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Untethered Military Blimp Floating Over Pennsylvania; Iran Invited to Talks Over Fate of Syria. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired October 28, 2015 - 16:00   ET




HALA GORANI, HOST: We continue to cover this breaking news story and a bizarre story not so unusual, though, we were hearing from Mary Schiavo out

of the United States where a blimp in this case, though, a military blimp, has come untethered, untied essentially from its mooring and is floating

currently over the state of Pennsylvania. It was attached in Maryland. That was some ways away.

Take a look at this video. It shows the low-flying blimp covering over a school so teachers are taking pre cautions because right now school is

letting out. It's currently 4:00 p.m. eastern.

Now, it is such a situation that needs to be brought under control that two military F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to follow this particular blimp.

Other air traffic has been cleared from the area as well. Now, this is a military blimp. Let me just bring you up to date on what it is because it's

not just sort of some of those blimps that you see you know in tourist areas with advertising on it. This is a military blimp. It's the size of a

football field. It carries powerful surveillance cameras. It carries as well powerful radars because it is used for surveillance of large portions

of the territory in the United States.

Now, it's not just what is floating around in the air, it's the fact that it is doing some damage at this point. Power has been knocked out for at

least 20,000 people in some parts of the United States. Let's bring in CNN's Tom Sater at the International Weather Center.


GORANI: And Tom, first of all there's a question of the weather having to do - having to do with this blimp getting unattached or detached from its


TOM SATER, METEOROLOGIST: There's no doubt about that.


SATER: There is a storm system that has been soaking parts of the southeastern U.S. You remember the hurricane that moved into Mexico,

Patricia. Part of that energy flooded areas of the south. Well, now it joined hands with another storm system but this is an interesting story and

it's unfolding before our eyes thanks to social media.

Aberdeen, the proving ground is in northeast Maryland it just around where the T is here from Washington. So again, initial reports were that it was

about 16,000 feet in elevation. Taking a look at the winds, at 16,000 feet here, what we saw was taking it directly to the highly populated region of

the northeastern U.S. So the fighter jets were scrambled because we figure this was moving about 48 kilometers per hour, drifting.

But those winds here if you follow the streamline winds at 16,000 feet would put it into air space of Newark, New Jersey, of Laguardia, JFK,

possibly hours later Boston. So would they shoot this down? Probably not. Obviously the equipment is quite expensive but it's a high populated

region. Now this video started to come out and this is nowhere in the northeastern trail of winds. This is to the north. I want to come back.

Take a look at these winds now. Let's look at the winds at 800 feet. Because if you take a look at that video it's just below the cloud deck.

And yes, rain has been light to moderate. But if you look at the winds they don't go to the northeast. Where do they go? From Aberdeen they slide to

the north-northwest. That's where we get pictures in Bloomsburg. This is where we're getting the reports Hala of the 20, 24,000 without power it's

southwest of Scranton you're getting into a more rural area.

Now we know that the equipment on here, and we've learned since the first reporting of this being untethered, is that they can slowly release some of

the helium. This is not weather balloons that they use hydrogen. This is more expensive helium. And they may have been wanting to try to drop it

slowly down into this area. They would not do that in the highly populated regions of the northeast corridor.

With that said, if it's at 800 feet, yes, the rain is light to moderate, it's below the cloud deck. But it's dragging cables that are three

centimeters in diameter that are 10,000 feet long. So you can imagine just how long it may have been at 800 feet, how many neighborhoods did it go

over, how many highways, how many power lines. And there are unconfirmed reports that possibly it is on the ground in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

We're working to confirm that. But with the reports we're seeing it does make sense.


GORANI: All right, Tom, thanks very much. Let's bring in Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. He's a CNN military analyst, former U.S. Commanding General.

Mark Hertling, this is a military blimp. So looking at what it carries we're talking powerful radar equipment to try to conduct surveillance of

very large areas in the United States. Talk to us about these military blimps. What is on board here exactly?

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, if you look - if you look at the one that's currently on camera, Hala, the big bubble beneath the major part

of the aircraft, the one underneath it, that's the radar piece. So that is what's going to send out signals, take a look at different areas.


