

regarding the tensions between Lebanon and Israel.

ANDERSON: You're right to point out that this is a multi-layered conflict.

And of course, Israel warning of the prospect of all-out war after Hezbollah published purported drone footage of civilian and military

installations in Israel. And Hezbollah, of course, have said -- has said that their efforts against Israel will continue as long as the Israel-Hamas

war continues, as long as the conflict in Gaza continues.

Ben, thank you.

And that does continue. The Rafah crossing between Israel and Egypt has been a vital point for aid into Gaza. Of course, now new video and

satellite images reviewed by CNN show the passenger terminal on the Gaza side has been burned and severely damaged.

The Israeli military conducted significant bulldozing and clearing at the terminal earlier this month, causing more destruction to a main building

already damaged by fire in late May.

Well, Russian president Vladimir Putin has been in Vietnam today to strengthen ties with the Southeast Asian country. It comes after a

whirlwind visit to North Korea. Mr. Putin's Asian tour, as you might describe it, is aimed in part at showing the West that Russia does have

friends all over the world.

Despite international sanctions on Moscow by the West over its war on Ukraine, the U.S., a key partner of Vietnam, has criticized Hanoi's

decision to host the Russian president. CNN's Mike Valerio back with us. This hour.

Putin now making, now in Vietnam, making a tour of allied or seemingly allied countries or certainly countries who have remained at least neutral

when it comes to the war on Ukraine.

And that is, let's be quite frank, many countries in the global south; Vietnam, one of them. But it's an important stop. And one that has a lot of

messaging in it, not least this show of force, Mike, and power.

Well certainly, that is how Vladimir Putin would like this to be seen. Of course.

MIKE VALERIO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure, he wants to see this as soft power and diplomatic power rather than a more kinetic display that we

saw in Pyongyang yesterday.

I mean, the contrast is pretty stark, so we have this, you know, the bromance in full force. Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un in one of the

several Russian limousines that have been exchanged between Moscow and Pyongyang since this bromance really shifted into high gear since


But now we go to Vietnam, where Vladimir Putin, you know, we analogized it in the last hour we were with you as part of a neighborhood tour. When you

have a neighborhood pariah, where you live, one household might go from home to home to check in and say, you know, it's been quite strange, a

little awkward.

And are we good?

So going to North Korea's home and Pyongyang certainly makes sense. Vietnam also invariably makes sense because about 70 percent of Vietnam's defense

hardware comes from Russia. A huge oil field in Vietnam, a joint project between Vietnam and Russia.

There are all of these Communist Party leaders today who had been waxing poetic about their time in Moscow, learning from the Communist greats, in

their phraseology, during their time studying in university in Moscow.

But the rhetoric very different from what we saw here during the signing of this strategic agreement yesterday afternoon. Vladimir Putin kind of

keeping it down in Vietnam's house, where Vietnam really wants to have strong ties with the United States.


The world's number one economy, a lot of these tech companies, since we are also leaving our conversation off in the less -- in the last hour; wanting

to move away from China, like Apple, and build their supply chain nerve centers in Vietnam, where it's cheaper.

And they have a little more wiggle room in terms of perhaps the rule of law, they're able to operate a little more effectively than they can in

China these days.

So Vladimir Putin keeping his remarks today in front of the Vietnamese parliament to trade, science, people to people exchanges, as opposed to

yesterday in the North Korean capital, when he was going all out, saying, OK, American imperialism has to stop.

The time of American dominance is up, very -- it's almost as if President Lam in Vietnam is saying, OK, let's, let's keep it down. America is in our

neighborhood as well.

So again, what we are watching is to see how Vladimir Putin, after tomorrow, Becky, leaves Vietnam. I think it's so important for him to show

his domestic audience, yes. I can travel around. We are still friends with more countries than North Korea. He went to the UAE last year, Saudi

Arabia, as well.

Two big partners of the United States trying to trump it. That same message as well.

But what is Putin going to leave with?

Is he going to leave with economic deals or is he going to leave with President Lam saying, OK, that was good. We'll call you. Don't worry about

it. And that's pretty much it.

