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One World with Zain Asher

FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Sentenced To 25 Years In Federal Prison; Israeli operation at Al-Shifa Hospital enters 11th day; Traffic Cam Shows Key Bridge Moments Before Collapse. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired March 28, 2024 - 12:00   ET



ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, coming to you live from New York, I'm Zain Asher. Bianna Golodryga is off today. You are watching ONE WORLD. I

want to bring you breaking news in CNN right now. Sam Bankman-Fried will spend the next 25 years in a federal prison. Sam Bankman-Fried is going to

be spending the next 25 years in a federal prison. That is the sentence he was just handed down in a New York courtroom.

The former FTX crypto boss was convicted of both fraud and conspiracy back in November. Prosecutors in his case estimate the FTX customers lost more

than $10 billion under his watch. Bankman-Fried sentencing comes nearly five months after he was found guilty of one of the largest white collar

crimes in history. Once again, if you're just joining us, Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.

Let's go straight now to CNN's Kara Scannell joining us live now from New York. Kara, this is interesting for several reasons. But we know that the

prosecutors had been sort of angling for about 50 years in prison for Sam Bankman-Fried. His defense attorneys were saying it should be more like

five or six years. The judge went straight down the middle 25 years in federal prison. What more can you tell us on that front?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, a 25 year sentence is still a long sentence in a white collar case. And the judge had gone through. Sam

Bankman-Fried spoke before the judge. The judge weighing all of this. He said he thought the 40 to 50 year sentence recommended by prosecutors was,

as he put it, you know, substantially greater than necessary.

But he said he hadn't heard a word of remorse from Sam Bankman-Fried who was standing there in the courtroom. And he said that because Bankman-Fried

as he put it with exceptionally smart and a great marketing guy, he wanted to send a message to him and to deter him from committing any other crimes

when he is released from prison, saying there is a risk that this man will be in a position to do something very bad in the future and it's not a

trivial risk.

And at that point, he then imposed the 25 year sentence. Bankman-Fried is 32 years old. So when his sentence is up, he'll be about - he'll be 57

years old, still time for him to work and certainly not the potential life sentence that he would receive if he got a significant - more significant

sentence. You know, but this came after Sam Bankman-Fried addressed the judge in the courtroom.

He stood up he told the judge, a lot of people feel really let down and they were let down. And I'm sorry about that. He also said that he knew

that he and his colleagues had built something beautiful. And he said I threw it all away. It haunts me every day. He acknowledged I made a series

of bad decisions saying he was responsible. But he did not say that he was remorseful for the crimes he had committed.

And that was something that prosecutors raised when they stood up to speak. They pointed to this saying that this was not mismanagement or poor

oversight. But Bankman-Fried was stole billions of dollars from investors, customers and lenders. And they say it was not a bloodless financial loss

on paper. They also had a victim speak before the judge as well talking about the harm that he suffered as a result of this fraud.

You know, Bankman-Fried was the face of the crypto industry. He had all these celebrity endorsements and added the Super Bowl, really was, you

know, epitomizing this industry. And then when FTX went into bankruptcy in November of 2022, there were so many reverberations through the crypto

industry. So he was - he was such a big figurehead. And now we're seeing the consequences of his crime.

Prosecutors were pushing for a steep sentence because they wanted to send a message across the industry, a largely unregulated industry, saying that,

you know, these crimes cannot be tolerated. So definitely a significant moment for Bankman-Fried. He has been held in federal custody since August,

when the judge revoked his bail after finding that he was engaging in witness tampering after his arrest.

And so he has not been a free man since August. And as he mentioned, he went to trial in the fall was convicted in November, and he won't be a free

man again until he's 57, about 25 years from now. Zain?

ASHER: And Kara, what are the factors that specifically influenced the judge here? I mean, you know, obviously, the defense attorneys would have

pointed out, listen, he's a first time offender, this is a non-violent crime. He's young, for example, they said that he's of good character, but

the judge would have also had to look at the fact that he committed witness tampering.

That's one fact the judge would certainly have considered as well as perjury during the testimony as well. So what were the key factors that

really influence the sentencing here? I think the judge was really focused on you know, Bankman-Fried, his intelligence here. You know, Bankman-Fried,

he said was - is an exceptionally extremely smart person, and that he is the marketing genius and they - even throughout the trial, the prosecutors

had shown that even after FTX was filing for bankruptcy, that Bankman-Fried was looking to spin a new narrative, to try to create a new storyline to

salvage the company.


