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Isa Soares Tonight

Two Warring Factions In Sudan Reportedly Agree To A 7-Day Ceasefire; U.S. And Russia Disagree Over Ukraine's Casualties; Godfather Of Artificial Intelligence Warns About The Dangers Of A.I.; Hollywood Writers On Strike; Spain's Reservoirs Drying Up; FIFA Threatens Women's World Cup Broadcast Blackout. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 02, 2023 - 14:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Lynda Kinkade in for Isa Soares, good to have you with us.

Tonight, a glimmer of hope in Sudan as the two warring factions reportedly agree to peace talks. Then, Russia and the U.S. in a war of words over

casualties on Ukraine's frontlines.

Plus, the father of artificial intelligence warns about the dangers of his creation. So just how risky is this new technology?

Well, there are reports the leaders of the warring factions in Sudan have agreed to a seven-day ceasefire. The Foreign Ministry in neighboring South

Sudan says the two sides have agreed in principle to a truce starting Thursday, and will send representatives to future peace talks.

This comes after the collapse of several ceasefires, and the U.N. Refugee Agency has said it's bracing for more than 800,000 refugees who may flee to

neighboring countries. It's believed more than 100,000 have already left. And complicating the matter, Sudan was already hosting refugees from other


The U.N. says more than 200,000 people from places like South Sudan may be forced to flee the fighting once more. The Saudi port of Jeddah is central

to foreign powers, it's trying to evacuate their citizens from Sudan. CNN's Larry Madowo joins me now from Jeddah with the latest. Good to see you,

Larry, thanks for joining us.

So, these latest ceasefires we've been discussing have been marred with fighting. What can we expect from this latest ceasefire which is set to

take place this Thursday, and talk to us about how potentially promising these peace talks are?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lynda, I think everybody in Sudan is cautiously optimistic that this one will be different. Because they're

agreeing to a seven-day ceasefire in principle, underline that wording because that's some room for these two generals to back out of it if they

need to. There's no indication that they will, but they've broken half a dozen ceasefires so far, so why should this be different?

The other things we don't know about this ceasefire is, when exactly can they begin negotiating? Because the statement from President Salva Kiir of

South Sudan who is leading the regional negotiating team said that he is urging the two leaders to name their negotiating teams and to agree on

where that negotiation will happen, this dialogue.

One of the places that's been mooted is here in Saudi Arabia, because Saudi Arabia is a key diplomatic player in Sudan, and has been running these

ships from Port Sudan to Jeddah. We were on one of these ships over the weekend, made the trip to Port Sudan and back here. The 15th ship just

landed, that's the one you see behind me here.

So if these two happen, this ceasefire holds, it's a real glimmer of hope for a long-lasting solution in Sudan. But it's still -- we can only hope

because there's been 18 days of conflict, so many people are leaving. There's 5,600 people who have just arrived from Port Sudan to Jeddah over

the past two-and-half, three weeks.

So that's how serious this is. But the people who are leaving, I've been speaking to them since we've been here over the past week, they're

heartbroken. They're relieved to be safe, but they can't imagine what their families back home are going through. Listen to Ashraf.


ASHRAF FARAH-SULIMAN, EVACUATED FROM SUDAN: I feel very sad, it's my hometown, I'm a long-term resident in Sudan, I lived in the United States

for 20 years, and I came back home four years ago to support my country, and support my parents and their elder seniors. So, I wanted to like --

they wanted to retire back home, I wanted to see what that is since I left -- I left Sudan at a very young age, like at nine years old.

So I really wanted to know, what can I do for Sudan in the future? I'm still young, and I wanted to build something there for our country, for my

career, my profession. And I feel just very sad that I wasn't able to do that because of the civil war that's happening right now.


MADOWO: So this is the profile of people who are arriving here in Saudi Arabia. Now, the privileged Sudanese who are dual nationals, like Ashraf,

who is Sudanese-American or Sudanese-British or Sudanese-Canadian or they're permanent residents in another country like Saudi Arabia, somewhere

in the Gulf and another part of the country, because regular Sudanese people are not finding it easy to get off these boats across the Red Sea to

come here.