HERTLING: This also has some very good optics on the piece of equipment. We would use these aerostats is what we call them, not blimps but aerostats in

northern Iraq when I was commanding there, all over Iraq and in Afghanistan. Because it gives such a great picture of what's going on on

the ground. The visibility and the - and distance that you can see is just incredible. And you can also see at night because it has forward-looking

infrared radar.

Now this is a Norad blimp. And I'm sure it's taking part in either an exercise or Homeland Security operation in support of the nation's capital.

It is tethered to a mooring station, with a very strong cable as was just stated. It's very thick in diameter. You're not talking about just a small

cloth because this aircraft weighs several hundred pounds as it's floating around.

So as the wind carries it, when it's tied to the mooring station, it's just like holding a very large balloon. And as the wind blows, the balloon will

go one way or another. And that's the same thing that occurs at altitude.

The J-Lens, I think you've heard it called J-Lens stands for Joint Land Elevated Network Sensor and that's exactly what it is. It's above the

ground. It can see over the horizon if it's raised far enough. It's not only used in these kind of operations, but if you go into the southwest

United States in Arizona and New Mexico, you have these J-Lens aerostats all over the southern border to watch for drug trafficking and illegal


So this is something that's used in other places in the United States. But in the case of bad weather, and I think Mary Schiavo said this earlier,

usually these things are reeled in whenever there's an approach of storms or bad weather for precisely this purpose.

When I was in northern Iraq we had quite a few of these at all our forward operating bases. And truthfully, and I'm embarrassed to say this, we lost a

couple of them because the tethers broke. And we would monitor and just like they're doing in Pennsylvania right now, we would send up aircraft to

watch where they were going and to take note of where they would come down. The longest one that was up when I was in northern Iraq that we monitored

was seven hours. So it takes a while for these things to deflate. And as was stated, they are filled with helium.

GORANI: But eventually they deflate on their own? Is that what we're expecting with this one? Or do they just bring it down?

HERTLING: The ones in northern Iraq did. There was no means of remotely deflating. I heard that report earlier. I would question that. There's

nothing to control unless it's some type of remote deflation device that I've never seen or heard of on these kind of devices. So you just have to

watch it float away and eventually come down.

It's unfortunate the cable is very thick as you said. The pictures that are now showing it at about 800 feet tells me that it is in fact deflating and

coming closer to the earth. But this thing is heavy. When it lands it's not -- it's not an mylar balloon that's going to softly touch the ground. This

is going to crash into something and probably cause damage.

GORANI: All right, and it's populated in some parts of the U.S. over which this blimp this aerostat has been flying. Mark Hertling, really appreciate

your time with us this evening. Thanks very much for joining us.

HERTLING: Thank you, Hala.


GORANI: All right. Now to a huge shift we get back to international diplomatic efforts to end the Syrian war. And there's been a change there

and that's because for the first time Iran is invited to the table.

Iranian media say the foreign minister Javad Zarif and several of his deputies will attend talks in Vienna just a few days from now on Friday.


GORANI: Now, what's interesting is Iran is there, a supporter of the Assad regime, but also at the table Iran's archrival Saudi Arabia. The U.S.,

Russia, Turkey, Egypt and France are among the other countries scheduled to attend.


GORANI: While diplomats search for some sort of resolution, fighters in Syria are still battling for territory. CNN's Clarissa Ward recently toured

the front lines in northern Syria with Kurdish fighters. She gives us a first-hand look at the landscape.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Weeks ago, these dusty plains were held by ISIS. This is what's left of its presence now.

The charred remains of the training camp hidden in a pine forest it's where ISIS trained an elite unit of suicide bombers that attacked Kurdish

positions with devastating effect.

Kurdish fighters, known as the YPG, took this entire area from ISIS in August. But holding it along a frontline more than 400 miles long is a huge


In the shadow of Mount Abdulaziz, commander Zinar told us that he had lost 30 of his fighters in a recent battle when ISIS came down from the



CHIEF ZINAR, YPG COMMANDER: (As translated) the enemy attacked us with a large number of fighters using heavy weapons. They took control of three

villages, and after that the clashes lasted for hours until we were in control again.

