Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

NGO: Israel Approves Largest West Bank Land Seizure Since Oslo Accords; Voting Underway in UK General Election, with Polls set to Close at 10PM UK Time; Record High Grocery Prices Strike Holiday Weekend Barbecues; Brutally Hot July 4th Holiday in Parts of California; Google Sees Massive Increase in Emissions. Aired 9-9:45a ET

Aired July 04, 2024 - 09:00   ET




MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: This is the seen here in London as voters go to the polling booth in a vitally important British general

election. It is 2 pm here in the United Kingdom, I'm Max Foster. This is "Connect the World", also happening over the next two hours.

Amid another surge of fighting on the Israeli-Lebanon border reports that Israel has approved the largest land seizure in the West Bank in decades.

Joe Biden tells an interviewer he screwed up during the CNN debate. But he's vowing to stay in the presidential race. And Hurricane Beryl continues

to barrel through the Caribbean heading for Mexico, will bring you a live report.

Israeli authorities have approved the largest land seizure in the West Bank since the Oslo Accords were signed back in 1993. A declaration by the

Israeli military's Civil Administration Department said an area of more than 3000 acres in the West Bank was now state owned land, according to

Israeli NGO peace now.

Rights groups criticized the move, saying it would make it even harder to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It comes as Israel's

conflict with Hezbollah on its northern border heats up. Israel said it killed a senior Hezbollah commander in Southern Lebanon on Wednesday.

The IDF says Hezbollah launched around 200 rockets and 20 drones towards Israel. The IDF responded by attacking targets in Southern Lebanon. CNN's

Paula Hancocks is following all the latest developments from Abu Dhabi, Paula, the situation then between Lebanon and Israel, getting even hotter.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Max. Yeah, it's certainly a sporadic escalation. If you could say that, because this is really what

we've been seeing over recent months that tensions rise for a few days. And then they simmer down to this low intensity fighting that we have really

seen on that border since the Hamas attacks of October 7.

Now this started on Wednesday, this latest sporadic escalation when a senior commander was killed in Southern Lebanon by Israel. Now that was

responded to by Lebanon by around 200 missile and rocket launchers. We understand at this point that we haven't heard from Israel, how many were

intercepted, or how many hit their mark.

But we do know that there were a number of fires that had been started in Northern Israel by this barrage. And we also know that the Israeli military

says that they have targeted a number of what they call Hezbollah, sites, that infrastructure in Southern Lebanon as well. So we have been seeing

this increase in tensions every so often, doesn't necessarily mean it is the escalation that everybody fears at this point.

And certainly we've seen, there have been visitors to the region, the U.S. envoy, for example, that Amos Hochstein just in the past week or so in the

region to try and lower tensions and try and come up with some kind of deal between the two sides to make sure that this isn't a second front that is

opening up. But certainly, there are concerns every time one of these escalations takes place, Max.

FOSTER: Tell us about this land grab. I mean, that's how we can describe it right in the West Bank.

HANCOCKS: Yeah, so this is information that's coming to us by peace now. This is an Israeli settlement tracking group effectively, which has been in

being since the Oslo Accords since 1993. They've been monitoring settlements growing and they say that this recent decision by the Israeli

government is effectively the biggest seizure of occupied land in the West Bank since 1993.

So it is a significant movement. And they also say that it does make it very difficult for us to be able to see how a Palestinian States --

occupied West Bank would be able to come into being, no peace now is also saying that this is coupled with a number of other announcements that

regarding settlements in recent days.

Just on Monday, there was an approval of about thousands of new housing units to be allowed to be built within an existing settlement again, making

it more difficult to see how a Palestinian state would end up being created. Now it's worth pointing out these settlements are considered

illegal under international law.


The United Nations Security Council has passed and number of resolutions against them saying that they do break international law and must cease.

But we have been seeing, certainly in recent months, these increases of announcements it is a particularly right wing coalition in Israel, at this

point are very pro settlement elements in the coalition. As well, the finance minister, for example, Bezalel Smotrich, his very pro settlement.

