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Quest Means Business

Total Solar Eclipse Finishes Its Trek Over North America; Hotel Giant Ihg Reports Eclipse Tourism Boost; Total Solar Eclipse Underway In Parts Of Eastern Canada; Israeli Prime Minister: Date Is Set For Rafah Invasion; Gaza Devastated After Six Months Of War; Gaza Devastated After Six Months Of War; United States Treasury Secretary Tackles Chinese Overproduction. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired April 08, 2024 - 16:00   ET



JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Eyes on the skies across North America all day on CNN. We've been tracking at the solar eclipse.

Parts of the US and Canada are now experiencing at least a partial eclipse. Totality has crossed over at the Atlantic.

Live from New York, it is Monday, April 8th. I am Julia Chatterley and this is this is CNN NEWSROOM.

And good evening once again, eclipse day across North America. We've been getting some truly stunning images from inside the Path of Totality.

Those places as the name implies, saw a total solar eclipse lasting for just a few magical minutes. Millions of people traveled inside the path to

view the rare spectacle. Totality has just moved over the Atlantic Ocean.

As I mentioned, many people are still seeing a partial solar eclipse, however. Now the watching party started on Mexico's Pacific shoreline,

Mazatlan was in a total eclipse shortly after 11:00 AM local time, and then it was the city of Torreon's turn. Just take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an amazing sight.

On the ground total darkness, unfortunately, the park lights came on so they are not giving us a clear view of how dark it is here.

It is a very glim light that is coming through just, a clean light and you can see the ring. You can see that little dotted light. The birds are

flying. They seem a little confused.


CHATTERLEY: In Arkansas, more than 350 couples were married in a mass ceremony, which finished just before the totality reached the town of

Russellville, and Stephanie Elam was there for all of it.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There we go. It is amazing.

There is the sound. You can look at it now. It is amazing. There is nothing like it, so that sound means everyone can take their glasses off and look

at the sun and the moon, having their romantic interlude, if you will, since I am here in Arkansas, where everyone else has just gotten married

down here.


CHATTERLEY: And Stephanie Elam joins us now from Russellville where as you can see, it is so bright and sunny, which gives us a sense of the contrast.

Stephanie, the romantic interludes aside, because we will talk about those for a second. I was watching you live and I think you did a brilliant job

of just highlighting, I think the spirituality of the moment and there are people who are allowed to look and take their glasses off almost like a

stunned silence fell there.

Just describe what it was like.

ELAM: Julia, it was so different than what I expected.

In 2017, everyone started to cheer, got so loud and this was quite the opposite experience and I think it was because people had justice said

their vows and there is an emotion that was palpable in the air.

People were looking lovingly into each other's eyes and you can feel that difference and they were quiet. There are soaking in that moment as couples

in that moment because they had just gotten married.

So it was a beautiful moment and such a different experience and what I heard my colleagues like Ed Lavandera and Rosa Flores in Texas, I could

hear them and I could hear all the cheering that was happening there, very different here in Arkansas.

And we thought we were going to get some rain, and that cleared out. We just had a beautiful blue sky, Julia. We were able to see the sky and it

was that -- you know, there were a lot of diamond rings that were given out today, but there was also a very clear view with your naked eye of the ring

around the moon and it was just stellar, completely stellar.

CHATTERLEY: Yes and talk to me about some of those couples as well because live on CNN, there where people having their first dances there as the

sunlight reappeared.

ELAM: Yes, they were having a great time. And so the fun is out here, so I am just going to show you, too, there are some people who are still getting

their marriage license signed over there behind us. That is what is happening there.

So, it is still kind of winding down, but people are still going through the -- you know, crossing their T's and dotting their I's. But there was a

-- the Liverpool Legends, they are a Beatles cover band that performed here. And so of course, as soon as the sun started to come back out, they

were on stage and they played, "Here Comes The Sun." So that was a crowd favorite.


People were very happy to hear that. We saw people having their first dance here, listening to them. They sounded fantastic.

I don't know if you guys got to hear any of it, but they were awesome. So you know, it has just been overall a day full of love and you're right the

spirituality, that feeling definitely permeating here.

I see some of the couples have already changed, but a lot of people still sitting around their dresses and their suits on after making April 8th, a

very special day for them always.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, in many ways. Thank you so much, Stephanie Elam there. Great to took talk to you about what took place today.