That's why the U.N. Is saying a 100,000 people could have been displaced so far.


They're going to countries like Chad and Egypt and South Sudan, and Eritrea and Ethiopia. Neighboring countries, and if this keeps going, that the U.N.

projection is 800,000 people could be displaced by this, could be internally displaced or could be refugees in neighboring countries. That is

why this ceasefire has to really work for the 45 million Sudanese people that can't leave the country, they are stuck in the middle of this power

struggle between these two generals, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, Larry Madowo, we are going to stay on this story, good to have you there for us in Jeddah. Well, an official with the Norwegian

Refugee Council describes the situation in Sudan's Darfur as total mayhem. They describe scenes like this one. Shelters burned to the ground and

civilians killed in the fighting, they say can be fatal to try escaping. You risk your life, if you stay.

Well, for more now, I'm joined from Nairobi by Toby Harward; he's the Principal Situation Coordinator for Darfur with the U.N. Refugee Agency. He

was in Darfur when the conflict began and left last week to help the French military. Good to have you with us. So --


KINKADE: We've been reporting for weeks now that food, clean drinking water, medical supplies are running out and desperately needed aid from the

people we've been speaking to there is obviously not coming. Apparently, there was some shipped from the U.N. into Port Sudan, but its warehouse

there because of the violence. Can you confirm that? And explain a little bit more about the situation on the ground.

HARWARD: Yes, thank you. I mean, I'm not in a position to confirm immediate supplies coming into Port Sudan. I was evacuated from Darfur late

last week, and I can tell you that the situation there is extremely difficult. That there were significant clashes between the two sides in the

city of Al Fashir, that has now led to a tenuous -- a tenuous truce.

But there has been massive damage being done to critical medical services, to critical other essential supplies of water, electricity, mass

displacement amongst the people who are in the town of Al Fashir and the surrounding areas. In Nyala, all the U.N. and international agency, NGOs,

humanitarian services were looted by marauding militias.

And in Al Junaynah, it's been -- it's been the same, and we are extremely concerned at the situation across the five Darfur states. But particularly,

I would say in Al Junaynah in west Darfur, where unfortunately this fighting has aggravated into communal tensions or maybe, I should say

manipulated into communal tensions. And that has the potential to be sending hundreds of thousands of people across the border into neighboring


And obviously, we are responding, UNHCR responding to multiple displacements across other borders as well.

KINKADE: How long were you in Darfur previously before you left last week? And do you still have people on the ground there that you're communicating

with to find out how the situation is changing?

HARWARD: Yes, and I was in Darfur for a couple -- a couple of years. We still have all of our national staff on the ground, some are having to

relocate to safer areas because of the -- because of the intensiveness of the fighting. But we are maintaining as far as we possibly can, as far as

the security situation will allow us to, basic, very essential services.

Trying to be able to distribute non-food items and other essential items to those who have been again displaced as a result of the conflict. But it is

exceedingly difficult to do so when the guns are at full blast, which is what has been the case for some time. It is absolutely critical that the

authorities nurture and foster and expand the local ceasefires, the local truces they are trying to put in place in places in Darfur to allow this

humanitarian access and to prevent the violence from taking on a rather more sinister nature.

KINKADE: And of course, the U.N. has predicted that the number of people that will flee Sudan will be closer to 800,000. Talk to us about the

numbers that have fled so far, the tens of thousands, many of which are going into neighboring countries like Chad. What sort of help is there for

them there?

HARWARD: Yes, right, I mean, we estimate -- UNHCR estimates about 100,000 persons have fled across borders to neighboring countries thus far,

significant numbers into Chad, given the proximity to Darfur. I mean, we have an operation there, they are scaling up as far as they possibly can.


We are trying to respond on the border, but we have a very serious situation where people are --refugees are coming across, they're living

under trees, they're living in makeshift shelters. And we will be putting out an appeal very shortly for additional humanitarian funding. Our

operations, not just in Sudan, but surrounding Sudan are very seriously underfunded.