He issued a put a tweet on X just recently saying, quote, building the good country and thwarting the establishment of a Palestinian state. MTA is

meeting this morning to approve over 5000 housing units. Referring there to one of the approvals that came just recently, but very openly now, saying

that they do not support a Palestinian state something which the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been very clear about for some time.

But obviously, Palestinians, many activist groups and those around the world that do support the forming of a Palestinian state would be concerned

by this latest news, the biggest land seizure of occupied land, effectively signing it into Israeli land since 1993, so a significant development.

FOSTER: For more on the situation than the least do check out soon as Middle East. Meanwhile in the Middle East newsletter, thank you to Paula

for that. The latest edition of that newsletter looks at ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel who are defying orders to enlist in the military just head

to or use the CNN app on your smartphone.

U.S. President Joe Biden telling concern Democratic governors, he's in it to win it. President Biden met with some two dozen governors at the White

House on Wednesday night trying to calm growing calls for him, to exit the presidential race after his halting debate performance. That was in

Atlanta, of course on CNN last week.

After the meeting, several governors publicly reaffirmed their support for the President. But privately, there's deep worry amongst Democrats that Mr.

Biden will not only lose to Donald Trump in November, but drag down congressional Democrats in the process, too. Now, some Democrats are

already gaming out potential ways to replace President Biden as the party's nominee. CNN's Brian Todd has that story.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If President Biden leaves the race analysts say it would almost certainly have to be his decision to bow

out voluntarily.

ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES: It's unlikely that if Joe Biden does not step down voluntarily, that there would

be a different nominee at the top of the ticket.

TODD (voice-over): If he doesn't voluntarily leave, someone in the Democratic Party could try to replace him by introducing an open nomination

process at the Democratic National Convention in August. But that scenario is unlikely. Still, even if the president decides on his own to quit the

race, the process for replacing him is uncertain, and somewhat messy.

LARRY SABATO, CENTER FOR POLITICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: The primaries are over the caucuses are over, you can't redo the primaries or

caucuses, and you can't elect new delegates.

TODD (voice-over): If Biden steps aside before the convention, it could turn the convention itself into a free for all, or at least make it full of

entry, names of replacements would be put forward. And the roughly 3900 democratic delegates from across the country would decide who to vote for

as the nominee.

SABATO: Oh, it's up to the delegates. In the end, it's up to them.

TODD (voice-over): President Biden won almost all of those 3900 delegates in the primaries. But does he have control over who they support if he's

out of the race?

KANNO-YOUNGS: It's not like Joe Biden can say, OK, I'm stepping down. All of you delegates that signed on for me have to now support this other

candidate. That's not how it works. Those delegates would essentially be free to move in the way they want.

TODD (voice-over): Like the days of old backroom deals and lobbying could prevail at the convention, as potential nominees tried to convince the

delegates to get behind them. In the end, how many of the 3900 delegates would a candidate have to win at the convention to get the nomination?

ELAINE KAMARCK, DNC RULES AND BYLAWS COMMITTEE: Ultimately, they would have to convince somewhat somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 plus democratic

delegates to vote for them on a roll call vote.

TODD (voice-over): If no candidate can convince roughly 2000 delegates to vote for them in the first round, then additional so called super

delegates, about 700 of them comprised of party insiders and elected officials are also allowed to join in the voting, it would all mean a late

start for any candidate, including in the money race.

If Vice President Kamala Harris won the nomination, she would presumably be able to use Biden's campaign war chest because her name is on all the

filings, but any other candidate may have to raise their own money.

TODD: What happens if President Biden for some reason leaves the race after the Democratic Convention? Experts say in that unlikely event, the

Democratic National Committee would convene and select the Democratic nominee for president on its own. Brian Todd, CNN Washington.



FOSTER: Arlette Saenz joins us now, Arlette, thank you for joining us, America celebrating Independence Day today, a much needed holiday for the

president. I just want to ask you a bit, though about the sort of reasoning that we've had since his performance. First of all, he said, well, the

White House said it was a cold, and then he talked about jet lag, didn't he?