And so that was an issue that the judge considered here that Bankman-Fried could be looking to just do this again in another way. He also noted that

he was, you know, not - he was motivated because he wanted to be hugely influential politically, because the crypto industry is, you know, a newer

industry. There's not a lot of laws or regulations around it. Bankman-Fried had poured over $100 million in illegal political contributions to try to

influence the outcome of that. So judge saying that, you know, he was motivated here to do this. This wasn't a mistake, and also pointing to the

fact that he wasn't remorseful.

Bankman-Fried's lawyers had also argued to the judge that because of the enormous efforts in the bankruptcy case, that they have recovered a lot of

assets and saying that people will recover money, maybe even 100 cents on the dollar. But the judge rejected that outright saying that that was

purely speculative, and even the people that might get their money back, they're certainly missed out on a year and a half of you know, acceleration

in cryptocurrencies that they didn't get the benefit of.

So judge really those seeming to focus here that this was not, you know, a mistake, this was thought out crime. Bankman-Fried took people's money,

used it to his own benefit politically, used it to buy real estate in the Bahamas, used it to make more risky investments. Judge saying he knew it

was wrong, but he did it anyway, while he was telling people that this money was safe with him.

ASHER: All right, Kara Scannell live for us there. Thank you so much. Let's bring in David Weinstein. He's our legal analyst and a former state and

federal prosecutor. He joins us live now from Miami. So David, your take on this 25 years sentence that Sam Bankman-Fried has been handed, I was

actually looking at your notes earlier, your thoughts earlier, and you'd mentioned that you were going to guess that he would be handed a 30-year


So it was - you got it almost exactly right. But how does 25 years compare to others who have been convicted of similar financial crimes?

DAVID WEINSTEIN, FORMER STATE & FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: He's a very lucky man and you know, (inaudible) rules. I lost, I went over, but it's close to

what I thought. He's very lucky to have only received 25 years. If you look at the sentences that people like Bernie Madoff received who took $13

billion from people and he was 71. He got 150 years.

Stanford, we're all familiar with him, he took $5.9 billion, he got 110 years. And there are others who took less than what Bankman-Fried took, and

they got 30 and 50 year sentences. So Bankman-Fried was excessively lucky. Look, no one wants to spend a minute in jail. But 25 years when he was

looking at probably a lot closer to 50, than he was to the six or eight he asked for, very fortunate here.

And I think a lot of that goes to his attorneys, and to the way that they got him to speak up, and to make a statement where he expressed some

remorse, but didn't go so far as to admit his guilt, because remember, he's taken an appeal here. And that still has to generate its way through the

system. So very fortunate, and I think, a significantly lower sentence than others who were somewhat more similarly situated. So he was a lucky man


ASHER: So why was the judge more lenient? So obviously, 25 years in prison is a long time. Right? Let's be honest. But why was the judge more lenient

than you would have anticipated? I mean, he didn't - he wasn't directly remorseful, specifically for the crimes here that he committed. Just in -

just in terms of the fact that, you know, the victims are likely not necessarily but likely going to be made whole again, just in terms of

recuperating a lot of their money, is that a factor in this in terms of the judge count - the judge's calculation?

WEINSTEIN: I think that it factored into his ultimate calculation, it didn't factor into the advisory sentencing guidelines' calculation, but

because he used the full amount, which put his exposure under the guidelines, well over 100 years, but I think that it was a combination of

things because judges are asked to look at everything, not just focus on one or two things.

And so he looked at the loss that was suffered originally. And then how were these victims going to be compensated? Did they lose an opportunity?

How did it affect them? He then looked at Bankman-Fried and, and his health is physical condition. He mentioned more than once that he knew that he

suffered from autism, but that he was a bright young man, and that he wanted to send him a message.

And this certainly sends a message to someone who's in his early 30s, about how much more time he's going to spend in jail. He also took into account I

have to believe, and I thought that was going to create a much higher sentence, his obstruction and his perjury. So I'm a little surprised that

he actually took him down to 25 years but the judge has to find a balance of everything involved and not just look at one or two factors and it's a

difficult job.


And certainly a 25 year sentence, if you calculate the (inaudible) number, sure, if you add 31 and 25, he doesn't get out until he's in his late 50s.

But that's not how it works. He gets credit for the time he was in. He's only going to serve 85% of his sentence. So I think realistically, he's

actually going to be released a lot closer to his early to mid 50s than he is going to be to his late 50s.