All right, parts of that spirituality, I think has to do with the weather and the change in temperatures that we saw. Let's bring in Chad Myers now,

because he can tell us more about how the eclipse has an impact on the weather and beyond because, Chad, I know you all have been watching this

full day, too, so you can talk to us about how you felt watching it as well.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I didn't know what to expect with the first live shot from Mazatlan, Mexico, but with the cheering crowd, I was taken


It was an amazing feeling and then we got some clouds in Kerrville, Texas, not a great shot there, but you could kind of see it. It broke out for

Dallas, Texas and all the way up through Arkansas and even into Indianapolis.

And then we had a live shot from Buffalo, New York, my hometown that didn't work out. That was just a misty mess near Niagara Falls, and then we have

Derek Van Dam up in Vermont. It was just really amazing.

But you talked about how the weather does cool down and yes, it does. That sunshine warms the ground. The ground radiates the heat and the

thermometers feel it, and we definitely had a dip there across parts of the eclipse.

Now, also something else we have going on across the eclipse is the potential for severe weather. All of these people who aren't from this area

are now going to be feeling the effects of the threat of severe weather, large hail, the possibility and maybe even of a tornado and flash flooding.

So yes, we see the stripe and think, oh, everyone must live in there. No, no. Millions of people drove to that stripe from other places across the

country. So we will have to keep watching that.

If you're listening to us either on XM or whatever it might be, make sure as you drive the car home tonight, you know what county that you're in

because that is how the warning this will come out or have the GPS turned on your phone. That means the phone knows where it is and the phone will

know if severe weather pops up in your near location.

So yes, we had some clouds, but I will tell you what, Julia, it could have been a lot worse. I mean, we were thinking we were thinking 10 days ago

that it could be 80 percent cloud cover for 80 percent of the people, and that just didn't happen.

So really, a lot of very happy people here. I think the shows went well, and Stephanie Elam, if you're still listening, please get me a CD from that

Beatles cover band because they were so amazing. They even looked the part. They had the bowl cuts around their head and everything is like, wait,

that's really them isn't it?

They sounded so fantastic. I need to go back and find out whether their stuff is on amazon or whatever good stuff.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, whether they are available for performances elsewhere around the country if they are very serious about that.

MYERS: I don't know about that, I can buy a CD or a song, I am not sure I can buy the band.

CHATTERLEY: Just talk to us about the rest of the path if you wouldn't mind, Chad, and I couldn't agree more with you. We couldn't have got

luckier, I think with the weather or even just based on the conversations we were having on Friday and the concerns.


CHATTERLEY: Lot of people rebooking their travel and actually probably didn't need to, but just give us a sense of what remains.

MYERS: Well I mean, we are offshore now. We are just northeast of Newfoundland. So there is no more totality on land itself, but it is going

to continue across parts of Northern Atlantic before the sun sets and gets kind of always where I am -- it depends on where I am on an eclipse day or

whatever. It is only happening on the very sunset and it is all gone. And then I can't see it because it eclipses too late.

So Cleveland, you're going to be a hundred percent and you were all of a sudden, your temperatures went from the 60s down into the 50s, and it is

going to be a night that I think people are going to remember for their entire lifetime.

If you really got to totality and my son got to totality in Indianapolis. He said it was just an unbelievable event. The greatest two minutes in

sports is supposed to be the Kentucky Derby, but the greatest two minutes today was the solar eclipse.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, and then some.

Chad, fantastic the chat with you. Chad Myers there. Thank you so much.

Now the sum may be hiding, but the tourists certainly weren't.

Hotel giant IHG reporting a big boost in check-ins? It says most of its hotels in Buffalo and Indianapolis are more than 95 percent full. Those

cities now under the eclipse's Path of Totality.

Colin Macdonald is the vice president of operations for the Americas at IHG Hotels and Resorts and he joins us now.

Colin, first and foremost, did you see it?


COLIN MACDONALD, VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS FOR THE AMERICAS, IHG HOTELS AND RESORTS: I saw a partial eclipse here in Atlanta, but it wasn't quite

as good as the full one we had in 2017.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, but you have to watch it elsewhere on the television, which I think many of us did as well.

All right, talk to us about demand, particularly what you saw in some of those locations because I believe you had -- you have over 800 locations

within the Path of Totality.

So just give us a sense of the demand that you saw for people to stay and come and watch.

MACDONALD: That's correct. We have over 800 properties in the Path of Totality and the demand has been fantastic, especially on a Monday.