And it really is time now for the international community to look very closely at the situation in Sudan, and the broader Sahel, and provide more

additional support to UNHCR and to other U.N. agencies and humanitarian organizations.

KINKADE: Toby Harward from UNHCR, good to have you here on the program, thanks so much for your time and we wish you all the best.

HARWARD: Thank you, Lynda.

KINKADE: Well, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are on strike today, protesting the death of a prominent prisoner in Israeli custody. Khader

Adnan had been on a hunger strike for nearly three months. The Islamic Jihad member was the face of resistance to Israel's policy of detaining

some Palestinian suspects indefinitely without charge and without trial.

The Palestinian authority is accusing Israel of a deliberate assassination by keeping Adnan in his cell despite his deteriorating condition. Israel

says he had refused medical checks in prison. Well, his widow is appealing for calm, saying the family does not want a drop of blood to be spilled.

But as CNN's Hadas Gold reports, militants in Gaza answered the news of his death with rocket fire.


HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT (on camera): At least, 22 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Tuesday by Palestinian militants who

said that they were doing this in response to the death of Khader Adnan, a prominent Palestinian prisoner who was found dead in his cell Tuesday

morning after a more than 86-day hunger strike.

Now, at least three people were injured by this rocket fire, including one 25-year-old man who was seriously injured by shrapnel, that's according to

Israeli Emergency Medical authorities. And the militant factions in Gaza directly connecting these dozens of rockets to Khader Adnan's death, saying

that these rockets were what they call a preliminary response to what they said was a heinous crime.

Now Khader Adnan is a former spokesperson for the militant group Palestinian-Islamic Jihad. He had been arrested at least ten times by the

Israeli authorities since 2004. And this was not his first hunger strike, he had been on at least five other hunger strikes in 2004. But this

morning, the Israeli prison authority saying that they found Adnan unconscious in his cell this morning, and they said that he had been

refusing medical treatment as a result of his hunger strike.

Now, the Islamic Jihad group saying that as a result of what they said was Adnan's martyrdom, they had promoted him to be a commander in Islamic

Jihad. And aside from the reaction of the rockets that we saw from Gaza, there is also a general strike called across the entire West Bank and Gaza,

meaning that everything from shops to schools are closed down as a result of Adnan's death.

And he had really just become a symbol, the face of Palestinian resistance, and especially for the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli

prison. Well, what's interesting is, Adnan's wife actually in a statement to the media said that she did not want to see rockets fired as a result of

her husband's death. Take a listen.

RANDA MUSA, WIDOW OF KHADER ADNAN (through translator): Not a drop of blood was spilled during the previous prisoner's hunger strikes. And today,

we say, with the rise of the martyr and his accomplishment of what he wished for, we do not want a drop of blood to be spilled. We do not want

someone to respond to his martyrdom, we do not want rockets to be launched, and then for Gaza to be struck.

GOLD: The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh accusing Israel of what he said was a deliberate assassination as a result of

Adnan's death. He said, he also claimed that the Israeli authorities neglected him medically. Adnan was being held under what's called

administrative detention, which meant that he had not yet seen trial or charges yet.

This is often something that Israeli authorities use, they say, for security reasons. There are at least, a 1,000 prisoners who are in this

sort of administrative detention, Palestinian prisoners in this administrative detention in Israeli prisons. And the Palestinian Prisoners

Society say that, that is at its highest number since 2003. Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.


KINKADE: Well, the Kremlin is now fighting back against the Biden administration's efforts to show Russia's Winter offensive in Ukraine has

backfired. The White House has said more than 80,000 Russians have been wounded, and 20,000 killed since December. But the Kremlin denies this,

saying Washington has absolutely no way to give accurate numbers.

Ukraine is now getting ready to launch a counteroffensive while Russian forces are still trying to capture Bakhmut in the eastern part of the

country. Chief international security correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is in Zaporizhzhia, and joins us now live. Good to have you with us, Nick.


So the U.S. says Russia has suffered some 100,000 casualties, 20,000 of those killed, Russia of course, denying this. What do we know about the

toll this war is taking on the aggressor?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, the important point about the statement from John Kirby; the U.S. National Security

Council spokesman yesterday, was that he was suggesting a 100,000 had been wounded or killed since December. Essentially, since Russia's intensive

offensive against the city of Bakhmut and other areas in the Donbas region had got underway during the Winter.