And so the judge did want to send a message, one that says white collar crime shouldn't pay, and that don't even think about doing something like

this, again. You're a bright young man. I've given you an opportunity, don't throw it away. He'll also be on supervised release when he gets out.

So there'll be a bit of leash on him.

ASHER: 25 years as you point out, despite witness tampering, and despite perjury during his testimony, that is quite remarkable. David Weinstein,

live for us there. Thank you so much. Right now, it is up to a Fulton County judge to decide whether one of Donald Trump's four criminal cases

will be thrown out. A key hearing in Atlanta wrapped up just a short time ago.

Lawyers for Trump argued that the sweeping indictment charging him with trying to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, that it should be

dismissed. They claim the former U.S. president is protected on First Amendment grounds and cannot be prosecuted for making false statements.


STEVE SADOW, TRUMP ATTORNEY: What President Trump said speech wise or expressed either through his speech or conduct, which is still freedom of

expression, because that's false in the eyes of the state, it's lost all protections of the First Amendment. Just the opposite, if anything, under

the circumstances, it needs more protection.


ASHER: And prosecutors were quick to point out that the same argument was made in Trump's federal election subversion case and the judge rejected it

and it's not clear when a decision will come. It's the first hearing since the judge in the case declined to disqualify Fulton County District

Attorney Fani Willis.

CNN's Zachary Cohen joins us live now from Washington. So Zachary, how successful were Trump's lawyers in terms of arguing that this case should

be thrown out because of First Amendment rights, especially when you think about the fact that other co-defendants who have tried to make similar

arguments here have been unsuccessful.

ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yeah Zain, Judge McAfee definitely gave Trump's attorney Steve Sadow ample opportunity to present

his case for why this indictment should be thrown out because he claims that Trump's false claims about the 2020 election and widespread voter

fraud are protected under the First Amendment as political speech.

Now that he went through each - each count against the former president, making a case for each one as to why that - maybe they should individually

be dismissed as well. McAfee ultimately does, though have that precedent in mind as you mentioned. He has rejected similar arguments from some of

Trump's co-defendants in the Georgia case, as well, as you know, the precedent set by the Federal - in the federal case against Donald Trump

overseen by Special Counsel Jack Smith, the judge in that case also denied a motion to dismiss the indictment based on First Amendment arguments.

You know, prosecutors in Georgia though today really making clear that Trump was not indicted for lying. He was indicted, as they said for lying

repeatedly over and over again, and lying - and the lies were employed as part of criminal activity and with criminal intentions. And the word

intentions is interesting, though, because it does offer a window into what could be a key issue if and when this case does ultimately go to trial.

Obviously, Trump's argument today was to try to avoid that scenario. But, you know, the issue of intent as prosecutors argued today is something a

jury needs to decide. And it's something a trial is something that they've been working very hard to try to get on the books but before the 2024

election. So we're going to have to wait and see what the judge ultimately decides as to Trump's motion today to dismiss the indictment.

But big picture, we are still moving forward and this case is still moving forward despite the fact that an appeals court is still weighing whether or

not to review McAfee's decision about keeping Fani Willis on the case.

ASHER: All right, Zachary Cohen live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, it's going to be an evening that really symbolizes just how much is

at stake in terms of the upcoming November elections. U.S. President Joe Biden is on his way to New York, where he will take the stage with two

former Democratic presidents for a star studded fundraiser. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are expected to give the Biden campaign a bit of a boost


Here's President Biden taking aim at the Trump campaign with Mr. Obama by his side.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll protect social security, Medicare. Trump also brags about getting rid of Roe v. Wade, getting it

overturned. He even went on TV to make that point. Let's be clear, Trump's responsible for the chaos that followed. Well, we can turn that around.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We've gone too far to come back. And that's what Joe and Kamala believe. That's what they've done while they've

been in office, and that's why this election is so important. Young people cannot sit on the sidelines.


ASHER: The event at New York's iconic Radio City Music Hall is already raising some serious cash. Biden's campaigns as the fundraiser has so far

generated $25 million.


And an interesting note Mr. Biden actually ran for president in 1988 even before Obama or Clinton. All right, now to the latest on the investigation

into the bridge collapse in Baltimore. New video shows the moments just before the ship collided with the Key Bridge. This is actually from the

traffic camera on the bridge. Vehicle traffic had been stopped because of the ship issued a mayday call and that call, as we've talked about lately,

saved a lot of lives.