WARD: Zinar is a battalion commander. But this is the size of his battalion. A handful of poorly equipped men, the nearest friendly forces

are miles away. The cost of pushing ISIS out has been enormous. Streets here are draped with the flags of fighters killed in battle. Along desolate

roads through abandoned villages we saw scene upon scene of devastation. The wreckage of months of fierce fighting and relentless coalition air


Dozens of villages like this one that were liberated from ISIS months ago are now still completely deserted. Now, that's partly because the ISIS

militants before they retreated planted land mines and booby traps all across this area. But it's also because many people here aren't convinced

that ISIS won't be coming back.

In the tiny village of Meklujah we met (Wadha) who's lived here all her life. She told us she was too afraid to leave home when ISIS was in

control, that they beat and killed people and brought misery upon the community.

(WADHA): (As translated) there were no air strikes before they arrived. And then the strikes started. There was one next to me. We were scared of

everything, not just ISIS.

WARD: Are you still afraid, I ask? She says no but glances warily at the Kurdish YPG fighters with us. The Kurds question the loyalty of many of

these villages, claiming they harbor ISIS sympathizers. The killing may have stopped, but there is no peace here.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, Mount Abdulaziz, Syria.


GORANI: Former Nato Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen is calling for a new political and military strategy for Syria.

He joins us now live from the Harvard Kennedy school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Thanks very much, Mr. Rasmussen, for joining us from Boston.


GORANI: One of the things you said recently is an air campaign alone won't do the job defeating ISIS, that is. You can't control the land. That you

need essentially boots on the ground. Would they have to be western boots on the ground, do you think?

RASMUSSEN: No. I wouldn't suggest western boots on the ground. I do believe that countries in the region should take responsibility for the security

and deploy troops on the ground. Through an air campaign you can do a lot, but you can't do the whole job. You will need troops on the ground.


GORANI: And you're talking about countries in the region such as what countries? Saudi Arabia or the Emirates or what exactly what armies do you

have in mind here?

RASMUSSEN: Yeah, well, I wouldn't exclude any in advance. But of course, the countries you mentioned, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Turkey, would

be excellent candidates for such an international coalition. We need a new strategy in Syria and Iraq, including enhanced efforts to find a political

solution and a reinforced fight against Islamic state. More needs to be done to defeat and dismantle Islamic states, and it's also important to

show our friends and partners in the region that we are committed and reliable allies.


RASMUSSEN: If we are disengaged or perceived to be disengaged, then the vacuum will be filled by the bad guys.

GORANI: Right. But I mean, i guess it sounds good, you know, in theory to call on countries like Saudi Arabia or Turkey to send ground troops. But

how feasible is it? There are so many diverging complex interests in the country that are really quite sectarian at this stage. Would you expect

troops from those countries that have clear positions with regards to who they support to actually wage battle on that country?

RASMUSSEN: I wouldn't suggest that it's easy. On the contrary it's a very complex situation. And basically there is no military solution to the

problems in Syria and Iraq. We need a political solution. But it is a pre- requisite for finding a political solution that Islamic state is defeated. And that's why I point to the fact that an air campaign alone won't do the



RASMUSSEN: But I think we should also focus more on finding a political solution, and that will take a gathering of all major stakeholders in the

region. And whether you like it or not, Iran is one of the stakeholders. And in return --


GORANI: And they're - and they're invited on Friday - they're invited on Friday to the talks.

RASMUSSEN: Yes. And in return, I think we should strengthen ties with our friends and allies in the region, including security ties and accommodate

their concerns. Because they are, and rightly so, very much concerned about the Iranian intentions.


GORANI: Right. Quickly on Turkey, I spoke with the Turkish Foreign Minister yesterday and about Turkey's targeting of some Kurdish militant fighters in

northern Syria. And are -- in her reporting our Clarissa Ward, spoke to some YPG fighters whose said they weren't well equipped enough by western

countries and they're saying that's -- so that western countries would not anger Turkey and continue its cooperation inside of Turkey for the use of

some of its bases, for instance.

I mean, this is such a complex situation that the U.S. cannot be seen as arming those who are now registering gains against ISIS. And how do you get

past that?