Now, as you mentioned, 20,000 there are said to have been killed, half of those, he said, were likely to have been in the Wagner Group. Now, that is

the mercenary group who have used convicts taken from Russian prisons, and sent them to the frontlines, predominantly around Bakhmut. Just to recap

here, Bakhmut has been a city which Russia has fought intensely for, using convicts on the frontlines often as human waves, charging Ukrainian

positions and being shot down.

Harrowing experience, frankly, even for the Ukrainian soldiers involved in that kind of combat. But the intensity of loss there has been documented on

the frontline. The figures we're hearing from the White House, though, are still in themselves utterly extraordinary. I mean, if you do very bad math

here, you essentially have to conclude that anyone aged between 15 and 64, according to World Bank figures, who lives in Russia, has at some point

been killed or wounded in the area of Ukraine since December.

That's extraordinary numbers, and gained apparently from a U.S. Intelligence, which has been downgraded, and then passed towards the media.

So, part possibly here, of a U.S. bid to prepare the information space ahead of Ukraine's counteroffensive to remind the world what is clearly a

fact that Russia has sustained incredible losses in the fight around Bakhmut.

But that will surely play into the narrative we've been hearing over the past two days, after weeks in which Russian military officials had begun to

suggest they thought they might be on the ascendant around Bakhmut, potentially able to encircle and cut off the remaining Ukrainian forces

inside of it. We heard at the weekend, a key Russian figure, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of that Wagner Mercenary Group, who has been fighting

for Bakhmut suggesting that if he didn't get enough shells, he might potentially have to think about withdrawing his forces from that city.

And just in the last 48 -- 24 hours, Ukrainian officials sounding a lot more bullish about pushing forward and pushing Russians out of position. So

whatever really is happening in Bakhmut, hard to get a clear read on it. It certainly, at this point, is not boding in a very simple way, well, for

Russia ahead of this long-expected Ukrainian counteroffensive, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, certainly, isn't. Nick Paton Walsh for us in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, good to have you there for us, thanks so much. Well, still to come

tonight, the godfather of A.I. quits his job at Google. We'll tell you about the warning he is now giving about the technology, which he helped

create. And A.I. is also a big concern for Hollywood's writers. They're staging a major strike right now, more on what that means when we come




KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. Well, should there be a moratorium on artificial intelligence? That's what the

so-called godfather of A.I. is saying. Geoffrey Hinton just quit his job at Google to warn about the dangers of the technology which he helped develop.

His decision to step down comes as alarm bells are sounding about the risks of A.I.-powered chatbots to spread misinformation and eliminate jobs. He

isn't the only one concerned, Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak is also speaking out.


STEVE WOZNIAK, CO-FOUNDER, APPLE: Look at how many bad people out there just hitting us with spam, and trying to get our passwords and take over

our accounts and mess up our lives. And you know, and now A.I. is another more powerful tool, and it's going to be used by those people, you know,

for basically really evil purposes.

And I hate to see technology being used that way. It shouldn't be, and some -- probably, some types of regulation are needed.


KINKADE: Wozniak and Hinton aren't the only two prominent figures speaking out about this technology. So what comes next? Joining me now is Martha

Lane Fox; the president of the British Chambers of Commerce, good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So, this is the man described as the godfather of A.I., he's just left Google, and this is what he had to say. He said "right now, what we're

seeing is things like the GPT-4, eclipsing a person in the amount of general knowledge it has. And it eclipses them by a long way. In terms of

reasoning, it's not as good, but it does already do simple reasoning.

And given the rate of progress, we expect things to get better quite fast. So we need to worry about it." Martha, are you worried about it, and if

not, why not?

FOX: I am not someone that's prone to worrying in a -- kind of without a practical application of what to do next. And I think the thing is now with

every major technology-step forward, and I've been lucky enough to be quite close to a bunch of them. You know, the advent of the internet, the nature

of e-commerce taking over the web, suddenly the creation of social media, the iPhone, all of these have happened in my working life-time.