You know, Monday is usually a down day for the industry, but an event like this really drives demand. You mentioned some of the cities -- Buffalo and

Indianapolis -- with over 95 percent occupancy and many other cities like that. We have a number of hotels across the entire path and even adjacent

to it.

And so for us, this is an event that we greatly look forward to for our business and we get to create some really unique experiences around it as


CHATTERLEY: So just give us a sense of how much extra demand if you compare it to, say, this time last year and obviously to your point, it is a Monday

as well, which is a quiet today. How much more have you seen?

MACDONALD: Yes. I mean, we have probably seen an uptick in demand from a Monday going from what might be in the 60 percent occupancy range in the

Path of Totality up to 95, and so you can do the math that across the entire band.

But it has been great and we think that there is probably some demand that happened over the weekend, as well as guests were traveling into these


CHATTERLEY: Did you have quite a lot of last minute bookings? like even on Friday, for example. What percentage were you expecting compared to the 95

percent that you got?

MACDONALD: No, I actually don't know if we had a ton of last minute bookings. I think those stories that I've heard and what we've seen in some

of the data is that a lot of people booked pretty far out for this.

I mean, there were people a year out booking in our mobile app, the IHG One Rewards Mobile app to be a part of this event, right? And they've been

planning for it for some time. And others came at the last minute as they normally do to some of these events.

CHATTERLEY: Nice plug there for the app, Colin, I like it.

Talk about the pricing. Did you adjust pricing based on that demand as well? I mean, how much more expensive? Because I've certainly read reports

that said it was two, three times more expensive to stay in certain properties and I am assuming if you booked properties outside of the

cities, you could get better deals.

But how is pricing different from a 60 percent occupancy rate a year ago?

MACDONALD: Yes, look, we price based on a various number of factors, right, and to your point, now we have 19 brands, various prices, various products

and experiences for everyone and the closer you were to the show as you would with any show, whether it is Taylor Swift or a celestial show, the

prices are going to be a little bit higher.

But we also tried to deliver on those prices and make sure that our guests had some very good experiences, whether that be igloos in Cleveland, you

know the igloos that have the kind of canopy that you can rent out with their own special menus. Or just free breakfast and a bottle of champagne

and a blanket in Niagara Falls where it might still be a bit chilly.

So we activated really well and I think that is how we are in that business. So higher prices if you were closer to the totality, but probably

more perks and more activations, and then if you wanted to drive a little bit, you could get a price that was a little bit cheaper.

CHATTERLEY: And Colin, we have to wait 20 years now for the next eclipse to happen.


CHATTERLEY: How long will it take you to start planning for the event in 2044?

MACDONALD: Well, I'd love to say we are planning now, but in reality, we will probably plan a few years in advance and its our teams in the field

and make this happen, right?

We give them a lot of latitude in our business to deliver for our guests. And so our teams were probably just as excited about delivering this event

as the guests who are coming to our hotels to be hosted for it.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, and also, you have locations all over the world.


CHATTERLEY: So there are things that you learned, I think in this process as well that you can prepare for in other places.

Colin, great to have you on. Thank you so much. Colin Macdonald.

MACDONALD: Thank you very much. Have a good eclipse day.

CHATTERLEY: Thank you. Happy Eclipse Day.

All right, coming up on the total eclipse that crossed the heartland of North America, our special coverage continues.




Millions of people across North America watched day become night as the moon blocked out the sun. A total solar eclipse won't be seen again in the

US for another 20 years.

Derek Van Dam was in Northern Vermont during the total eclipse that happened, what -- just around an hour ago now, and for one couple at Stone

Mountain Resort, it wasn't just a celestial spectacle that was in the air, it was love, too.


CYRIL LEO, NEWLY ENGAGED: I love you. Will you marry me?




CHATTERLEY: Now, how is that for a total eclipse of the heart? Here is a little more from that moment in Vermont a short while ago.


DEREK VAN DAM, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: This is just incredible to see. Right now, we are in a solar maximum. It is an 11-year cycle.

Look at the umbraphiles. We are seeing a moment that is just transcending this actual experience. I mean, we are watching Baily's Beads, that is

around the corona, that is the sun's atmosphere that is interacting with the valleys and mountains, the troughs and he peaks of the mountainous


How are you all feeling right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to cry. We're going to cry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just know that it happened.

VAN DAM: I don't even know how to calculate this moment.


CHATTERLEY: And Derek Van Dam is with his now.

Derek, I don't believe I was ever expecting to say that the eclipse was eclipsed, but that proposal certainly did a great job of it. And I believe

they are a very happy couple with you there.