If it turns out to be the latter, that situation, that certainly is a hollow visit for Vladimir Putin. So of course, a lot of symbolism, a lot of

historical ties with the Soviet Union, supporting North Vietnam, as it was known then during its battles with the French.

One of the first countries to recognize North Vietnam in 1950.

But we're really going to see, what are the deliverables by the end of the day tomorrow?

I think that will say a lot about how successful this neighborhood charm offensive is, Becky.

It's good to have you, Mike.

Thank you.

Mike is in Seoul in South Korea, keeping us honest on what is going on around the region.

We are also keeping a keen eye on rising tensions between China and the Philippines. Manila is accusing China's Coast Guard of launching what they

describe as a brutal assault during a confrontation with Filipino sailors in the South China Sea this week.

CNN's Ivan Watson looks at how the U.S. could find itself in the middle of what is an increasingly tense dispute.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A high seas confrontation that could ignite a war. in the middle is a boat

belonging to U.S. ally the Philippines, sandwiched by the China Coast Guard in the heavily contested South China Sea on Monday.

Footage released by the armed forces of the Philippines shows its uniformed sailors attempting to fight back some Chinese Coast Guard personnel armed

with axes and knives.

But Beijing says, the Philippines started it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Law enforcement measures taken by the China Coast Guard at the site were professional and restrained.

WATSON (voice-over): China says it seized guns and ammunition from the Philippine ship, which was en route to the Second Thomas Shoal. It is in

Manila's exclusive economic zone.

But Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea for itself. In March, I was on board a Philippine Coast Guard ship on one of these routine trips.

Chinese Coast Guard ships swarmed the Philippine ship.

WATSON: It is just after sunrise. And, as you may see, there is a large Chinese Coast Guard ship directly in front of this Philippines Coast Guard


WATSON (voice-over): A Chinese Coast Guard ship blasted another Philippine boat with water cannons. Monday's clash marks a clear escalation with

multiple Philippine servicemen injured.

Just last month, the Philippine president drew this red line.

FERDINAND MARCOS JR., PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: If a Filipino citizen is killed by a willful act that is, I think, very, very close to what we

define as an act of war and, therefore, we will respond accordingly.

WATSON (voice-over): If that happens, the United States could be called to help the Philippines. And some experts argue Manila already has grounds to

invoke its mutual defense treaty with the U.S., which has increased its military presence in the Philippines, angering China.

RAY POWELL, GORDIAN KNOT CENTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY INNOVATION: The Philippines would be perfectly within its rights under the treaty to go to

the United States and say, this meets the terms of Article III.


We need your help. And enter into those formal high level consultations about what is to be done.

WATSON (voice-over): In a call with his Filipino counterpart this week, U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken said the U.S. commitment to

defending the Philippines is ironclad. This simmering maritime dispute now threatens to boil over with all the potential for a much greater conflict -

- Ivan Watson, CNN.


ANDERSON: Well, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD from Abu Dhabi, I'm Becky Anderson at a quarter past 6 here. Still ahead, as the world searches

for clean energy sources, some scientists are looking far below the Earth's surface. Our report from Iceland is coming up.




ANDERSON: Well, Iceland's volcanoes can be deadly and destructive and strangely beautiful.

But can they also be green?

Well, Icelandic scientists are working to harness the intense energy stored beneath the Earth's surface, energy which is completely clean. CNN's Fred

Pleitgen explains.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The awesome power of nature on full display in southwest Iceland. The Reykjanes

Peninsula, close to the capital, suffering a string of violent volcanic eruptions in the past years. Iceland's massive activity both a burden and a

blessing for those who live here.

The town Grindavik, close to the eruption site, evacuated -- a fissure running right through the streets and the houses.

Klara Halldorsdottir, one of the more than 3,000 residents evacuated last November, says she's had enough and will never move back.

KLARA HALLDORSDOTTIR, FORMER GRINDAVIK RESIDENT: I get goose bumps when I talk about it because it was really, really strange. Just long lines of

cars exiting town. It was like in a terrible movie or something.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): When things appear to get more calm, a few months later, another violent eruption occurs as the Reykjanes Peninsula seems to

have entered into a period of high volcanic activity.