There's always a tension and anxiety about people who think this is going to solve a lot of problems, and people who think this is going to create a

lot of problems. And for me, the truth is somewhere in-between. Of course, we should pay very close attention to the people, not me, who know how to

code this stuff, and have created it. But I don't think it's a zero-sum game. It's not binary.

It's immensely nuanced. And we are undoubtedly at a period of technological change that is incredibly speedy. And that's the thing that has taken my

breath away over the last few months.

KINKADE: And I think that is a thing that most people are calling for a moment of pause. Because it has emerged very quickly. We saw the A.I.-

generated photograph that just won the Sony photograph of the year. We saw those A.I.-generated images of the pope, of Donald Trump, these global

figures. And then the A.I.-generated song which went viral on Spotify -- I just want to play a little bit of this song.




KINKADE: I mean, we are at a point where it is hard to tell what is real, what is fake. These of course, are relatively trivial examples compared to

the real risk of A.I. being used by power hungry narcissists, which clearly there is no regulation right now, when it comes to A.I. Should there be?

FOX: There has to be regulation, absolutely a 100 percent. It's inevitable that it will happen, in my opinion, and there are already a bunch of

regulations being teed up. There's the EU A.I. Act, China is looking at its own regulation, and the things happening in the U.S. Whether they will be

the right kinds of regulation, I have no idea yet. And I think we have to not pause that, I personally believe it's not the right way of framing



This is a technology that's getting faster and faster and faster, GPT-35 was significantly less good than GPT-4, both of which you just mentioned.

We need to speed up our ambitions around this stuff. I think we need to educate regulators and legislators so that they know a bit more about how

to potentially put your arms around it, around the emerging technologies with legislation.

We need to keep making sure that we as users engage with the steps so that we can see its power and its potential. And I think for me, a pause is

misplaced. And arguably, when things are going much faster, we've got to double-down on our efforts, we've got to ask more of corporate leaders,

more of our politicians, and make sure that we ourselves don't absent ourselves from the conversation.

KINKADE: And Martha, I want to ask you more about that because what you're just saying is almost the opposite of what we heard from the 1,000-plus

people in the A.I. tech world, who wrote this open letter in March, calling for a pause. People like Elon Musk who are on this letter. That said we

need a pause because the advances we're seeing in things like A.I. chatbot, ChatGPT, there needs to be some sort of safety measures in place before we

go any further. Why shouldn't we listen to those in the industry?

FOX: We should absolutely listen to people in the industry. But I think we should also, you know, we can apply our own judgments to some of these

things. You know, Elon, in one hand was saying pause, and in the other hand was investing heavily in A.I. technology, and we've learnt that

subsequently. So keep putting things in context is always important clearly.

But the second thing I'd say is, I'm not for one minute suggesting that we shouldn't educate ourselves more, hold companies to account, and absolutely

develop regulation. But I'm saying that a pause in my opinion, doesn't feel like the right tool to create those bits of change, because we're going to

be in competition with other countries in the world that are not going to pause.

China is certainly not pausing its A.I. technology capability, and it feels to me as though pausing is the wrong way of framing. What I think most

people would agree on, which is, we need to think very carefully about how we want this technology to impact our lives over the next decade.

KINKADE: And also, there's the big question over jobs, right? The Goldman Sachs report claimed that 300 million full-time jobs will be replaced as

A.I. develops. How much investment do you want to see in this particular industry, in this particular tech world right now to, I guess, perhaps

counter that?

FOX: I'm not sure we can counter the substantial shift in the pattern of work that is going to occur in the next decade to two decades. But I think

the most important thing is to think about how we equip people to be able to cope with what is not going to, in any way, shape or form, not just

A.I., but everything that's happening in technological landscape is speeding up, not slowing down.

So in my opinion, every company, every employer, whether you're a public, private or charitable organization, you need to be thinking about how your

organization is going to be fit for purpose. How you're going to keep training people, and imagining, doing some kind of exercises to think about

what does your organization look like in ten years time.