VAN DAM: Yes. Yes. Yes.

I think we need to be introing them with the "Total Eclipse Of The Heart." Can we cue that, please control room? Bonnie Tyler, right?

The problem here -- the problem here is that this gentleman who I am about to introduce you to, has raised the bar for all married couples for all of


Here it is, the happily engaged couple. You guys that was phenomenal. It caught everybody off guard, including myself, but I can only imagine what

you felt like. What was it like?

PARTRIDGE: Awe-inspiring. I was not anticipating this at all, but he was able to keep in for a little while, too.

VAN DAM: How long did you hide this from her?

LEO: I think a month-and-a-half of various shenanigans, probably like three months of it being in my head and a month-and-a-half of me actually doing

things was hidden from you.


VAN DAM: Okay, to set the scene. I mean, you saw the video, but it was so phenomenal because he asked her to be his wife at the moment that the

eclipse was ending its totality and the light almost like supernaturally started to shine right back on the mountain top.

We are on the top of the highest mountain in Vermont, by the way, again, raising the bar for all married couples once again.

So, how much planning was involved? Did you have friends involved in this little secret of you?

LEO: Yes, so came with eight other friends just standing to the right. They all knew --

VAN DAM: These guys.

LEO: They were all in on it. They all helped with the lying. I am so happy they did. We had a code word for this. We had "doorbell." Was it doorbell?

Or door knob?

Yes, doorbell. They were in on it. They were all ready to turn the cameras to us. I had them over every -- at one point without her knowing. She is a

little --

PARTRIDGE: Usually, I am really good about it, but --

LEO: Yes.

PARTRIDGE: You got it past me this time.

LEO: Yes. They've known, I think from the beginning just about probably like -- probably a month after I thought of doing this. Yes.


VAN DAM: Well, okay. So this is this is something, but you've got to wait another 20 years, we are talking about August of 2045 and we expect to see

you guys at the next eclipse with little eclipse babies running around in the foreground, okay?

PARTRIDGE: Okay. Oh man.

VAN DAM: Fair enough. Congratulations. That was spectacular and a really, really beautiful moment to witness and high five. That was amazing.

PARTRIDGE: Thank you.

VAN DAM: So, Julia, yes, I mean, that was just like one taste of what happened up here. I mean, the kids, this core memory was grained in their

head today, something that I mean, I live for these moments. How did you guys feel about that?

GIRL: I thought it was really cool. I mean, like it was like a circle of white light around darkness.

VAN DAM: That is called the sun's corona, and that is actually the atmosphere of the sun and it is because of the moon that you can see that

as it goes into total darkness. And that little, little ring that you saw only happens for that brief two-and-a-half minutes. What a moment, right?

How did you feel?

BOY: I felt so good because, I feel this on my favorite things in my life so far.

VAN DAM: Well, that is saying something. I agree. Me, too. What about you, bud?

BOY: So, I thought it was the-- one of the best days of my life. And I thought it was cool and the moon blocked -- when it was like a black circle

and there was white around it.

VAN DAM: Yes. You know, I watched that shadow come over the valley in it raced, get this, you guys 1,500 miles per hour. The moon's shadow raced

across the planet and it reached us for that brief window in time to encapsulate us all in that darkness.

What a special moment. Well --

BOY: And --


BOY: And I liked seeing like, there was like a red dot. I knew it liked seeing that.

VAN DAM: Okay. So you were looking at what is called the diamond ring, and that is when the moon starts to move away from the sun, and it perfect

little bright light at the very crescent of the sun and that creates that special, unique thing that you can only see during a total eclipse.

I say it all the time. I've been saying it on TV. It is totality or nothing. A partial solar eclipse it is not the same, but what you witnessed

was a once in a lifetime thing.

Can I go hands in the middle and we say "solar eclipse," all at the same time. You ready? One, two, three. Solar eclipse.

(CHILDREN saying "solar eclipse")

VAN DAM: All right, That's it.

From the top of the tallest mountain in Vermont, I mean, a phenomenal, awe- inspiring -- I had tears in my eyes. I will never forget this -- Julia. It was incredible.

Back to you.

CHATTERLEY: Derek, I have tears in my eyes watching you educate young children there. They are our scientists and our meteorologists of the

future and they are describing something like this is the most exciting moment -- one of the most exciting moments of their lives.

To someone who studied science and math, this is such a powerful moment for young children to be excited about this.