That could last months, years, or even centuries, experts say, keeping the specialists at Iceland's Meteorological Office tasked with predicting

eruptions busy around the clock.

SARA BARSOTTI, ICELANDIC METEORLOGICAL OFFICE: The GPS station -- they're telling us if the ground is changing, it is forming, we are maintaining the

gel (PH) chemical monitoring that is telling us which are the kind of gases that are leaving the volcanoes.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): While volcanoes often have an impact on life here in Iceland, the Icelanders have found ways to harness the power of our violent


Geothermal power plants, feeding off he heat,


Providing emission-free energy in abundance and leading companies from around the world to move energy-intensive manufacturing, like aluminum

production, to Iceland.

Our team traveled all the way to the northeast of Iceland to the Krafla Geothermal Plant. When drilling a new bore hole here at Krafla, they

accidentally hit a shallow magma chamber and now are working on harnessing the Earth's energy almost directly from the extremely hot magma.

The project's director says this technology could provide clean energy for hundreds of millions of people.

HJALTI PALL INGOLFSSON, KRAFLA MAGMA TESTBED: We have a very big part of humanity living close to a volcano. And if we are able to harness the

volcano directly, reducing the risk by lowering the pressure and lowering the tension in the volcano, then, of course, we have a win-win situation.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Using the Earth's natural energy with burning fossil fuels. The scientists acknowledge there is still a long way to go and a lot

to be learned, but they also believe the potential energy supply could be virtually limitless and totally clean -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


ANDERSON: Want to get you to Kenya now, where protests erupted over a proposed controversial tax bill. Violent clashes between the police and

demonstrators caused a chaotic scene in Nairobi.

There were reports of protesters getting tear gassed by police and the journalists left blooded after being hit with a canister. All of this

taking place as lawmakers vote on a finance bill that would raise taxes. CNN's Larry Madowo has been in the thick of it in Nairobi, he joins with

the very latest.

This new, this new finance bill, highly controversial, proposing tax hikes in what is a cost of living crisis.

What's the -- well, I can see, I mean, the atmosphere still looks extremely tense where you are. Just describe what you are seeing and hearing.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, I apologize. As you can see, police are using tear gas here, trying to push back the protesters. So not

to get the national assembly.

If you can see, my eyes are tearing up because of how much tear gas police are using here. It's quite the dramatic scene and it's been almost 12

hours. This is, this police presence here, I have covered a lot of protests in Nairobi.

I have never seen it quite like this. I've been covering protests since 2007. And this is one of the most extraordinary police presence that I've

seen. You see using tear gas canisters, pushing them to the protesters, who, in most instances, are sending them right back to the police.

The police throw a tear gas canister; they push it right back to them. But that's just -- those that you see directly, perhaps here, here's, here's

one that's about to just -- that is the sound of Nairobi today, not just on this street but lots of many other streets where police are trying to push

back largely peaceful protesters.

They keep saying again and again that we are peaceful, do not disperse us in this way. But police keep doing this; if they're not using tear gas,

they're using water cannons to push back these protesters, who are just trying to tell the government that life has become too expensive for them.

These protests are about overtaxation. It began with a finance bill so unpopular that eventually, after public outcry, some proposals were dropped

but still so many of them that are on the table.

And these protests, as many of them young people, Gen Zs, I've met people as young as 18 on the streets of Nairobi today, who said that, here,

because their parents could not, because their grandparents could not but they're here to make sure that the government of President Ruto listens to


That's what is here from every contingent. There's horseback cops on horseback back there. I think there's probably about 200 policemen in just

this street alone, Becky. So quite a dramatic scene here in Nairobi.

Not a good look for President Ruto, who has said again and again that he understands the plight of the common man.

ANDERSON: I just want you to give us a sense of exactly where you are.

I mean, we've just been watching tear gas being fired next to you and beyond the shot that we could see. So get the camera man, if you can, just

to sort of open the shot for us and give us a sense of exactly where you are.


What are these buildings around you?