RASMUSSEN: Well, I think time has come to do more to provide weapons to fighters that have actually demonstrate that they are reliable and

committed fighters in the battle against Islamic state.


RASMUSSEN: So forget all theories. We have to look at this from a very practical point of view. And I think we in the west should do more to help

the moderate opposition both to fight the Islamic state but also to fight the Assad regime.


RASMUSSEN: Because it's important to understand that Assad cannot be an integrated part of a long-term sustainable solution. He initiated this

conflict through brutality, and he has used chemical weapons against his own people.

GORANI: All right. Anders Rasmussen, the ex Nato Secretary General, thanks very much for joining us from Massachusetts today we appreciate your time.

And by the way I'll be speaking with the state department spokesperson, Mark Toner, in about 15 minutes or so for his thoughts on Iran being

invited to talks for the first time on try to resolve the Syria situation.

Before I take a break, I want to update you a little bit on this breaking news we've been covering. That military blimp with some very, very

sophisticated surveillance and radar equipment on board.

I understand right now if I could ask my producer Laura, it has been brought down. Is that correct? It is actually on the ground. We'll have a

lot more on what happened. It broke loose from its tethering, caused a lot of chaos and a lot of concern over some populated areas. We'll have a lot

more after a quick break. Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.







GORANI: We continue with our breaking news story of that U.S. military blimp on the loose and we've been following the adventures or should we say

the miss-adventures of this aerostat as it's called. It's a military, it's an unmanned military blimp and it carries some very sophisticated material.

It has radar equipment on board, surveillance equipment, powerful cameras as well. So it was tethered at a base in Maryland and there was some

severe weather at the time and clearly it broke loose from its tether, it floated over some quite populated areas so it caused some concern.

It also created some damage because these big cables that it was tethered with were dragging on the ground. But thankfully we are hearing from the

Pentagon that the blimp is down in Montour County, Pennsylvania. And both the Montoursville and the Hazleton Pennsylvania state police troopers are

on their way toward this unmanned blimp which is currently on the ground. So not floating in the air anymore.


GORANI: Mary Schiavo joins me now live. She's one of our expert analysts on aviation with more on this unmanned military blimp. So this is - and we

were already speaking with lieutenant general Mark Hertling who served in Iraq. He said they actually lost two blimps when in northern Iraq. Not

entirely unusual. But in this particular case it shouldn't have happened. In bad weather these blimps should be brought down, shouldn't they?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN EXPERT AVIATION ANALYST: Right. And these are even larger than the ones that the General was talking about in Iraq. And these were

part of a special program run by a defense contractor in the United States to provide surveillance to the United States of incoming missiles, incoming

aircraft or enemy aircraft. And some of the aircraft that hasn't checked in with the Federal Aviation Administration literally up and down the east

coast of the seaboard.


SCHIAVO: So it had the potential to be a very important program. But it was also a very troubled program. The blimps never quite worked as they were

supposed to. So today's break free, fly free if you will, escape of a blimp, might be really problematic for this troubled program.

GORANI: All right. And we were talking about F-16 jets also earlier that were sent to sort of try to monitor this aerostats I was going to say

prison break here it seems from its mooring in Maryland. It ended up in Pennsylvania. What are the F-16 jets used for in this case?

SCHIAVO: In this case they were to monitor where the blimp was going, although the Federal Aviation Administration, our air traffic control, did

report that they were able to track the blimp, they were able to keep air traffic away from it. They didn't have to issue any special emergency

orders grounding any air traffic or anything like that. So the F-16s were tracking it.

I do not think they would have allowed the blimp escape outside U.S. Air space because of the sensitive nature of the program and the equipment that

was on board, and had they shot it down the blimp is compartmentalized. So it wouldn't be like a balloon bursting and coming straight down, they could

have tried to aim for certain compartments but the blimp lost helium on its own.

GORANI: It's interesting because it's unmanned but with such sensitive equipment on board you would think there would be a remote way of operating

it. But it seems there is none.

SCHIAVO: Well, that's right. If you look closely at pictures of the blimp you will see there isn't even any kind of propeller. It has the huge fins

on the back, but that's to keep it directionally stable as it floats free into the wind. The Goodyear blimp, for example, blimps that are controlled

they actually have a propeller on the back. Kind of like a very very large speed boat if you will.