But he had been on U.S. soil for more than a week before the debate. And that makes him look even weaker. I mean, the whole handling of this has

been pretty poor.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and I think one thing, you know, the White House officials would often point to, when they face

questions about President Biden's age. They would often say, look, he does all of this international travel. He travels around the world meets with

foreign leaders that are a sign of his strength and stamina.

And now it's a little puzzling that they are saying, well, part of the reason that he did not do so well on the debate stage last night was due to

the jet lag, and the travel that he had to endure at the start of June, even though he had nearly a week and a half back in the U.S. and a week

spending time at Camp David with his campaign team preparing for this debate.

But it all comes as so many questions continue to swirl around President Biden's standing in this race. He is trying to reassure allies publicly and

privately that he intends to remain in this race. But he is facing significant headwinds as there are Democrats who are publicly coming out

saying that he should step aside at least two House Democrats have done so.

And we were told that in a meeting with top party leadership in the House last night that some top Democrats said that they do believe it's time for

Biden to step aside, while others expressed worry about what it would mean and the frenzy it might cause if Biden were to leave the race and then

leave a vacuum at the top of the Democratic ticket.

Now yesterday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted that the President is not going anywhere that he will remain in this race till

the end. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is President Biden considering stepping down?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Absolutely not. The President is moving forward. He's moving forward as being president. He's

moving forward with his campaign, as his campaign has been very, very clear about that. Anything else that we're hearing or that's being reported is

absolutely false.


SAENZ: Now the President is spending today here at the White House. I'm told that in the coming hours he is actually going to speak with Israeli

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to talk about some developments relating to a possible hostage and ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas.

And then later in the day, the family will be hosting military families here at the White House for 4th of July celebrations. The President will be

surrounded by his family throughout the day. I'm told that the family still remains all in, on the president remaining in this 2024 race.

Biden will also be joined by Vice President Kamala Harris at tonight's festivities at a time when her name has risen and a lot of conversations

about a possible successor if Biden were to step down from the Democratic ticket, but certainly a lot of attention will be paid to the president's

remarks tonight.

Of course, the 4th of July is a day to celebrate the nation's independence. Biden's has so often framed this campaign as a battle for the soul of the

nation and as a fight to protect and preserve democracy. At this time, of course, President Biden is fighting for his own political survival in this

2024 race.

FOSTER: It's a fascinating time for you Arlette, thank you so much joining us from the White House. You can follow all the latest on the U.S.

presidential race on our website. Of course, we have in depth news and analysis as President Biden faces down the ground, pressure for him to exit

the race that's on your screen or through the CNN app on your smartphone.

Across the Atlantic, it is Election Day here in the U.K., the polls are open. Voters are casting their ballots to decide the next leader. They have

until the polls close at 10 pm local time, which is 5 pm Eastern Time. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife voted earlier in Rishi Sunak's

Yorkshire constituency that's in the north of England.

Labor Leader Kier Starmer and his wife cast their ballots here in London. Also voting in London, the leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey joined

there by his wife. Nada Bashir is in London polling station with one of the tougher jobs in journalism because under the reporting restrictions, you're

not allowed to say anything about them the weather, are you?

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The restrictions are pretty tight, Max, and we have been seeing votes coming in over the last few hours after polls

open of course at 7 am. There are tens of thousands of polling stations like this one behind me, up and down the country and voters will have until

10 pm tonight to cast their ballot.

Now of course there are 650 seats in the House of Commons up for grabs voters will be casting their ballot for their local MP their member of

parliament and what party leaders are looking to secure is a majority. So over 326 Members of Parliament securing the vote today.


Now of course when the ballot closes at 10 pm that is where it all really kicks off that's the interesting part. The counting begins we will be

seeing that counting taking place overnight into the early hours of

That is what it all really kicked off. That's the interesting part the counting begins we will be seeing that counting taking place overnight into

the early hours of Friday morning. Many people of course stay up through the night watching as those results come in constituency by constituency.