VAN DAM: I hope -- I hope that it spurs some curiosity about science and astronomy and just the curiosity that this kind of event can fuel in a

young child, it is a single -- I can't think of a singular core memory that you build more significant than something like this as a child.


So really an amazing moment for these guys to be part of. I wish I had had my kids here. I definitely wish I could have.

CHATTERLEY: Derek, these are the reasons we cover these stories. I hope they were watching at home.

Derek Van Dam there, thank you.

Awesome. Awesome.

All right, still to come, we will be joined by the mayor of Gander, Canada, one of the last spots to experience the eclipse.

That's next.


CHATTERLEY: Hello, I am Julia Chatterley and this is CNN NEWSROOM and let's bring you up to speed now with some of the headlines we are following this


Ukraine denies Russian accusations that it launched a drone attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The plant in Southern Ukraine is

controlled by Russia.

The IAEA says it was struck three times on Sunday causing one death. It says nuclear safety though was not compromised.

Former US President Donald Trump says abortion laws should be left to the states. The new stance from the presumptive Republican presidential nominee

comes as abortion rights have become a key issue in the race for the White House.

Trump had previously suggested he could support a 15-week federal ban with some exceptions.


CHATTERLEY: Mexico says it will report Ecuador's police raid on its embassy in Quito to the international court of justice. Authorities stormed the

embassy Friday to arrest former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas.

Just before the raid, Mexico would granted Glas political asylum. He's accused of misusing public funds in Ecuador. We'll have much more

international news in just a moment.

But for now, we return to our eclipse coverage. And today, millions of people across North America have been gathering outside with a pair of

these to look at the total solar eclipse. I would put them on. But then of course, I would see nothing. As is the point. It's a phenomenon that won't

come back to North America until 2044. So people have been going to great lengths to see it.

And one of the last places along the path of totality to get its turn, is the city of Gander in northeast Canada that's in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The eclipse peak there less than an hour ago and has just a few minutes left.

And the mayor of Gander Percy Farwell joins us now. Mayor Farwell, fantastic to have you on. I know, there was some concerns about the weather

and cloud coverage, how did it go there?

PERCY FARWELL, MAYOR OF GANDER, CANADA: It was -- it cooperated. We did -- we did have a lot of cloud cover throughout the day. And but it broke up

just in time. And we got a pretty good show, right up to the moment of totality, in which it became very dark, because we got we -- got a pretty

heavy cloud cover at same time.

So, there was a lot -- we had a lot of people gathered. And I had a wonderful experience. And there was people, you know, very young kids there

and very much, much older people there. And everybody was getting an experience of a lifetime, you know, a real treasure.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, I think there's one aspect of this, which is the moon passing over the sun, but the other is the sensation of darkness and how

the weather changes and those aspects which people can still feel and see even if they don't get the full eclipse view.

How many people did you have there? Because I believe the population of Gander is what, just under 13,000? How many people did you have come and

join you there to see this?

FARWELL: We had quite a few people and we had a sort of a designated venue at a local college here, which had a good -- you have a good view from

anywhere in Gander, because we're kind of on a plateau, we're not surrounded by any high ground mountainous territory or anything.

So, you know, everybody, it was quite capable of seeing it from their own backyards. But we did have -- you know, we probably had a couple thousand

people at the college site where we did have some a lot of media and we had some scientists on site describing things as they were happening and you

know, more of a -- more of an event feel to it, and standing in your own backyard, and I'm looking up and so, you know, there's quite a few people

came from the surrounding area to be here to witness it.

Now, a lot of the island of Newfoundland, you know, had very -- had it to varying degrees, but we were in the path of totality. And a lot of people

came from bear distances to be part of that experience. And it was, it's quite inspiring I'd say to look up and see it and realize that in our case,

the next time this happens in our area is going to be in 2079. So, I don't expect I'm going to see the next one, so I enjoyed this one.

CHATTERLEY: You're looking great health, Sir, I'm sure you will. Just talk to me about how it felt to witness it, though, because you said it was all

inspiring, and I think that sort of human reaction to it is a sort of fascinating to hear. What was it like experiencing it?

FARWELL: It is, you know, and doing it as part of a large group was kind of -- it was kind of a nice thing too, but it's just you know, in the middle

of the day, and you know, it's like you're accelerating the whole sundown process, and the dusk -- the feeling of dusk came in in minutes, you know,

it's sunrise again.

I joked to some people up there. And during my university years, I had a few nights that got away from me. And perhaps it seemed like the sun had

just gone down and it was coming up again.