But you don't see that on this blimp. So this was meant to be literally flying free on the end of this very heavy cable. It's a cable made out of

wire, a heavy wire cable. And that's why it was taking out power lines in Pennsylvania.

GORANI: Right. We know 20 plus thousand people don't have power because of it.



GORANI: Thanks very much, Mary Schiavo, really appreciate your time.

SCHAIVO: Thank you.

GORANI: Still to come the other news we're following this hour. One moment he was loading boxes, the next taking blows from the boots of Israeli



GORANI: We'll tell you about a disturbing incident caught on a camera in the West Bank.





GORANI: Now to the brutal beating of a Palestinian man by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. The Israeli military says that it is investigating.

An Israeli human rights group released surveillance footage of the incident. It says the man required hospital treatment and was detained for

days after the beating because he was wrongly suspected of throwing stones. Our Oren Liebermann has the story.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ansar Assi is cautious, loading boxes in a store room in Ramallah. There are clashes just down the

road between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters. He is used to being cautious. Surveillance video shows him raise his hands as a soldier


He shows me where he was standing when the soldier rushed in. He says the soldier pushed him to the ground and began beating him, kicking him. He

tells me he tried to speak Hebrew but he says they he didn't care what he said.

For nearly five minutes the beating continues, four soldiers inside, two outside. They kick him repeatedly while he's on the ground neither bottom

of the picture, then jab him with the barrel of their weapons. Assi shows me the marks he still bears from the beating.

ANSAR ASSI: Two weeks later here you can still see the mark.

LIEBERMANN: This video comes during weeks of violence between Palestinians and Israelis. With tensions high across Jerusalem and the West Bank each

side accuses the other of incitement. This video from October 6th was recently released by B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization.

LYAD HADAD, B'TSELEM RESEARCHER: When the military saw this video on YouTube, they told us that they're already opening an investigation into

the case, and they want the information about the victim.

LIEBERMANN: The owner moved the camera you see above me to get a better view of what's happening inside this store room. The IDF after seeing the

video says the incident is under investigation. They say it appears the soldiers in the video acted inappropriately.

B'Tselem says Assi who was arrested at the scene faces no charges. After we speak with Assi and B'Tselem, they met that same afternoon with

investigators. Videos have played a large part in incitement and reinforcing the narrative of each side. But Assi says that's not what this

is about. For Assi this is about a video holding soldiers responsible.

Oren Liebermann, CNN Ramallah.


GORANI: This is The World Right Now. Coming up.

It is a new shift to diplomatic efforts to try to come to a solution in Syria.


GORANI: That's because Iran for the time will now be at the table. I'll be getting reaction from the U.S. State department in just a few minutes.






GORANI: Welcome back. A look at our top stories. We've been following that breaking news of the U.S. Military blimp that floated away from its

mooring. It is now on the ground in the U.S. State of Pennsylvania.


GORANI: It's been confirmed by the Pentagon. And also we can see it in the newest pictures coming to us from Bloomberg, Pennsylvania. You can see it

there. Did it get caught in the trees? Was it brought down for some other reason? Unclear at this stage. The blimp was seen in the skies over a

school before eventually it lost some of its -- it was deflated somewhat and landed as you can see there in some trees. Earlier, two fighter jets

were scrambled to escort it. The aircraft is full of some highly sophisticated radar and camera equipment. And normally used for



GORANI: A quick look at our other top stories, police in Turkey have stormed the offices of an opposition media company in Istanbul.


GORANI: Water cannon and pepper spray were used to disperse a crowd outside. The company has links to an Islamic preacher who is critical of

President Erdogan. Turkey heads to the polls on Sunday for the second time in a year.


GORANI: And a police officer who carried out a violent arrest at a U.S. High school has been fired.


GORANI: Ben Fields lost his job after this shocking video of the incident became public. That's a 16-year-old girl there knocked to the ground. He

was attempting to arrest the student for disrupting class.