We've also learned that there are 56 containers, more than 760 tons of hazardous materials on board the ship and that some of those containers

have been breached. The NTSB says that unsteady and dangerous debris on top of and around the ship has showed evidence collection in its investigation.

Those conditions have forced divers to spend efforts to find the bodies of additional victims. Two bodies were recovered on Wednesday in a vehicle

that was underwater.


COL. ROLAND L. BUTLER. JR., MARYLAND STATE POLICE SECRETARY: Shortly before 10:00 AM divers located a red pickup truck, submerged in approximately 25

feet of water in the area of the middle span of the bridge. Divers recovered two - two victims of this tragedy trapped within the vehicle.


ASHER: Well, though the search for additional victims has been temporarily called off is of course agony for the family members who desperately need

closure at this point in time. We know that all the victims were construction workers who were repairing potholes on the bridge at the time

of the disaster. The entire eight men crew was made up of migrants who had come to the U.S. from Central and South American countries.

Family members say the authorities right now are asking them to be patient.


CARLOS SUAZO SANDOVAL, BROTHER OF MAYNOR SUAZO SANDOVAL (through translator): We cannot speculate, we do not know the FBI has not given us a

report directly about what happened, why it happened. We do not know who is responsible. The FBI has not yet given us any information. They are in a

process. And I believe they asked us for patience until they gave us the report.


ASHER: Well, for the latest on the investigation, let's go to CNN's Gabe Cohen who's live for us on the scene now. So just to recap for our

audience, divers actually did manage to recover the remains of two individuals who were inside a vehicle that was submerged that was

underwater. Just in terms of the recovery efforts for the remaining four victims, that has been slowed down or stopped even because the conditions

are simply too dangerous right now.

They need to focus on clearing the debris that is in the Patapsco River right now. What more can you tell us?

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zain, that's right, it's moved to this salvage operation even though those four workers are still missing.

Officials are concerned that it's just not safe to send divers into the water given how much steel and concrete and debris is down there. And so

now the process begins to try to clear all that out. And we have just learned in the last few minutes that a heavy lift crane vessel is heading

to the scene of where this bridge collapsed.

And it shouldn't be there later today. That according to an interview given by Tom Perez (ph), a senior adviser to President Joe Biden, and they're

expected officials in some of these first responders and agencies. They're going to be bringing in a lot of equipment. Several of these cranes,

barges, anything to help clear out all of this debris and material and officials have said when they have cleared all of it, they are going to

send divers back down to find those four remaining men because they want to offer closure to the families.

But look that could Zain take days. The timeline is really fluid on that. In terms of the investigation, it's also a busy day for federal

investigators from the NTSB who are back on the vessel. They're interviewing the two pilots and trying to get a better sense of what caused

that power outage, that total blackout on the ship that ultimately led to the collision into the column of the bridge and its collapse.

They have gathered the black box from the ship and it has given them a better sense of the timeline but it doesn't tell them what caused the power

outage. It doesn't tell them what engineering issue the ship might have had. The NTSB has taken questions about perhaps it was contaminated fuel in

the ship, perhaps it was an electrical issue but the NTSB has pushed back on that saying look, at this point they don't want to speculate and this

investigation is underway.

In terms of the - the effort to clear out the debris and the ship and eventually open the Port of Baltimore backup, there is another roadblock in

this and that is some hazardous material that's been discovered.


More than 50 containers, more than 700 tons of flammables, corrosives, lithium batteries, some of those containers are breached. There has been

some spillage into the river and we heard the head of the NTSB say yesterday, it's really just not a safe area on the bow of the ship where

the bridge came down for crew members for some of these first responders to actually go in and assess what's going on. So that's going to take time,

but again, we expect that first crane to arrive later today.

It is a sign of progress here, Zain as this recovery moves forward.

ASHER: All right, Gabe Cohen joining us live now from Baltimore. Thank you so much. All right, still to come here how Russia is using a terrible

terrorist attack to boost support for its war in Ukraine. I'll be talking to the Ukrainian ambassador in the United States in just a moment. Also,

Israel's Prime Minister will be sending an Israeli delegation to visit Washington after all to talk about Rafah as he vows to push ahead with the

operation. We'll have a live report for you from Jerusalem ahead as well.

And later on this hour, we will take you to California where a vivid, gorgeous, stunning display of wildflowers is blooming all at once. It is

certainly quite a sight to see.