And of course, we will expect to see exit polls overnight as well. But it won't be until Friday morning that we finally hear the winner declared for

this year's elections. This is of course, the first time that voters have gone to the polls since at 2019. So this is a crucial moment for people up

and down the country to voice their opinion.

We will be waiting to see those results tomorrow morning. There is certainly a lot at stake both on the local, national and international

level. We can't get into the details of policy while those reporting restrictions are in place. But there will be a lot to unpack tonight in on

election special.

So suddenly lots to get into then but again, people will be voting until 10 pm tonight there's still a while to go before the polls close. We'll be

waiting for that moment before the counting begins, Max.

FOSTER: Absolutely! Nada thank you so much. Do watch CNN Special Coverage that Nada just mentioned there, is with Isa and Richard starting just

before 10 pm here in London just before 5 in the afternoon on the U.S. East Coast. And I'll be down see the winner entered Downing Street following


Now power out roads like rivers and several people dead, Hurricane Beryl on a destructive march through the Caribbean, we'll tell you where the

powerful storm is now and where it's heading next.


FOSTER: Hurricane Beryl making its presence felt on the Cayman Islands. Category 3 storm is just off the Caymans. But you can see it's already

bringing pretty powerful winds, very heavy rains. People in Jamaica are getting their first good look at the damage mostly from the winds and the

flooding Beryl brought more than two months' worth of rain to the area in a single day.

It's killed eight people in this rampage through the Caribbean. CNN's Rafael Romo was in the storm as it was bearing down on Jamaica on Wednesday

and he gave us a vivid report.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORESPONDENT: Hurricane Beryl is now here in Jamaica and it's hitting the southern tip of the coastline with all this might. It's

hard to remain standing because the winds are just very, very powerful. This is what over here. We have seen lots of debris has been blown off in

the last few minutes.

And also how the roof was blown off on top of that -- right there. And the big danger is that there's a possibility of the ocean getting into the

street because the storm surge is supposed to last at least 10 feet.


So these are very dangerous conditions here in Kingston. And of course authorities are asking people to remain in shelters. They tell us that

nearly 500 people are in shelters right now. Again, this is only the beginning and you can tell how strong the winds are here in Kingston,

Jamaica and people are wondering here.

Why is this happening so early in the season and after seeing what happened in Barbados, and places like Grenada, they feel like it's possible that the

same devastation seeing them can be seen here as well. Rafael Romo CNN, Kingston, Jamaica.

FOSTER: Our Meteorologist Elisa Raffa is in the CNN Weather Center in Atlanta with more where the hurricane is going, it does seem to have died

down but presumably it can pick up again at some point.

ELISA RAFFA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it has been slowly slightly weakening as it runs into some ingredients like wind upstairs in the atmosphere that

is trying to disorganize it but it is still able to maintain major Category 3 strength. We're still talking about winds at 220 miles per hour, as its

bringing some tropical storm force conditions to the Cayman Islands, some flash flooding from some intense rain already.

They've had gusts upwards of 55 miles per hour in the Cayman Islands this morning gusts right now we're over 40 miles per hour. The Cayman Islands

getting the brunt of this right now, here are some of these ingredients but that was talking about the wind shear upstairs in the atmosphere that is

allowing the intensity to come down some especially as it heads towards Mexico.

But it will maintain that hurricane strength as it heads towards the Yucatan Peninsula. You're looking at it making landfall somewhere maybe

near Cancun, Cozumel or anywhere down towards Belize, and we're looking at storm surge up to four to six feet, that's two meters of storm surge, plus

all of that heavy rain.

And then it will head back into the Gulf of Mexico where these waters here very warm and it could maybe briefly intensify again, rain totals, again,

across the Yucatan Peninsula, we're looking at some four to six inches, maybe even up to 10 inches and some high elevations that could cause some

flash flooding, as we go through the day tomorrow.

And maintains hurricane strength, that's where we have hurricane warnings in effect for parts of Mexico there, then this is what I was talking about

gets back into the Gulf of Mexico and might be able to intensify into a hurricane again before it sets its eyes on somewhere between the Mexico and

Texas border there in the U.S. where it can make that additional landfall.