MADOWO: OK, so we are about a few hundred meters away from the Kenya's national assembly. Perhaps it could show back there, this is a rough

leading to Kenya's parliament and these police are here to make sure that protesters do not get to parliament, which is currently voting on the

finance bill.

These -- all this activity is to make sure that these protesters don't get as far as the national assembly. So this is headed Nairobi city hall. This

is where a lot of government buildings are. And they are constantly pushing back the protesters back there, these young people that are not getting

pushed back.

They keep giving back the same energy that the police had given them. Becky.

ANDERSON: The Kenyan protests, as I understand it, have largely been organized on TikTok. And as you rightly point out, they comprise of (sic)

Gen Z, a lot of youngsters and social media, obviously enormously accessible there.

Is there a likelihood we're going to see a crackdown on social media?

Or do you feel at this point things are calming down somewhat?

MADOWO: Things do not appear to be calming down and, yes, a lot of this has been organized on social media, TikTok. This revolution will be TikTok

and these young people are fearless.

I have seen older people protest in the streets over the last two decades covering politics here. But this generation is fearless. They keep getting

pushed back and they are not getting pushed away. So President Ruto said he is a democrat, that he would never shut down social media like some other

African countries have done.

But also this level of organization is extraordinary. This level of planning that these young people have, the use of technological tools has

been exceptional. That has been the scene all afternoon. We're coming up to 6:00 pm here but it's still -- keep trying to do that. And the young people

are not going away. Becky.

ANDERSON: Is this -- the understanding is this bill is likely to pass, correct?

MADOWO: It will very likely pass. President Ruto's party has the majority in the national assembly and in the senate. So despite opposition, it looks

likely that, if everybody votes according to what the government wants, because these proposals in the finance bill get from the executive.

If they vote according to party lines, this will still pass, despite huge opposition to this across the nation, including places that traditionally

voted for President -- for President Ruto's party.

ANDERSON: Good to have you. Stay safe. Thank you.

Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now.

And Louisiana has become the first state in the United States to require every public school classroom to display the 10 Commandments. The state's

governor calling the new law one of his favorites but it's already catching heat from civil liberties groups who vow to challenge it in court, calling

it a violation of the separation of church and state.

Officials say the U.S. has reanchored its temporary pier to Gaza's coast. It was dismantled earlier this month for the second time in anticipation of

rough seas and poor weather conditions. The U.S. began building the pier in April and started using it to deliver aid in May.

In Bangladesh, at least 10 people have died in mudslides -- amid mudslides and heavy rain. Rohingya refugee camps near Cox's Bazar, according to

government officials, tens of thousands of refugees fled there after a military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017.

Well, still to come, we are in Washington as the Supreme Court rules on a number of key cases although we are still waiting for decisions on perhaps

the most explosive of those, Trump immunity, and abortion rights. More on that coming up.





ANDERSON: Welcome back.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, time here in the UAE is 31 minutes past 6; 31 minutes past 10 on the East Coast of the

United States.

This hour, the U.S. Supreme Court convened and announced a number of opinions. None of them was one of several blockbuster cases yet to be

decided this term. The major cases outstanding include former president Donald Trump's claims of absolute immunity; emergency room abortions --

that's from a case in Idaho.

And time running out for those decisions and more. CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider joins me from Washington with more on what

we have had today.

Jessica, and what is to come?


Becky, we did have four opinions released today. That means there's about 17 opinions left. We do have opinions that will be announced tomorrow. And

we're looking at the likelihood that we'll, see two or likely three days of opinions next week.

As you mentioned, the blockbuster cases still remain. We did get four cases today, one of them upholding a Trump era wealth tax that was disputed by a

couple who had actually invested in a foreign company. They said they were taxed about $15,000 on unrealized gains because they basically reinvested

those profits.

But the tax was upheld. Interestingly, there was concern from Democrats that, if the tax had been slapped away, if the court had struck it down, it

could have meant doom for any wealth tax that Democrats have on the table.