ASHER: All right, Russian social media is filled with stories of people desperately trying to find loved ones thought to be victims of last week's

terror attack on a Moscow concert hall. A telegram channel dedicated to the attack had to be taken down though when scammers tried to use it to collect

personal data from friends and families. Russian authorities say they've identified 143 of the bodies from the shooting and fire at the Crocus

concert hall.

But they say there are still many, many people who are missing. Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling for national unity in the wake of this

attack specifically asking Russian citizens to respect all religious faiths, faiths. There has been a sharp uptick in anti-immigrant posts on

far right social media channels immediately after the attack, which was believed to be carried out by migrants from Tajikistan.

Time now for the exchange. One reason Vladimir Putin is calling for unity is a desire to perhaps use this attack to rally more support for his war in

Ukraine. Russian investigators claimed to have evidence that Ukraine financed the attack that they have not shared any of that so-called



Joining us live now is Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova. Ambassador, thank you so much for being with us. I do want to start by

talking about that devastating terrorist attack that took place in the concert hall in Moscow with 143 victims, 143 innocent people losing their

lives in that attack.

ISIS, of course, taking responsibility, but Vladimir Putin adamant, adamant that Ukraine was behind it, that it - that it was a joint effort between

Ukraine, the United States and the UK as well. I just want to start by getting your reaction to that.

OKSANA MARKAROVA, UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Thank you, thanks for having me. Well, you know, it is a horrible tragedy. But then the - any

statements from Putin, that Ukrainians had something to do with it is deliberately false. It is not true. And coming from a person who's leading

a terrorist, aggressive war against the neighboring peaceful country, that comes as one of many lies, of course, we hear from Mr. Putin.

But, you know, instead of actually stopping his terrorist acts, instead of using the information which was given to Russian authorities, by

international partners, and preventing this for this people, he is now trying to even falsify, and speculate on this tragedy instead of doing

something to stop it. So absolutely not. But on the other hand, again, we have seen horrible footage from what Russians do with Ukrainian prisoners,

with our civilians that they torture, and capture, with our kids that they have been abducted for two years.

And then we have also seen, unfortunately, the video, which they put out after this terrorist attack where also torturing the suspects of that they

have detained of this. And it's horrifying. And you know, the only message that we have, instead of lying about Ukraine over and over, they should

start doing something and getting out from Ukraine and stopping their terrorist acts, which they are conducting, not only against Ukraine, but

again, so many of us.

The Republic of Georgia, MH17, people on the streets of London, and we can go on and on.

ASHER: I do want to talk about the front lines, just in terms of the war, obviously, between Russia and Ukraine. In a recent interviews, Zelenskyy

essentially said that it's been very difficult, of course, to keep the Russians at bay just in terms of this war. It has been become much harder,

especially given the lack of U.S. military aid, but that he anticipates that a Russian offensive is coming, is around the corner in just a couple

of months from now. And that will be a Russian offensive, with much greater firepower and firepower by the way with much greater reach as well. Just

give us your take on how prepared Ukraine is to guard itself against that, at this point in time, especially when you consider the lack of sustainable

military aid from the United States.

MARKAROVA: Well, Zain, you know, weapons were always a challenge. And President Zelenskyy has always been very, very clear about it and

transparent with all of our friends and allies. Ukraine is much smaller than Russia, Russia does not only have more people and weapons, but also is

more aggressive and has no red lines. So we always needed more weapons in order to be able to defend ourselves, but also to liberate our land.

And now the situation now is critical, because, you know, we need more to not only hold the line, but also to continue protecting us everywhere. And

you have seen Russia specifically picked up the attacks. Now it's daily attacks on so many places from Kyiv to Dnipro, to Kharkiv, devastating

attacks on a daily basis. They also trying to be more active on the front line. And the ratio of weapons between Russia and Ukraine, of course, is

decreasing, not to the benefit of Ukraine.

So we do need additional support. And that's why right now, all the eyes are on our friends on the Hill. And we really need the supplementary budget

that has been discussed. Whatever instrument or form it's going to be, to be adopted so that our friends here in the U.S. can continue supplying us

with so much needed weapons and budget support for us to stay the course and for us to win because this is still, even though it's very difficult

situation on the front line. It's a very winnable war.

We are motivated, we know what we're fighting for, and we can win it for us, for Europe and for everyone who believes in the same values.

ASHER: What would you tell House Republicans here in the U.S. about what is at stake? What does that stake for not just Ukraine, not just Europe, but

really the entire global order if Ukraine loses this war?