And only today, you know, it happened within about a two and a half minute span, you know, from -- when we had the actual totality for about two and a

half minutes here.

So, it's kind of a -- it's almost like a time lapse of the other sundown and a night and a sunrise, right? And it's quite spectacular, you know, in

a ma -- in a span of a couple of minutes to see -- to see the darkness descend and then the -- then the light you know reveal itself. It's quite

an inspiring and always reminds us that there's a lot -- a lot of forces in this universe that we don't have any control over but they're pretty

spectacular, you know?

CHATTERLEY: Yes. And the science and actually being able to be so precise about when this happens. For me to your point is also what makes this so

incredibly special because it reminds us not only of our planet, but of the science behind it and how much we do know and perhaps still have to learn.


You wanted this to be a Science Festival which I loved about. The events that you held over the past few days as well. And I saw some comments that

you made that you said it was a great opportunity for young people to start a lifelong hobby with astronomy, you clearly feel very passionately about

young people learning about science.

FARWELL: Absolutely, and I think these events which are don't come by every day, are amazing opportunities for young people, particularly to develop

that enthusiasm for science, that appreciation for science.

And so, we partnered with the -- we have a university here in the province, that Memorial University, we partnered with their department, physics

department and with the Royal Astronomical Society and with an organization here called the Johnson Geo Center.

And, you know, we had an inflatable planetarium erected on site at the -- at the College North Atlantic campus here for kids over the weekend to be

able to come and experience, you know, a planetarium and to learn from the scientists we had there.

We had a couple of events that took place in local licensed establishments, you know, where you could casually go in, have a pint and have a discussion

with astrophysicist about what was -- what we were about to see in the next coming days, and so on, right?

So, it was a good opportunity I think for young and old alike to learn, and we can -- we -- you know, we continue to learn until the day we draw our

last breath.

So, you know, I think -- I think this was a good opportunity that we hoped we would take advantage of, for the benefit of that full range of the -- of

the population. And I think particularly the young ones, because a lot of the young one -- young ones I was speaking with at the event today, you

know, I was saying to them, you're actually probably going to be here to see this again, you know, so remember this one, and somehow connect with me

and tell me how the next one is because I'm not going to be there, I can tell you.

CHATTERLEY: Have the comparison and they are (ph) Farwell, fantastic to have you with us. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

FARWELL: All my pleasure, thanks.

CHATTERLEY: Thank you, sir. And that makes in marks the end of our special coverage of today's eclipse across North America. Thank you for joining CNN

correspondents from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. as we marked this rare event, more international news when we return.



CHATTERLEY: Welcome back, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a date for a Rafah invasion has been set. That's where more than a million

Palestinians have been sheltering in southern Gaza. Here's what he posted on his official Telegram account.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Today I received a detailed report on the talks in Cairo. We are constantly working

to achieve our goals, primarily the release of all our hostages and achieving a complete victory over Hamas. This victory requires entry into

Rafah and the elimination of the terrorist battalions there. It will happen, there is a date.


CHATTERLEY: And this comes the day after Israel announced the withdrawal of its troops from Khan Yunis possibly in preparation for a move on Rafah.

Meanwhile, negotiations over a ceasefire and a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas continue in Cairo. Let's get to Nic Robertson now in Jerusalem.

Nic, clearly, Prime Minister Netanyahu is not going to telegraph the date upon which this Rafah operation is set to begin. But certainly now

everybody's going to be watching the troop movement in Khan Yunis very closely, perhaps to give an indication.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I think what we're hearing on the many sides of the same coin, if you will, the

withdrawal of troops in Han units was perhaps as much a political need as a military imperative as well and the IDF said that the troops when they came

out, they would be recuperating and preparing for their next operation. The IDF didn't say what that operation was, but it certainly gives the

political space for the Prime Minister to say, or to imply that these forces or others with them could be going into Rafah.

Now, the fact that he says he's set a date, and the fact that he has a negotiating team that's trying to negotiate with Hamas at the moment, and

Hamas that seems to be holding out on some -- on a precondition that Israel has. This is the sticking point of how many people from the South of Gaza

can return to their homes in the north of Gaza. Israel wants a level of control over it in terms of numbers, in terms of inspections of people

doing that. And going back, and Hamas wants to have freedom of movement for all Gaza residents if they want to go back to the north on day one of a

ceasefire, then so be it. They should be able to do that. That's Hamas's view and that's where the gap is.