So something that we'll have to watch very closely when it comes to rain, rip currents and storm surge right there along the coast of Mexico and

Texas. Depends on how intense this area of high pressure is on if it takes that trek a little bit further north into the U.S., Max.

FOSTER: OK, thank you so much for that we'll be watching closely. India's national cricket team back home finally after getting stranded due to

Hurricane Beryl they got a hero's welcome at the airport in New Delhi this morning. The team beat South Africa and won the T 20 World Cup in Barbados

on Saturday but then they're like appear to run out temporarily players were supposed to fly out on Sunday, but when Beryl roll through Barbados,

the airport had to shut down.

It resumed operations on Tuesday, and the team was able to fly home. As you can see, but like never fans there to greet them. The team's next stop is

Mumbai for their victory parade. Let's get up to speed on some other stories that we are following you this hour. A new study links popular

weight loss and type two diabetes drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy to an increased risk of a rare form of blindness.

The study says the condition affects about 10 out of every 100,000 people in the general population. And while it may be more common amongst users of

weight loss drugs, it remains pretty rare. In Ukraine, at least six people have been killed in a Russian attack on the City of Dnipro.

Ukrainian officials say the city was pounded by missiles and drones on Wednesday. Ukraine's President denounced the attack, saying that modern air

defense systems and long range weapons can counter the threat from Russia. Police in India says they've arrested six people in connection with

Tuesday's deadly crowd crush at the religious events.

121 people were killed during the gathering in the Northern State of Uttar Pradesh. The main organizer of the event is wanted by police. Just ahead

wildfires, evacuations and dangerous heat, it's turning out to be a brutal 4th of July holiday in California. We'll give you a live update.



FOSTER: Welcome back. I'm Max Foster in London, where it's nearly 2:30 pm and almost 9:30 am in New York, where we would expect to hear the bell of

the New York Stock Exchange in a few minutes. But today markets of course close for the July 4th celebrations. Americans barbecuing this July 4th

weekend and they're going to be paying a bit more this year as well.

According to the American Farm Bureau, some grocery prices are at record highs in fact. Americans feeding a group of 10 people this Independence Day

will spend an average of $71, that's 5 percent more than last year 30 percent more than 2019 before the COVID 19 pandemic.

The price of ground beef will cost an average of almost $13 this year, up 11 percent from 2023. Pork is also expensive, up 8 percent to an average of

15.50. Despite the record prices, food costs are no longer skyrocketing like they were two years ago, when the cost of ground beef had surged 36

percent over just one year.

For those planning to travel by car this holiday at least those road trips won't break the bank. Gas Buddy projects the national average price for

projects the national average price of regular gas will be 3.49 a gallon that's a penny shy of the price a year ago and down sharply from 4.79, two

years ago when oil prices spiked following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Now as Americans across the U.S. celebrate Independence Day today, troops around the world are also marking July the 4th. CNN's Mike Valerio visiting

Camp Humphreys in South Korea, the largest overseas U.S. military base, he spoke to my colleague, Zain Asher a little earlier.


MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right where we're standing we're about 40 miles away from the heart of Seoul, South Korea about 60 miles

away from the border with North Korea, but you would never know it quintessential Americana all around us. A couple of minutes ago, we had a

splash pad over my left hand shoulder, American barbecue over my right hand shoulder mixed with a Korean twist Korean barbecue K-Pop bands as well.

But you know this is so important for a whole multitude of American families. As you mentioned, this is the largest U.S. overseas military

posts. 40,000 people connected to the U.S. Department of Defense are on this base right now. And for a lot of new families, it's about a baby a day

born at this hospital on base.

They need an experience like this celebrating the fourth of July not having the opportunity to celebrate back home again with their new families.


Flying today are the band members from Hoobastank that released the 2003 hits in single. The reason we had an opportunity to talk to them before

they went on stage, listen to what two of the band members told us.