So this case giving life to potential wealth tax plans by Democrats. However, it's interesting; this case was authored by Justice Brett

Kavanaugh. It was a 7-2 opinion. And on the bench inside the Supreme Court today, Justice Kavanaugh warned, he said this opinion has nothing to do

with a possible future wealth tax.

So maybe dashing some Democrats' hope that, by the Supreme Court upholding this tax enacted by the Trump administration and Congress under Trump, that

doesn't necessarily protect any future wealth tax that Democrats might enact.

But that was the big one today. Becky. We had three other ones that were relatively minor. But of course, we are still waiting on the most

blockbuster cases of the term. Of course, the first and foremost big one that we're waiting for is whether or not former presidents, specifically

Donald Trump, have immunity from criminal prosecution.

So that will likely come in the next day or the next week. We're also waiting on opinions dealing with gun rights, whether federal law is OK to

restrict people who are under domestic violence restraining orders from owning guns.

And then there's also another abortion case dealing with an Idaho law that basically is an all-out ban on abortion. The Supreme Court is weighing

whether a federal law actually would upend that Idaho state law that pretty much bans abortions.


So Becky, we're waiting for still a lot. We often get to this point in the term where the justices are really keeping us on hold when it comes to the

big cases. Because no doubt those are the cases that behind the scenes might be giving the justices the most headache, the most consternation.

So it's usually the last few days that we get those big ones because they do have big implications. Becky.


Well, stand by and I know you will be across these for us. Thank you very much, indeed.

Jessica Schneider's in the house for you folks, more from Jess as we hear on these big cases.

Well still to come today, marks World Refugee Day and the number for forcibly displaced people is growing drastically. Later this hour, I want

to speak to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, from South Sudan, where he is been observing the scale of the crisis and what

can be done to address it.




ANDERSON: I want to turn to what is a growing international crisis. Today marks World Refugee Day and the U.N.'s refugee agency says, the number of

people displaced worldwide was over 117 million people at the end of 2023. It has lightly exceeded 120 million already this year of 2024.

And there is no worst place than Sudan. Over 10 million Sudanese people have been forcibly displaced. Most of them are still trapped in the war-

torn country. Sudan now has the largest internally displaced population ever reported.

I just want that to sink in. War, of course, broke out in April of 2023, between the Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support

Forces. There is no end in sight for this. The most recent flashpoint is in Al-Fasher in the Darfur region. It is the last holdout and the area not

controlled by the RSF.

The U.N. says 1.5 million people are sheltering there. Right now, U.N. human rights chief Filippo Grandi is visiting Sudan and South Sudan, where

he met with families at a refugee camp. He says, and I quote, "The humanitarian effort is huge.


"But a massive increase in arrivals would be difficult to manage, a real possibility, which only ending the war can prevent."

Filippo Grandi joins us now from Juba in South Sudan.

And it is good to have you. World Refugee Day is set up to celebrate refugees around the work (sic), men, women and children who are in these

ofttimes desperate situations. But to ensure that the world is focused on their plight, this is your second trip since this conflict in Sudan began.

How much worse is the situation?

What have you been told?

What have you seen?

What have you witnessed?

What are your key takeaways at this point?

FILIPPO GRANDI, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: I was in Sudan yesterday in the White Nile State. I'm back in South Sudan now. It's the

only way to get to that part of Sudan, is to go through South Sudan.

The whole situation incredibly confused and messy and dangerous. The area I visited in Sudan has more than doubled its population because of the

enormous amount of people fleeing to that area, which is still relatively stable, from other parts of Sudan, from Darfur.

You mentioned Darfur but also Kordofan (ph), the Jazeera state, the city of Khartoum, the capital. All these are the most embattled areas of the

country. These people are moving south. And South Sudan could be the next stop if the insecurity spreads inside Sudan.

Already 700,000 people have crossed the border into this country, South Sudan, which itself is painfully coming out of years of its own conflicts.

And the extraordinary links between all these different crises results in suffering for millions and millions of people.

That's why I came here. That's why I wanted to be in this part of the world, to celebrate World Refugee Day, to show the complexity also of this

rather forgotten crisis.