So, you know, in terms of negotiation, the prime minister has a strong hand it would seem by threatening the possibility of a military operation in

Rafah, this is something the White House doesn't want.

However, when the prime minister announced the pulling out of troops from Khan Yunis, hardline members, Ben -- Itamar Ben-Gvir, the national security

minister said that if we did that and didn't go to war and get the final Hamas battalions in Rafah, then he wouldn't have a mandate to be prime

minister. So, internal pressures on the prime minister.

This does seem to be at the moment, the prime minister on the one hand placating his international pressures. On the other hand, placating his

domestic pressures, and on the other hand, putting pressure on Hamas to come to a negotiated agreement to release the hostages.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, the political message being here, we aren't easing up. Nic Robertson, thank you so much for that.

It's now been six months since that October 7th attack by Hamas. Civilians in Gaza have now endured six months of blockade and bombing and for the

families of those still held captive by Hamas, it's also been six months of anguish and pain as they wait to be reunited with their loved ones. Yifat

Zailer tried to describe what it's been like for her.


YIFAT ZAILER, COUSINS KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: There's no words that can explain what's the six months has been like for me and for my family. It's a

torture, it's a nightmare. I can't believe that we're speaking again after six months and nothing has changed. We know nothing. We have no news, no

sign of life, nothing.


CHATTERLEY: And Nada Bashir has more on the scale of destruction and human tragedy seen in Gaza since the war began, and a warning, some of the images

in this report are disturbing.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice over): Celebrating a graduation full of hope for the future. This was life in Gaza for Omi Ihap's (ph) family,

before the war.

Now, Omi Ihap (PH) is one of almost two million Palestinians that have been displaced. We never needed anything from anyone before the war, Omi Ihap

(PH) says.


But now, we are in a situation where I'm forced to beg for a loaf of bread just to feed the children.

In this makeshift shelter without access to adequate food supplies or medical care, Omi Ihap's husband became severely malnourished and later


The hardest thing was losing my husband, the way in which he died, she says. We're all going to die one day, but every death has a reason, he died

from hunger, from oppression. He had no food and no water for 55 days.

It's very difficult for me to accept this.

Satellite images show the scale of the destruction in central Gaza. Buildings, roads completely destroyed by Israel's relentless bombing

campaign. Israel says it is targeting Hamas, but six months on, and the death toll has now surpassed 33,000. The vast majority, civilians.

Each week has brought with it yet more horror. More bodies pulled from beneath the rubble of destroyed homes, more funerals. Survivors forced to

flee from one battleground to another.

And now, more children left emaciated by a hunger crisis which is threatening to push Gaza deeper towards famine.

U.N. experts have accused Israel of intentionally starving the Palestinian people by restricting access to aid. With dire shortages leading to deadly


What few hospitals remain in Gaza are overrun and desperately lacking in essential supplies. Gaza's largest medical facility, Al-Shifa, now turned

into a graveyard by Israel's bloody 14-day siege on the complex.

In just six months, this war has become the deadliest conflict for children, aid workers, and journalists.

Fuad Elmani (PH) has worked through multiple wars in Gaza. But he says he has never seen anything like this before. His son, a fellow paramedic was

killed by an Israeli airstrike while responding to an emergency call.

Others have lost tens of family members, Fuad says. But losing my son feels like I've lost the entire world.

Desperate to escape Israel's near constant air assault in Gaza. More than a million people have sought refuge in the southern border city of Rafah,

where Israel says it is preparing free ground incursion, a move the U.N. warns would lead to unimaginable disaster.

Israel's actions in Gaza have triggered a genocide hearing at the International Court of Justice, allegations Israel denies and a U.N.

Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. But hopes for peace remain elusive.

The beach makes me forget our pain, our sadness, our martyrs, Omi Ihap (PH) says. Every time I come, I complain to the sea, hoping that God will

respond and finally take us away from this pain.

Nada Bashir, CNN, London.


CHATTERLEY: OK, when we come back, the U.S. agreeing to give Taiwan semiconductor more than $6 billion worth of grants. How it fits into

President Biden's efforts to boost U.S. chip production? Next.



CHATTERLEY: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, says the U.S. won't accept new industries getting decimated by Chinese imports. She is expected

to depart to China very soon after wrapping up a four-day visit, where she met with leaders in Guangzhou and Beijing.