MARKAROVA: Well, I think it's for all Americans. It's not just for House Republicans or House Democrats or people in the Senate. I think it's very

important for all of us to understand and listen to what Putin says that this war for him is a war against everyone who believes in freedom and

democracy. He violated not only Ukrainians' border and - and sovereignty, he violated the international rules on which we all base how we live.

That peaceful democratic countries should be able to live in our own countries the way we want to be without being brutally violated by an

aggressive, autocratic neighbor. And this is what is at stake today, not just the existence of Ukraine, it's existential for Ukraine. For us, it's a

question whether we will die or live. And we will not die without a fight.

But we'd rather win and go ahead and do what Ukrainians like to do the most, what Americans like to do, you know, grow food, raise children, you

know, focus on creating something rather than spending days and nights fighting for our existence. But it's so much bigger than Ukraine.

It's - it's very important for American people, for democracy to win. So that this war ends while it's still in Ukraine, so that we win, while it's

still in Ukraine, and we stop Putin while it's still in Ukraine, and that Americans will not have to defend the rest of the Europe if God forbid,

Ukraine falls, and Putin will go further because he says it.

And he has done it before and he attacked all of us before and he intends to do that. So it's our common fight for democracy and freedom.

ASHER: Well said, Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S., thank you so much for being with us today. All right, still to come here on ONE



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to be on top of the vehicle as soon as we or as fast as we possibly can.


ASHER: Right after the break a close up look at why South Africa is struggling with a crime wave that it cannot seem to control. That story





ASHER: Welcome back to ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel has no choice but to move into Rafah saying the

country's quote, very existence is on the line. Disagreements over the impending invasion have driven relations between Netanyahu and President

Joe Biden to a low point.

Speaking to U.S. congressional delegation, Mr. Netanyahu said Palestinians could just move out of Rafah with their tents. More than a million

Palestinians are sheltering in the southern Gaza City. Netanyahu was also clear he believes victory in Gaza could come soon.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We've killed the many senior leaders including number four in Hamas, number three in Hamas. We'll get

number two and number one. That's victory. Victory is within reach. It's a few weeks away.


ASHER: As the White House says that Netanyahu has agreed to reschedule a planned U.S. visit by an Israeli delegation to discuss Rafah, Palestinian

officials say fresh Israeli strikes on a residential building in Rafah killed at least 11 people on Wednesday. This as Israel presses on with its

operation in around Al Shifa Hospital for an 11th day. The IDF says that about 200, quote, terrorists have been killed in what it calls precise


One family says six children were also killed in an airstrike near the hospital. Lot to get through here. Let's bring in CNN's Melissa Bell, who

has the latest from Jerusalem. So Melissa, let's talk about this on again, off again, and now on again, visit with the Israeli delegation, coming to

Washington for talks. Netanyahu has actually come under so much fire there in his home country for perhaps potentially jeopardizing Israel's

relationship with its most important and most loyal ally, the United States.

MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was a definite sense last night when we heard from Benjamin Netanyahu as he

received that congressional group of leaders at speaking as we heard a moment ago there, you heard there in that clip of the need to see this

through, urging bipartisan continued support in the United States that he was really looking at to build back some bridges or paper over some cracks

over the last couple of weeks.

And we heard almost at the same time, shortly afterwards, that this high level Israeli delegation, this visit had been cancelled, you'll remember,

at the start of the week. We now expect and it's been confirmed by the White House that it will take place at the start of the next week. The

point about this meeting is that it came at the request of the United States.

And this is very much about American officials wanting to press home to their Israeli counterparts, as indeed, Pentagon officials, including the

American Defense Secretary did with Yoav Gallant, who turned up alone on Monday and Tuesday about the need to think about alternatives for the

planned ground operation in Rafah with American officials who will continue to press without Israeli delegation when it finally gets to DC next week,

the need to consider things like targeted operations against Hamas, the beefing up of the border between Gaza and Egypt to prevent any terrorists

from escaping rather than the full scale ground operation that everyone fears and that Israel appears to continue to prepare, Zain.

ASHER: Just in terms of the consequences for the Palestinians living in that southern Gaza City, what will be the consequences from a humanitarian

level, Melissa, of this ground incursion into Rafah?

BELL: Well, there is the fear, of course for the more than million Gazans that are now down there living in appalling conditions. But I think you

only need to look north at what's been happening that you mentioned a moment ago around Al-Shifa, around Al-Amal as well. The 11th Day of the Al-

Shifa siege, the fifth day of the Al-Amal siege to get an idea of what these sorts of operations mean for civilians.