ANDERSON: Let's be frank, it is a forgotten crisis. Our focus -- and rightly -- for months now has been on the conflict in Gaza, the

humanitarian catastrophe there, the displacement of so many people. We're talking multiples, 10 times, 100 times what we are seeing in Gaza happening

in Sudan at present.

There has been a renewed international effort and attention in the past month. The U.N. Security Council demanding a halt to the siege of El-Fasher

in the Darfur region, the last city in the region that hasn't been taken by the RSF.

I just want our viewers and you to hear from the U.S. ambassador.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: The people of El-Fasher trapped. There surrounded by heavily armed RSF. Food, water, medicine and

other essentials are drying up. Famine is setting in.

And the threat of further violence, including a large scare mess -- large- scale massacre looms large.


ANDERSON: That's what the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Does what she -- you just heard from her there -- resonate with what you are seeing and hearing on the ground?

I mean, I'm afraid to say that we are throwing around the world -- the word famine these days, quite loosely.

I mean how seriously should we be taking this?

GRANDI: I think very seriously. What Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said is absolutely correct. However, if I may add, we need to see this crisis in

all its complexity. It is not just famine, although famine is bad enough. And God forbid that it grows and extends in the country.

But it is also the entire children population of Sudan hasn't gone to school for over a year. It is also abysmal human rights violations that we

hear from refugees that have managed to escape the areas of conflict. It is also the possibility of diseases spreading in the country because access is

so limited, certainly, by the normal services in the country.


But also by humanitarian organization. So it's a crisis with multiple layers and affecting more and more people. We need to look at it in this

complexity to understand fully the impact that it's having.

ANDERSON: Both sides in this conflict, who are directly involved, of course, the NSF and the RSF have been accused of war crimes and crimes

against humanity. And there are allegations of others involved indirectly. There are no talks on the table right now.

What needs to happen in terms of intervention at this point?

I mean, let's just talk about what needs to happen immediately as far as humanitarian assistance is concerned.

And then as far as these talks are concerned, we were supposed to have a second round of talks in Jeddah recently. They haven't materialized.

What does the international community need to do at this point?

GRANDI: It would be nice to hear the Security Council say that the parties must go to the negotiating table. It would be very nice and very important.

And although, yes, we've seen some progress in that type of statement, we haven't seen this firm declaration, that this has to happen. And you see

what's happening at the same time on the ground is that, yes. You have two parties. Often this is presented as a conflict with -- between two

generals, right?

The reality on the ground for my colleagues, who are trying desperately to reach people in need, is that you have to negotiate kilometer after

kilometer with local forces because the two big groups are subcontracting, so to speak, local militias, local armed forces to fight on their behalf.

And this creates an incredibly complicated network of alliances, of loyalties, of betrayals, which is very difficult to navigate for

humanitarians. But it is impossible for the civilians that are the victims of the situation.

So the negotiations must resume. We have no strong sense that this is happening anywhere.

ANDERSON: You are describing a near impossible situation in Sudan, of course. And you are imploring the Security Council to demand that those

parties get around the table and try and effort some sort of ceasefire and some sort of political solution to this.

Meantime, I want to just broaden out, while I've got you, from the conflict in Sudan and take a look at global displacement. That number has been

growing considerably in the past 10 years.

What's driving that?

And Filippo, you and I've been talking for that entire time and we watch this trend. We've also talked about solutions at times.

So what's driving these numbers higher?

And what are the solutions to your mind?

GRANDI: Somehow the Sudan situation mirrors the state of the world, does it not, Becky?

You know, this very well.

This -- I've been naming this, calling this the inability of the world to make peace. And this is happening in so many other places, in eastern

Congo, in Myanmar and, to an extent, in Afghanistan. Lengthy conflicts like Syria that may cause less displacement and less direct victims right now

are still unresolved, preventing people from going back.

And the list is very long. So you have a multiplicity of different crises. New ones -- look at the last couple of years -- Ukraine, Gaza, Sudan, that

add themselves to the existing list and none of them is resolved.

You know, I have to say, there are few bright spots. Kenya, for example, a country that has hosted many refugees for decades, has decided to forge

ahead with an inclusion program to try and resolve this refugee situation.