Of course, that will require some investments. But I think we also have to get realistic about the changing nature of work, and how quickly that's

going to come upon us.

KINKADE: And it is certainly happening very quickly. Martha Lane Fox; President of the British Chambers of Commerce, good to have you with us,

thanks so much for your perspective.

FOX: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, a story Hollywood never wanted to tell, talks between studios and union representatives breaking down,

meaning the production of virtually all scripted shows and films will be paused. We are, by the picket line, with more when we come back.




KINKADE (voice-over): Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good to have you with us.

The immediate future of some of the TV shows we know and love is hanging in the balance. As Hollywood's writers go on strike, more than 11,000 members

of the Writers Guild of America are walking out. This could soon lead to a halt on virtually all scripted TV shows and films.

Writers are clashing with major studios over pay and the way profits are shared in the streaming era. Vanessa Yurkevich joins us now outside the Ed

Sullivan Theater in New York, where "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" has already shut down production. It looks like there's plenty of people

there on the picket line.

And Vanessa, this is the first Hollywood's-- writer strike in 15 years.

What exactly do they want?


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Lynda, we actually changed locations. We're in front of Peacock right now. I'm with

WGA members who are on the picket line, striking on day one of what could be a lengthy strike.

We are hearing that the two sides are very far apart.

I want to step out of the way as I'm walking through the sticking points, give you a visual.

What the sticking points are, writers are asking for more regulation around artificial intelligence. They are basically going back and forth with

studios about how big the writers' room should, be as well as how long the employments of writers should be on different shows and programs.

And finally residuals around streaming. This is huge, the writers saying that they are not being fairly compensated. I want to bring in a writer

right now, a WGA member. This is Melissa Salmons.

I want to ask you why you're here today.

MELISSA SALMONS, MEMBER, WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA: We're here today because management has not accepted the fact that our contract has to

radically change because the way that the TV and movies are written and distributed has radically changed.

YURKEVICH: And what are you asking for, in terms of a fair contract?

SALMONS: Well, there are a list of things, better (INAUDIBLE). Better minimums, residuals for streaming that make sense for streaming. And they

oddly will not talk about AI.

All we want is, tell us it won't -- that you won't use it, because it is basically stolen material. And they won't talk about it. They will not even

talk about it. So here we are.

YURKEVICH: Thank you so much, Melissa.

So the studios, from their perspective, they say they have made increases to compensation. They have made increases to residuals on streaming. They

are even willing to go higher.

But it's those writers rooms, the amount of people that are in there, that is really a key sticking point that we are hearing on the picket line today

and from these studios. If you remember in 2007, that was the last strike 15 years ago. That lasted 100 days.

We are hearing from people here on the line, they are willing to stick it out as long as it takes to get the contract that they say is fair and that

they deserve -- Lynda.

KINKADE: This could be a long strike indeed.


Vanessa, good to have you on the story. Thanks so much.

In less than a month from now, the U.S. will hit the debt ceiling unless some kind of compromise can be made in Washington. The Treasury Secretary

says the deadline for the country to pay its bills is June 1st.

And there are huge consequences if that doesn't happen. President Joe Biden is now asking the House Speaker, the Democratic House leader and the Senate

majority leader and the Senate Republican leader to meet at the White House next week.

Let's go to White House correspondent, Jeremy Diamond, he joins us now live from Washington.

Good to have you with us, Jeremy. So one week from today, the U.S. President is set to hold this meeting although he's already said he's not

going to compromise. He doesn't want to cut spending.

So how is this going to play out?

What are your sources telling you?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, in one way yesterday, so much changed. You saw the Treasury Secretary put up this letter, saying

June 1, which is in just a month, could be when the U.S. defaults on its obligations.

And subsequent to that, you saw President Biden reach out to the four congressional leaders and, in particular, emphasis being placed on House

Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who, for all intents and purposes, will be his main negotiating partner in getting out of the situation and resolving this


But in so many other ways, Lynda, nothing has changed at all. And by that I mean that the White House's position and House Republicans' position simply

have not changed.