So let's take Al-Shifa for a moment, first of all. As you mentioned, we've been hearing from the IDF that they're carrying out their precise

operational activities with hundreds of terrorists as they describe them killed, hundreds of others arrested.


We have no way of verifying the IDF's claims, of course, because we're not on the ground, nor do we have the ability to see for ourselves the toll on

civilians. But what our Palestinian producers and cameraman on the ground and those working with us here are able to do is speak to many of the

residents around Al-Shifa, and the picture they paint is horrific, Zain. It isn't just the families torn apart, the doctors fearing for the children

they were caring for and fear to be without food or care for more than a week now.

It is tales from one family we heard from stay near Al-Shifa that had heard artillery strikes, which they took as a warning could not escape, the

airstrike followed six of their children, they say were buried, some of them are still alive, no one can get to them. These are the sorts of

stories that emerge when they can with terrible regularity.

And I think what's interesting about Al-Shifa, Zain is that this was a part of Gaza that was ruled or deemed by Yoav Gallant, the Israeli Defense

Minister in January to have seen the worst of the fighting. The intense phase of the campaign was said to be over because they believe they have

achieved their objectives. Now, the IDF says that Hamas has regrouped in some of these hospitals.

And that is why they've had to return and I think that brings the question of how and when this ends, Zain.

ASHER: Melissa Bell, live for us there. Thank you so much.

In late May, South Africans will elect a new national assembly which then picks the next president. An important issues for a lot of voters this time

around is crime. South Africa is struggling with a crime wave, it cannot seem to control. Violent, brazen attacks and heists which should be handled

by police are instead turned over to private security patrols because corruption within the police force is very rampant as well.

CNN's David McKenzie has more.


ANTON KOEN, CEO, NOJACK: This was a vehicle that was triggered by the license plate recognition system. We need to be on top of the vehicle as

soon as we or as fast as we possibly can.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So Anton is chasing a hijacked vehicle. This happens all the time in South Africa. They're in

touch with private security groups throughout the eastern part of Johannesburg. And one thing you don't hear anything about is the police.

direction North needs clear direction the police.

Police can't cope, underfunded and struggling with corruption.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're shooting, they're shooting. I see them.

MCKENZIE: Dashcam footage shows the criminal gangs private security often up against. In South Africa, more than 20,000 vehicles were hijacked last

year. Murders are at a 20-year high. Cash in transit heists are now commonplace. Armored vehicles targeted in broad daylight by heavily armed


This heist on a major Joburg highway in October.

Was it difficult to get a gun?


MCKENZIE: We met a cash and transit criminal who claims he's gotten out of the game. We agreed to hide his identity so he would talk freely.

GLEN: People who are angry with the level of crime, they will never sleep with their stomach empty. Those are the people who are crying with crime.

MCKENZIE: He says around a dozen gang members target the vehicles, often with insider intelligence. They have spotters, drivers and shooters

splitting the cash evenly.

Did you ever kill anyone?

GLEN: Yes. I know it's bad. I feel bad about it. Some of them, you go and you want to rob and they do not surrender. They want to become heroes.

MCKENZIE: But father of four, TT Ngwenya says he never wanted to be a hero. He just wanted to put food on the table.

TT NGWENYA, FORMER CASH-IN-TRANSIT GUARD: If they needed the money, you must take out that you're going to be killed because you will never work

for your children.

MCKENZIE: He always knew they would be hit. And in May 2021, they were. The dashcam video shows the gang working quickly, efficiently even. They made

Ngwenya and the other guards lie in the grass. When they blew up the roof, it crushed his legs.

NGWENYA: The big thing to me, I'm no longer able to stand. I'm no longer walking as the way I was before I joined that job. And I'll always feel

pain, I'm sure with some pills you see and I'm a father.

KOEN: Seems like the value of life has actually means nothing to a lot of people anymore. I think at the moment our crime is out of control. Our

crime is really not in control. We're having a hard time fighting, fighting crime.


MCKENZIE: South Africa is losing the war against crime. The promise of its democracy hijacked by corruption, desperation and greed. Of course security

analysts say there are good cops in South Africa, both in the junior and the senior ranks but they're underwhelmed by a lack of support and also

have to face colleagues who are engaging in corruption.

Crime affects all walks of life. In South Africa it will be an important issue in upcoming elections. Zain?