Colombia, that hosts 2.5 million Venezuelans, has an integration program basically. So there are countries that are taking the courageous decision.

But the best solution for refugees is to go back to their homes when they can. For that, they need peace, peace that continue to eludes them and all

of us.

ANDERSON: Filippo, it's good to have you on.


I'm glad that we've been talking while you've been on the ground in South Sudan and experiencing, witnessing, describing for us the horrors that are

the story there and talking about how we need to see some effort. And we need to get these talks back on track and we need to get the parties around

the table.

It's good to have you, sir. Thank you very much. Indeed, keep up the good work.

Well, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. There is a lot more ahead. Please do stay with us.




ANDERSON: Bank of England has left U.K. interest rates at a 16-year high, holding them at 5.25 percent today, Thursday. Here's how the FTSE is doing

after that. Let's have a look at that number; 0.75 percent higher.

These investors know that there is a rate cut in the offing because inflation is pretty much where the bank needs it to be to start rate

cutting. And anyone in Britain who is desperate for rates to come down could have, though, a little bit longer to wait. So stand by for that.

It'll come at some point.

Taylor Swift's Eras tour is now in the U.K. and it looks set to continue a pattern of supercharging spending wherever it rolls into town. Some

economists say that could be enough to postpone a possible U.K. interest rate cut in September.

While speaking of Taylor Swift, the environmental activist group Just Stop Oil sprayed orange paint and private jets in an airfield where Swift's jet

was suspected to have landed for her U.K. tour.

The group posted videos on its social media channel, showing two activists breaking into the airfield, cutting into the fence and spraying orange

paint. And this comes just a day after two protesters from the same group covered parts of Stonehenge in orange paint.

The activists are using these events as a call for an emergency treaty to end fossil fuels by 2030.

There are those who are saying, what did Stonehenge ever do to you?

A quick update on what's happening at the Euro 2024 championship. This hour, Slovenia -- I need to -- my producer to give me the score in my ear -

- Slovenia and Serbia 1-1. A dramatic late goal in the last moments of that match.

Let's take that banner down. Let's put up the real one. Very late goal in that match. Next up, England versus Denmark and Spain versus Italy.

The first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal will be competing in Paris this summer, despite defecting and facing difficulties in a new home. She

isn't giving up on her Olympic dreams.

CNN's Don Riddell reports.


DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kimia Alizadeh made history by becoming the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal. And now she's

on her way to Paris, hoping for gold.

KIMIA ALIZADEH, TAEKWONDO OLYMPIAN: I'm targeting the gold medal in Paris, which is our main goal. And I wake up every day for the gold medal in

Paris. And I'm trying my best and I put my 100 percent to achieve this goal.


RIDDELL (voice-over): The 25-year old taekwondo athlete won a bronze medal representing Iran in Rio's Olympic Games back in 2016. Four years later,

she defected from her home country due to oppressive conditions.

Saying in a statement, quote, "I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran, who they have been playing with for years."

Later that year, she competed in the Tokyo Olympics as part of the refugee team. Alizadeh will now be representing her new home of Bulgaria in Paris.

ALIZADEH: Of course, it's harming you, leave your country and you face a lot of new things, such as new language, new culture and new people. And

this is hard, it's a new start. I have to start it from beginning. I've felt like home.

And I really liked their warm welcome and I was really comfortable. And I felt here is my second home. And I want to represent Bulgaria in my

competition from now on.

RIDDELL (voice-over): She's become a role model to many Iranian women since her Olympic debut and is now set to inspire people in her adopted

country as she becomes Bulgaria's first taekwondo Olympic athlete.

Alizadeh did have other offers from other countries, including Belgium and the Netherlands, but ultimately she said she went with her heart and chose

Bulgaria. When asked if competing against Iranian athletes would impact her, she seems to have her head in the game.

ALIZADEH: This is the fight, this is the game and every athlete is doing their best to represent their country.

RIDDELL (voice-over): Don Riddell, CNN.


ANDERSON: And that's it for CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" is up next.