DOUG ROBB, HOOBASTANK LEAD VOCALIST: There's a lot of just gratitude and everybody seems so thankful and appreciative of both ways, you know. And

it's something that you can't replicate just going to play a show, you know, at a theater somewhere and it's really cool. I look forward to it. It

does. I can feel it for sure.

VALERIO: And Zain, interestingly enough, two names who have not heard all day on base, Biden, or Trump. I think it's certainly not an understatement

to say that people who are based here are motivated by unique steadiness and sense of purpose preserving the security posture here on the Korean

peninsula and the region at large.


FOSTER: Well, coming up, last year was supposed to be his 14th and final Tour de France but Mark Cavendish was determined if not destined to break

the stage wins record, details coming up.


FOSTER: Forecasts are so this will be the hottest July 4th for many locations across California. But the brutal heat isn't limited to the

Independence Day holiday. Heat warnings are blanketing the state through to Monday, impacting tens of millions of people. And in Northern California, a

large wildfire fueled by the dangerous heat is prompting the evacuation of thousands of people.

Officials say there are now more than two dozen active wildfires of varying sizes burning across California. One major area affected is roughly 120

kilometers North of Sacramento. CNN's Stephanie Elam is in Sacramento, and she joins us now live. Take us through, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Max, it is a lot of different things that are all problematic that are coming together at the same time up here

you've got that wildfire that continues to grow. And I can tell you along with the heat, the combination of those two things is making for a very

dangerous situation.

So they are telling people that even though it's the fourth of July in America, and this is the day that people want to use fireworks. This is not

the time, because of the fear of wildfires compounded by the fact that they're expected to see 105 or higher degree temperatures here in the

Sacramento area for the better part of a week.

But when you look at these fires, and I can tell you flying up here from Los Angeles, you can see multiple fires burning in California and it's

several more popped up since I've been here, because this heat just does make things so dangerous. Part of that though, is because of the


And take a listen that I want to know if you have the sound but I'll tell you what he says, the firefighter that I spoke with from Cal fire which

looks at all the fires in the state, told me that part of the reason why we're in the situation is because of the fact that there's too wet winters.

So we have a lot of brush.


That brush though as things get hot dries out. And then it's just easy kindling for any little Ember to light that up, and then the takeoff. And

so this is why this fire season is so concerning here. This is also why they're saying, don't use fireworks and a lot of people want to use them.

They want to use them, even though in lots of California they're banned in some places they can.

But they're saying not this year along with that heat, especially since we even have seen video of a three acre blaze being started because of

fireworks being lit. So this is part of the issue here that we're seeing. Also the fact that we look at how much is burned this year versus last

year, we're already seeing a 16 100 percent increase, versus the number of acres burned at this point last year.

So that's we're already up about above 130,000 acres that are burned. Then you add into it. The fact that we have the winds, I was up inside the fire

line yesterday, Max, and you could see how the winds were just whipping around up there by Lake Oroville. One house standing perfectly fine, the

house next to it completely burned down.

That's because those winds can pick up a couple of embers blow them into a roof that fire percolates, and they can't do anything to stop it from

burning down. All of this is the concern. We've already know that this heat wave has been deadly. We saw that a 10 year old hiker in the Grand Canyon

in Arizona died from heat related illness.

We know somebody else did as well. And I'm just seeing reports of a homeless person dying from the heat in the San Jose area South of San

Francisco. This is not the kind of event to play around with this heat is going to stick around for a very long time. So you put that in with the

fire danger and the winds all in all, they're saying this is a lethal combination of this heat dome.

We're seeing records being set for the number of days above 105 and also just the daily temperature. So this is why they're asking people to stay

inside and a fourth of July, Max, here in the United States, people want to be outside, they want to be grilling. They want to be having fun. They're

saying find ways to have fun inside because this heat is just that deadly.

FOSTER: OK, Steph, thank you for that. It's pretty historic heat wave. Japan debuting its redesigned banknotes this week is the country's first

new currency in two decades. The shiny freshly printed yen bills are designed to fight counterfeiting. And CNN's Hanako Montgomery tells us

their source from pretty unlikely location.