GORANI: Let us return now to one of our top stories. And for the first time, Iran will be around the table in talks to try and come up with some

sort of solution for Syria. Let's get more on this. I'm joined from Washington by Mark Toner, the Deputy Spokesperson for the U.S. State


Mark Toner, thanks for being with us. Who sent out the invitation to Iran for talks in Vienna Thursday, Friday?

MARK TONER, DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, you know, this is a process. And so there were talks last week. Frankly there were

talks beginning at the U.N General assembly. And a core group emerged, Jordan, turkey, Russia, Saudi Arabia is also part of those discussions and

there was discussions just last week in Vienna. And this is building on that process. But we said all along that ultimately Iran would have to be a

part of this process. They are a part of the stakeholders in Syria. So more important than who sent what invitation to whom, you know Iran is going to

be at the table. That's important because we've got all the stakeholder -- relevant stakeholders around talking about the way forward in Syria. And

that puts us closer to eventually a process here.


GORANI: But I guess it's significant because if Russia, for instance, is the one that reached out to Iran and Iran is now at the table for the first

time on Syria talks, it seems as though Russia is really the one making the significant moves here in this process. Would that be fair to say?

TONER: No. Look, I wouldn't read too much into who invited whom. What's important here -- and the Secretary has been very clear about this -- is

that we need to build a process by which every stakeholder on the conflict in Syria is at the table talking about a way forward, charting a way

forward for Syria, for the Syrian people. Whether it's Russia, whether it's Iran, whether it's Iraq, whether it's Jordan, all of the relevant

stakeholders, frankly the E.U. is also, there are so many people now so many regions, so many countries affected by the crisis, including obviously

the people in Syria.


GORANI: I was going to say, one country not mentioned on the list there is Syria. Are any Syrians represented in these talks?

TONER: Well again, this is another meeting. We've had a series of multilateral meetings. It's a bigger meeting this time. We're talking about

a way forward for the Syrian people with the relevant stakeholders. You're absolutely right. There's not a Syrian presence at least at this meeting.

That needs to be obviously built in. But that is a conversation that Russia, other relevant stakeholders who have influence over Assad need to

have with the Assad regime.

And ultimately you know we reaching out to the moderate opposition, the Syrian opposition, they need to come together obviously in a political

resolution to the situation.

GORANI: So how are things going to be different with Iran at the table?

TONER: Well, look. I don't want to try to -- I don't want to get into hypotheticals what may work out. We're -- we think it's significant that

they're going to be at the table. Whether Iran wants to be constructive in this process, that's really for Iran to decide. We said the same thing

about Russia.

You know if Russia wants to play a constructive role in this process going forward, it's up to them to do so. Thus far, based on their actions in

support of Assad, we haven't really seen that. So we are looking for actions, not just words.

GORANI: Can I ask you, did Saudi Arabia of course the archrival of Iran here, both countries fighting really for all intents and purposes proxy

battles inside of Syria. Is Saudi Arabia did it give its approval for Iran's presence at the table in Vienna? Or was it asked for its approval?

TONER: That's a question for the Saudi government to answer. They're going to be there. The Iranians as you've already announced are going to be

there. We're going to have a broad representation at this meeting. There's going to be bilateral meetings but also as you said multilateral meetings.

What's important here and what's key is that we're getting relevant stakeholders around the table to talk about a process. We're not expecting

a breakthrough. But we're expecting these talks to continue going forward. We're expecting this conversation to lead to a process that ultimately can

bring a political resolution, which we've long said is the only way to end the conflict in Syria.

GORANI: Mark Toner at the State Department, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

TONER: Thank you.

GORANI: All right. They are desperate, they are frightened and they are going to increasingly dramatic lengths for a chance at a new life.


GORANI: Despite plummeting temperatures, migrants are still scrambling to make it to Europe. Germany has registered more than 20,000 arrivals so far.

This is in one week, this one week. But with growing fears of the dangerous Mediterranean crossing and extreme new route is emerging, one that sees

migrants travel north through Russia to Norway.

Here's CNN's Arwa Damon, and we warn you her report contains a disturbing image.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Struggling to peddle on the fresh snow, the first asylum seekers to arrive on this day brave the

bitter cold, cycling the last few hundred meters. Though some don't even bother to try.