The White House is still insisting that a clean debt ceiling is the only way out of this crisis, meaning raising the debt ceiling without any

spending cuts without anything else attached to that legislation, which is the way that, historically, the debt ceiling has been raised, including

under former president Trump, with Republicans joining him in that effort.

House Republicans, for their part, say they still want to see these deep spending cuts and changes to spending patterns that we saw in the bill that

they passed last week. So this does leave these two sides at an impasse.

And with the clock really ticking down to this, we know that the consequences of a potential default on the United States' debt obligations

could be really catastrophic. And that's really not hyperbolic.

When you look at the potential consequences, talking about millions of jobs being lost. We're talking about the U.S. likely slipping into a recession.

The global stock markets are sure to tumble. You would see Social Security payments, veterans' benefits payments, stop most likely.

So again there are really enormous consequences for everyday Americans and, as of now, Washington simply does not have a way out of this crisis. We'll

see whether or not that meeting, a week from today, between the president and the congressional leaders, can move the ball on that.

The White House has said they are willing to talk about budget and spending cuts, simply not linked up with raising the debt ceiling. Lynda.

KINKADE: All right, Jeremy Diamond on the story for us. Thanks so much.

Still to come tonight, searing heat is worsening a severe drought in Spain, a devastating combination that could lead to an environmental disaster.

And a small island with big ambitions, we'll take you to the community working to become East Asia's new demilitarized zone.





KINKADE: Welcome back.

A tiny island about four miles from Mainland China is hoping that war will never come again. The Kinmen islands are part of Taiwan and some residents

remember battling the Chinese Communists years ago.

Many of those people are hoping conflict like that remains a thing of the past. Will Ripley has more on the area pushing to become East Asia's new

demilitarized zone.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As the sun sets on the Taiwan Strait, the neon lights of Xiamen in Southeastern China dazzle in

the dusk. CNN cameras close enough to read the glowing signs, a glimpse of mainland China on the inside.

But you may be surprised to learn, I'm not standing in mainland China. I'm here in Taiwan, on a small island sitting surprisingly close to that

bustling metropolis behind me Less than four miles of water, that is all that divides this democracy from Communist China.

(voice-over): Our 200-mile flight from Taipei to the Kinmen Islands takes about an hour. A boat can reach the mainland in minutes. Some islanders

feel like sitting ducks, at the mercy of China's People's Liberation Army.

The PLA launched massive military drills near Taiwan twice in the last nine months. China calls the drills a response to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-

Wen's high-profile meetings with two U.S. House speakers, Nancy Pelosi in Taipei last year, Kevin McCarthy in California last month.

Just off the coast of Kinmen, we see Chinese sand dredgers China is reclaiming land to build a new airport, the mainland coast getting closer

every day.

"We all hope war doesn't break out here," says the chairman of the visitors association. "We think it's basically impossible for our military to defend


But they did defend the islands more than 70 years ago. Tens of thousands of nationalist troops from Taiwan repelled the mainland's communist forces.

Thins are very different today. Only a few thousand Taiwanese soldiers remain.

China now has the world's largest navy. Taiwan's outlying islands are no longer strategically valuable and almost defenseless, if the PLA decides to

make a move.

Many here are calling for Taiwan's military to pull out completely.

"We don't want Kinmen to become a battlefield again," Wu (ph) says. "If there are no soldiers or military installations, we can become a

demilitarized zone and attract more tourists."

He says the handful of remaining military sites are shockingly vulnerable. Last year, civilian drones from China hover over several island outposts.

This video shows startled soldiers throwing rocks, raising questions about the military's readiness.

Taiwan says it shot down at least one unidentified civilian drone.

In so many ways, the local culture on this side and that side, almost the same. Politics, of course, the big exception.

But many who grew up here are calling for closer ties with communist China. They lived with the alternative. Decades of ferocious fighting, right here

on the front line.

(voice-over): These battle-scarred outlying islands bore the brunt of damage during the worst decades of the cross-strait conflict. From the late

1940s through the 1970s, relentless artillery attacks left behind mountains of metal.