HANAKO MONTGOMERY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Along the winding paths of Nepal's Himalayan peaks thrives a key cash crop for one of the world's

wealthiest economies --. This small yellow plant is essential for making Japan's bills. But shrinking farming populations and climate change means

it can no longer be sourced locally.

Instead, it's found in abundance in Nepal's highland regions, a chance discovery made by Kanpou Incorporated, a company that produces paper for

the Japanese government.

TADASHI MATSUBARA, PRESIDENT OF KANPOU INCORPORATED: The profits from the mitsumata are used to build elementary schools to offer better education to

children in -- in the village.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): Tadashi Matsubara's company first went to Nepal for a charity program to help farmers dig wells. But after discovering

mitsumata in the mid-90s growing wild as far as the eyes could see, they taught farmers how to cultivate the crop turned cash, transforming the

local economy Matsubara's says.

MATSUBARA: I really think that Nepal contributed to Japan's economy as cash is fundamental to Japanese economy that Nepal, Japan will not function.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): And as Japan unveils its first new build in 20 years, the demand for the plant skyrockets.

MONTGOMERY: These are Japan's brand new bills. They're the first to have 3D holograms of historical figures to prevent counterfeiting, and have tactile

marks for the visually impaired.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): The new bills arrive as cash loving Japan pushes for more digital payments. In 2023, nearly 40 percent of transactions in

Japan were non-cash. But it's, still trails far behind neighboring China, where it's almost completely cashless. In Japan where cash reigns King,

this vital crop from the Himalayan hillside is key to filling its wallets.


FOSTER: Hanako Montgomery reporting there from Tokyo. Google's quest to go green has hit a snag, thanks to artificial intelligence. It seems those AI

systems need a lot of computers to run them resulting in Google's greenhouse gas emissions soaring 48 percent would you believe since 2019.

The Tech Titan blames increased energy consumption at its data centers that run all of those power hungry computers. Google now calls its goal of

having net zero emissions by 2030 extremely ambitious. A warning that its emissions may rise before they fall, Google says it'll invest in clean

energy sources. A twice-stolen Renaissance painting once recovered at a bus stop just set a new record at auction.


The 16th century piece is called the rest on the Flight into Egypt it depicts a baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph is one of the earliest works of

the Italian master Titian, measuring roughly 25 inches wide or 62 centimeters. The paintings tiny compared with some of the larger works for

which the artists became known a bit later on in his life.

It was looted by French troops in Vienna in 1809. Or wait for it in 1995, it was stolen again and vanished seven years before a detective found it

inside a plastic bag at a bus stop here in London. Christie said the $22 million plus selling price is the highest amount paid at auction for work

by the artists because they never really come up.

Now, well, there was history made in the Tour de France on Wednesday, a record which for so long has seemed impossible to beat has finally been

broken. 39 year old Mark Cavendish now holds the stage wins record with 35 in cycling's greatest race. Andy Scholes joins me now. What a story this is

because at one point he wasn't even going to race, was he?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Max, you know, last year was supposed to be his 14th and final tour. He was going to retire but you

know, I guess he just had that is he's just one away from being the all- time record holder in terms of Sprint wins. And Cavendish decided to come back give it one more go at 39 years old.

And lo and behold, he was able to get the win at Saint-Vulbas for his 35th victory breaking that tie. So he's number one all the time and I'll tell

you what, Max, he's going to be there for quite a while because the next closest active racer only has 12. So it's going to be a record, he's going

to get to his joy for years to come. But Mark Cavendish he now sits alone to top that list of the best sprinters of all time.

FOSTER: It is the most grueling of all the races isn't it? I know it's the high profile one but it looks impossible at some of those hill points.

SCHOLES: And just incredible the way they're able to weave and go so fast next to each other with it.


SCHOLES: And not and not crash you know it's certainly fascinating and incredible to see what they're able to do.

FOSTER: OK. We'll have more after the break. Thank you so much for joining us and I'll be back at the top of the hour.