Yellen address the Chinese markets overproduction of certain goods, particularly in green energy. She also warned Chinese officials that their

economy is having negative spillover effects on the world. Yellen held a news conference in Beijing earlier, and Marc Stewart asked her about U.S.

businesses in China.


MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How will you know if a threshold has been reached a new level of comfort for American firms to

feel encouraged to do business here in China?

YELLEN: I've tried in our conversations to make clear that this is a reason for caution on the part of American firms about doing business here. I

think on each side, we need to be as transparent as we can about our national security concerns and how the actions we take relate to resolving

those concerns.

CHATTERLEY: Meanwhile, the U.S. plans to give $6.6 billion to Taiwan semiconductor to build three parts in Arizona. The White House says it

signed a non-binding agreement with TSMC, as part of its efforts to secure the supply of advanced chips.

The company is also set to receive roughly $5 billion in government loans. In a statement, President Biden said the U.S. is currently vulnerable

because it doesn't produce enough chips itself.

Clare Duffy is with us now. 70 percent of Taiwan, semiconductors clients are American, of course, and this dwarfs the $65 billion they have promised

to spend in the United States of America. But it's an important show of support, I think from the U.S. government to boost their own chips supply.


And just to put into context, why this is so important, these advanced chips go into everything from our iPhones, to our cars, to our home

appliances, so many devices that we use every day. And yet, the majority of them are produced outside of the United States, which means that the U.S.

has very little control, if something were to go wrong that could disrupt the supply chain of these chips.

So, the Biden administration has really been focused on trying to grow the U.S. manufacturing of these advanced semiconductors, this $6.6 billion

investment will go a long way in terms of doing that.

TSMC had already been in the process of building two fabrication plants in Arizona. Now, it says it will build a third, bringing its total investment

in the U.S. to $65 billion.

As she said there, one question that I have, Julia, though, is how TSMC is going to find the workforce to staff these plants? These three fabrication

plants in Arizona are expected to create around 6,000 high-paying tech jobs. But these semiconductor manufacturing roles are highly specialized.

And the experts that I've spoken with said that the U.S. needs to be doing more to be investing in the training of workers for these positions, not

just in the facilities themselves. Julia.

CHATTERLEY: Yes. I mean, skills gap is one of the problems. Energy gap is going to be the other, I think, and it's interesting that the Jamie Dimon,

the CEO of J.P. Morgan has talked about the relative importance of things like artificial intelligence, and yet, she compared it to electricity. Just

describe what he had to say on this, because this is interesting comments from a big CEO.

DUFFY: Yes, Julia, the J.P. Morgan CEO said in this letter to shareholders, he writes this annual letter sort of outlining his priorities, and he said

in there that he expects that artificial intelligence could be as transformative as electricity as the steam engine, as the Internet itself.

So, serious prediction coming from one of the top business leaders, he said that J.P. Morgan itself is experimenting with generative A.I. in areas like

customer service and software engineering.


He did also acknowledge that artificial intelligence could disrupt some of the company's positions, but said that he also expects that it could create

other jobs as well. And, of course, J.P. Morgan is just one of the many companies that will be dealing with the changes and the disruption that

come from A.I. in the coming years.

CHATTERLEY: Yes. I mean, we still got a third of the world without any form of Internet access and millions of people without electricity, but it's an

interesting comparison to make, isn't it? It worries me for the haves and have nots.

Clare Duffy, thank you so much for that. We'll be right back after this short break.


CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. And we have to return once more to that total solar eclipse that traveled across North America today.

People in the city of Mazatlan, Mexico, were the first to catch a glimpse of totality. It then, traveled over Texas, where the sky turned dark over

the Dallas Zoo.

The Midwestern United States then followed. And this is how the city of Indianapolis reacted when totality arrived.


We are so close, we are almost at totality. Everybody around me, saying oh my gosh. All right. Boris and Brianna, here we are just seconds away back

to you.

Wow! Wow!

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Let's take a moment to experience this together. We are at totality in Indianapolis.


SANCHEZ: Holy --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. Wow. You can see those circles.


CHATTERLEY: And a wow. And that's it for this special eclipse edition of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Julia Chatterley, "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper, starts

right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, the once-in-a-generation event across the United States, our teams are across the country and they are bringing you the best view from

today's total solar eclipse.

And we're going to be joined by none other than Bill Nye the Science Guy to break down why this rare event is so important.


Plus, gas prices hitting a five-month high just ahead of the summer travel surge. Now, a top economic forecaster is warning that surging oil prices

could be the greatest threats to the U.S. economy right now.