"We worry history might repeat itself," says Mai-Sta Wu (ph), who makes knives from old artillery. "If that happens, it will change our way of


Bullet-riddled buildings, bomb shelters, beaches lined with anti- landing spikes. Rusty relics, waiting for the waves of change to come crashing in -

- Will Ripley, CNN, Kinmen, Taiwan.


KINKADE: Spain is asking the European Union for emergency funds to help it combat a severe drought that is threatening crops and livelihoods.


The Spanish farmers union says 60 percent of the country's farmland is suffocating from a lack of rainfall. Fred Pleitgen shows how some

reservoirs are drying up under a scorching sun.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From afar, even a natural disaster can look majestic. But up close, the

full impact of the global climate emergency is clear to see.

This is the Sau Reservoir near Barcelona, normally one of the largest bodies of fresh water in this part of Spain. But months of drought and the

water levels are so low, an entire medieval village, usually underwater, has come to light.

The folks here say normally, he barely be able to see even the tip of the medieval church, because it would be almost fully submerged. But now, as

you can see, the church is very much on land and the authorities here fear things will get much worse once the summer's heat really sets in.

(voice-over): The Sau Reservoir is already at less than 10 percent capacity. And that's causing hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland to

dry up. All of this wheat is probably lost. Farmer Santi Kaldidiwa (ph) shows me why.

"The grain (ph) should be milky," he says. "We're in a critical moment. If it doesn't rain, this will end up empty. We should be seeing the grain come

up to here. But it's only like this. If it doesn't rain in the coming week, the crop will be zero."

But there is no rain in sight and temperatures in Spain have skyrocketed.

Scientists at the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology are trying to find ways to make very little water go a longer way.

Chief scientist Joan Girona says efficiency needs to be maximized.

JOAN GIRONA GOMIS, RESEARCHER, IRTA: It's our goal. Making the most of every drop of water.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Just like the crops, the people in this area are also in survival moaned. Dozens of towns are without water and need to get

it trucked in. The village Castasilla (ph) hasn't had any for about a year and residents say they can't even remember the last time it rained.

"I don't recall," Juan (ph) tells me. "It's been a long time, a year more, without proper rain. Nothing."

This region of Spain is a bread basket for all of Europe. And while the authorities say they're building desalination plants to combat the water

crisis, the head of the region's water authority says life here might change dramatically soon.

SAMUEL REYES, DIRECTOR, CATALAN WATER AGENCY: Sometimes, I think about the capacity of the territory. I mean, is this a country where we can handle

the increase of citizens, tourists, industry, farmers, agriculture?

Or we should stop?

PLEITGEN (voice-over): That point might be closer than some believe.

Back at the Sau Reservoir, authorities are actually draining most of the remaining water to prevent this precious and every scarcer resource from

getting contaminated by the sludge of the bottom of this once-mighty lake - - Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Barcelona, Spain.


KINKADE: Still to come tonight, FIFA's president threatens a Women's World Cup broadcast blackout in Europe. We'll tell you why, after the break.





KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us.

FIFA's president has threatened to pull TV coverage in Europe of the women's football World Cup. Gianni Infantino says broadcasters from the,

quote, "Big 5" European countries have given unacceptable offers for the rights.

He says the bids were so low, compared to the men's tournament, that they amounted to a, quote, "slap in the face for women worldwide."




KINKADE: Well, it was the biggest fashion night of the year. And it certainly didn't disappoint. Celebrities flocked to the red carpet in New

York for the 2023 Met Gala, each one with their own take on this year's theme, a tribute to the legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld.

Some highlights from the night included not one but two dedications to his beloved cat, Choupette. Both Jared Leto and Doja Cat going fully feline for

the evening. Rapper Lil Nas X made his own statement with his bold look, his entire body covered with silver paint and pearls.

"The Last of Us" star, Pedro Pascal, caused an internet storm with his outfit, showing off his knees.

The night wasn't just about fashion. In some joyful news, Serena Williams and supermodel Karlie Kloss debuted their pregnancies. And basketball star

Brittney Griner walked the carpet less than five months after her release from a Russian prison.

Thanks so much for watching tonight, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.