DAMON: Russia only allows vehicles, which includes bicycles, to cross at this border into Norway. We can easily see the Russian border crossing from

here, but we've been asked not to film it because of sensitivities on the Russian side. The group of asylum seekers we just saw crossing are being

processed. But Norwegian authorities do not allow the media to interview them at this stage in the procedures.

The first to attempt this arctic route were Syrians back in February. Then only a handful at a time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number has increase add lot since August this year. We went from 420 for the whole all of August until now we are about 500 a

week in October.

DAMON: The discarded bicycles still partially covered in plastic will be recycled. Sold in Russia to the asylum seekers at about $200 they are of

such poor quality they don't live up to Norway's safety standards.

Most of those coming through here are Syrians and Afghans. They come to Russia on a visa or have residency. Eventually make their way to this

remote crossing and into northern Norway. Temporarily housed in a recreation center tucked into the side of a mountain. The skies darken by

midafternoon, just one of the many novelties.

(Tiba's) husband is already in Germany. He risked the sea journey from Turkey to Greece. But that was not an option for their children. With a

three-year visa to Russia when word spread about this route, (Tiba) knew it was their best and most importantly safest option.

The image of Aylan Kurdi who washed up on Turkey's shore over the summer is etched into every parent's mind. It gave (Ahmed) nightmares. His son is

roughly the same age. But he, a civil engineer, was lucky enough to have the arctic option.

AHEMD, SYRIAN ASYLUM SEEKER: It's not available to all people. That makes you feel bad. I have a kid.

DAMON: It's a deeply emotional time for the majority of those here. Many don't want to talk about the past. Don't want to be defined in that way.

Choosing instead to hope for a better future.

Arwa Damon, CNN, (inaudible) Norway.


GORANI: Well, Austria has outlined plans to build barriers and a fence at a border crossing with Slovenia.


GORANI: The Interior Ministry says it's only designed to regulate the arrival of migrants from Slovenia to Austria. Basically to help organize

the reception and checks, it says. Several thousand migrants have been using the Speilfeld border crossing every day.


GORANI: And don't forget you can get all the latest news and also our analysis from the show on my Facebook page, Am

I forgetting my own name? Halagoranicnn -

All right, a big night ahead for U.S. Republican President hopefuls as they take the stage for another debate.


GORANI: And there's a new leader rising in the polls. We're live in Colorado.






GORANI: Turning to U.S. Politics now, the field of Republican Presidential candidates is preparing to face off in their third debate. They've been

ratings winners, by the way. One notable difference this time around. Donald Trump, who most of you are familiar with, is no longer in first

place, according to public opinion polls. The debate will take place in Boulder, Colorado. Our Sara Murray joins us from there. And we have a new

leader in the person of Ben Carson. How is that going to change things for this debate, Sarah?

SARA MURRAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think this could really change the dynamic of the debate tonight. For one, Donald Trump does not

like to be in second place. He was campaigning in Iowa last night, speaking very openly to the voters there saying, I don't understand what happened. I

don't understand why I'm in second in Iowa.


MURRAY: What can you guys do to help me? As for Ben Carson, there is a new level of scrutiny that comes with being a frontrunner. It means the other

candidates on stage are paying closer attention to you. They want to take you down. It means the moderators are going to be asking more pointed

questions of you. So I think it will be interesting to see how those two stack up on their own and how much we see them going head-to-head tonight.

GORANI: And one presumably can predict a lot of public interest in this debate. But how - how do experts explain this Ben Carson leader position on

the leader board? I mean, he's said things that have been very controversial like if there wasn't gun control in Germany in the 30s, you

know Germans could have risen up against the Nazis and prevented the holocaust. He's said things that have been extremely some might call them

bizarre. So who is he appealing to exactly?

MURRAY: Well, I think it will be interesting to see if Carson has to answer for any of the things like you said that have been very controversial that

he's said before. You know this debate is supposed to be mainly focused on the economy, mainly focused on fiscal policy. But my guess is the

moderators are going to try to cover a broad range of topics. And I would be surprised if you don't see them asking Ben Carson if he wants to sort of

explain or take back some of the more controversial things he's said.