ASHER: Thank you David McKenzie. All right, still to come here, live pictures from California where wildflowers are taking over what's called a

Superbloom. We'll have a live and very colorful report for you just ahead.


ASHER: Throughout this week our series, Call to Earth is turning the spotlight on the Bahamas and an organization working to advance ocean

conservation. Today we go diving with Dr. Austin Gallagher. His unique perspective with tiger sharks lead to the discovery of the planet's largest

seagrass meadows. Take a look.


DR. AUSTIN GALLAGHER, FOUNDER & CEO, BEANTH THE WAVES: Just so nice to take a minute to realize how beautiful they are. And this is really why we need

to protect the species in this ocean and we have so much to learn. So it's a really good first day.

ASHER: For the second day, they've decided to set up at a seemingly inconspicuous patch of green on the ocean floor. But to Austin, it

signifies so much more.

GALLAGHER: I've learned that the behavior of tiger sharks is completely different in seagrass meadows.

ASHER: From 2016 to 2020, the Beneath the Waves team conducted a study where they equipped tiger sharks with cameras. The aim was to gain a better

understanding of what a day in the life of the animal looked like. What came back was hours of groundbreaking footage that would change the

trajectory of their research.

GALLAGHER: We knew that there is generally expansive seagrass ecosystem in the Bahamas, but it wasn't until we got the data back from those camera

equipped tiger sharks that we really saw how important and expansive the seagrass really might be here in the Bahamas.


ASHER: And to see more on how Beneath The Waves is helping advance Ocean Research, tune into the full documentary. It's called Call to Earth:

Expedition Bahamas. It airs this weekend on CNN. We'll be right back with more.



ASHER: Mother Nature is putting on quite a show for us in California. A wetter than normal winter has led to a phenomenon known as Superbloom, this

spring. There are so many wildflowers blanketing the landscape, the colors can actually be seen from space. It is gorgeous. CNN's Stephanie Elam joins

us live now from Palmdale, California. So plenty of wintertime rain. And this is the result. It is stunning. What a sight to behold behind you,


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It truly is Zain. And we didn't know if we were going to get one this year because there wasn't a lot of

precipitation until we got past January, then we started to see that rain in February. And now we have enough water here that they're allowing for

the Superbloom to pop up. And when you just look out, and you just see this vast sea of California poppies, this is the state flower here.

And you just see that brilliant orange all throughout here. It's stunning to witness in person. And this doesn't happen every year. I know it seems

like lately, maybe we've been talking about it a lot. But really, we don't know when we're going to get them. You know, we battle with climate change

here in California and droughts. And in those drought years, we don't see these spectacular carpets of color.

So it really does depend on the right conditions, cool temperatures, a lot of rain, and then that summer heat coming in, or that spring heat coming in

and allowing the flowers to pop up here. I just want to show you, when you get down closer, you can see that it's not just the poppies, you also have

some of the yellow popping in here. There's a little bit of purple in here as well. So as you get closer, you can see a lot of the different colors

and some of that that when it gets really dense, probably a couple more weeks or so.

Then you'll see those really big carpets of color that you can see from space in some places because there's such densely packed clusters of

flowers all together. It's amazing Zain.

ASHER: But there are rules, right? You're supposed to stay on the trail. You're not supposed to pick the flowers. You can't be selfish, right? You

can't be selfish. You have to sort of leave the flowers alone. Just give us - tell us about the rules specifically, when it comes to the state poppies.

ELAM: There - there definitely are rules of engagement. It's not just the poppies, it's just all around, like if you see right now I want to show

you. I'm even walking on the path that's here.


You stay on the trail you don't leave the trail because these blooms are delicate and we want them to come back when they can. And so if you stay

off, if you go off on the trails to take your, you know, your selfies and your (inaudible) and all those things, you can really damage the ecosystem

out here. Remember, this is just nature doing its thing, no one's coming out here to plant these seeds.

So you stay on the trail and you don't pick the flowers. You really want to avoid stepping on them and picking them so that we can enjoy them,

everybody can enjoy them. Those are some of the things and also there are, you know, wild animals out here so you want to be safe. Wear your boots,

stay on the trails.

ASHER: We will adhere to those rules but it is gorgeous behind you. I was looking forward to this live shot literally all morning. You are so lucky

to be there. Stephanie Elam live for us there. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

All right. That does it for this hour of ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher. Appreciate you watching. Amanpour is up next. You're watching CNN.