Look, when you talk to voters, they like the fact that Carson's not a politician, that Trump's not a politician. So it's a fine line for these

guys to walk to seem palatable to a wider audience but also to make sure they're still keeping their you know core fans happy.


GORANI: Can I ask you, there's some sort of protest going on behind you. Who -- what are they protesting, the people there?

MURRAY: There is a protest going behind me. They're protesting a variety of things. A couple of them are protesting gun policy but this is pretty

common for Republican events. There is always counter programming, there are always Democrats who are showing up with their own agenda. And earlier

today Martin O'Malley was out here kind of trolling if you will the Republicans at their own debate.

And so, this is kind of the way it goes for a Republican running right now. There are certain plenty of people - plenty of people in Colorado, a swing

state, that aren't going to agree with what candidates have to say on stage tonight.

GORANI: OK, Sarah Murray, thanks very much. Boulder, Colorado ahead of this third Republican debate. This is The World Right Now.


GORANI: Still ahead, this police officer is out of a job after violent arrest in a high school classroom. We'll have the latest on the

investigations into the incident next.






GORANI: Well you might remember some shocking video we showed you on the program yesterday as a South Carolina police officer working in a school

slammed a student to the floor. Now that officer has been fired.


GORANI: Ben Fields lost his job after he did this. He overturned a student's desk. He dragged her across the classroom. He was trying to

arrest the 16-year-old for disturbing class.

Let's cross to Columbia, South Carolina now.


GORANI: CNN's Martin Savidge is live outside the high school where all of this took place. So how was the firing of this officer Fields, how was it

announced? What was said about it? It just happened rather quickly after an investigation, it seems.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it was very quickly, Hala, as a matter of fact, about 48 hours almost exactly after this

incident occurred which was on Monday morning. Then you had the sheriff of this particular county which oversees that officer, by the way. And he said

he had done the wrong thing that he had violated police procedure by not the way he initially took down that student but apparently the real problem

was then throwing the student across the room.

Of course, that video, there's a number of those videos from the classroom, has horrified many people all across the nation, maybe even beyond. And so

it came as no surprise that that officer was then summarily fired by his boss today. There was little that anyone could see where he might hold onto

his job.

We haven't heard from this particular officer as yet. It's possible he may later give a statement. But no one was celebrating. I mean, we know he

loses his job. I just think that in many cases many people felt a sigh of relief. But this was not unexpected. What you want to hear now is I'm going

to play for you the sheriff. And it's interesting just as he talks that he blames, yes, the deputy, but also the young woman who started all of this.

Take a listen.

LEON LOTT, RICHMOND COUNTY SHERRIFF: We must not lose sight that this whole incident started by this student. She is responsible for initiating this

action. There's some responsibility that falls on her. Now, the action of our deputies, we take responsibility for that. But we also have to put

responsibility on her for disrupting that school, disrupting that class, and causing this incident to start from the very beginning.


SAVIDGE: According to that young lady's attorney, she did suffer injuries as a result of that violent incident, injury to her head and also some kind

of injury to her arm. We don't know how serious, Hala.

GORANI: And have -- we have not heard from the actual high school student, the 16-year-old, correct?

SAVIDGE: No. She has not been identified. Of course, she's a juvenile. So that's the reason that she has not been publicly identified. There have

been other people who were in the classroom that have come forward. Some have given varying accounts.



SAVIDGE: One young lady who tried to stand up and apparently come to this girl's defense, she too was arrested. There was another male student who

took a video. And he said that actually it looked like what the officer was doing seemed appropriate given the way this young lady was disturbing and

disrupting the class.

GORANI: All right, Martin Savidge, in South Carolina with the latest on this video. It happened in a small high school in South Carolina but it

made news all over the world. Thanks very much for that update.


GORANI: And before we leave you tonight, one more update on our breaking news. The U.S. military blimp that floated away from its mooring, it is now

on the ground in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.


GORANI: It actually had time to float over two U.S. states before deflating and landing in some trees. There you see it. Its final resting place. Or at

least its resting place for now. A cable dangling from the blimp took out a number of power lines, an estimated 20,000 people are without electric

power because of it. But this story has come to an end. And so has this program.


GORANI: Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. "Quest Means Business "is next.