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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Syrian Forces Occupy All of Aleppo; Trump Taps Tillerson for State Department; ISIS Leaders Hit in Coalition Airstrike; Lawmakers Call for Investigation Into Russian Hacking; Geothermal Power Rises in Kenya; Actor Explores London's Hidden Gems; One Boy's Dreams Comes True After "The Jungle"
Aired December 13, 2016 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:15] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news to bring you now, Russia says the Syrian regime has control over the eastern part of Aleppo. No
caveat there. The United Nations Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, told an emergency meeting of the Security Council that the military operation there
is over. And that it is time in his words for "practical humanitarian initiatives". Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (through translator): Now the most important thing that counterterrorist operation in Aleppo will
conclude in the next few hours. All militants together with members of their family and the injured currently are going through agreed corridors
in directions that they've chosen themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. This comes after 24 hours of hell. Before this broke, the United Nations said Syrian government forces had executed men, women
and children in their own homes Monday night, according to reports. Take a look at some of the latest video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: As the regime clawed back Aleppo street by street, there were still activists and civilians cowering in what little territory remained in
rebel hands. A few people have been brave enough to speak out about atrocities, even while the army was drawing closer to their locations.
ISMAIL AL-ABDULLAH, SYRIA CIVIL DEFENCE VOLUNTEER: Assad's forces when they entered --when they entered this neighborhood, they executed 82
people. And the relatives of the victims who are now with us told us they were executed including (INAUDIBLE) 13 kids and seven women. All of them
And what we are now, and what we worry about, about our (INAUDIBLE) that maybe the genocide, the genocide will happen in the coming days, and
nothing will stop them in the coming hours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And that was a Syria civil defense volunteer, one of the White Helmets speaking earlier. But you have to understand this about Aleppo,
not everyone on the ground is necessarily unhappy about recent developments. This in western Aleppo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Talk about a city divided. But half of the city long controlled by Bashar al-Assad's forces you saw among some at least, shouts of joy at
the prospect of an end of the battle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, I want to take you straight inside eastern Aleppo. Bilal Abdul Kareem is an independent journalist. He joins me now. He is
inside rebel-held territory.
Bilal, thanks for being with us. First of all, we're hearing from the Russian Ambassador at the U.N. that the operations are over, that the
regime is in control basically of eastern Aleppo. Is that something that you're witnessing, that you're seeing? Clearly, you're still talking to us
BILAL ABDUL KAREEM, INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST IN ALEPPO: No, the regime's not in control of all of eastern Aleppo. Therefore, that's why the agreement
had to be put in place so that they could get the rest of the control so they could -- they could take control of the rest of eastern Aleppo from
rebel forces without there being any further bloodshed. But to say that they're in control of eastern Aleppo at the moment is inaccurate. And
neither was this a counterterrorism operation.
GORANI: Right, that's coming from the, by the way, the U.N. -- the Russian ambassador to the U.N. calling it a counterterrorism operation. But let me
ask you about what you're hearing, what you're able to see from your vantage point is what exactly, Bilal, in east Aleppo?
ABDUL KAREEM: Well, eastern Aleppo -- it was just our good fortune that today, it was a rainy day. And being that it was raining, the planes were
not buzzing overhead and dropping bombs and missiles on the people as it has been doing for quite some time. So that was the plus.
Now that the agreement appears to be for real and it's in place, it's a mixed reaction. Some of the fighters are very sad because they leave
behind five years' worth of fighting, family members buried under rubble. And so much blood has been spilled.
Some people are happy that the bombings are now officially, if you want to call it that, over. And they're happy about that. But what I really say
that there's anybody who's happy, the way things are turning out, people are happy that they are pretty confident they might be alive tomorrow.
[15:05:03] And that's a good thing. But I don't think that anybody here is happy with the way things have turned out, no.
GORANI: So what's the expectation now? Because there's this agreement, it's not a situation where the regime is in control of all of eastern
Aleppo, as you're telling us. You're on the ground there. What happens in the next few hours, then?
ABDUL KAREEM: Well, from what I understand, they are trying to organize so that the fighters and their families and from also what I understand, any
civilians that may want to leave, would be free to go.
They seem to want to do this sooner rather than later. They're supposed to be organizing for about 1,000 people to leave tonight. But I cannot
confirm that. I know that there are some movements being made. That's what the expectations are. And that some will be allowed to go in the
direction of Jarabulus, and some will be allowed to go in the direction of Idlib. So, this is what I'm seeing here on the ground right now.
GORANI: And lastly, we have heard from the U.N. And we'll be speaking to them in a few minutes about these reports of executions on the spot of some
in rebel- held territory. So there has to be some concern among the activists and relatives of rebels, that if they board buses, where will
they be going? I mean, they have to be, some of them, quite frightened.
ABDUL KAREEM: Certainly. There's no question about it. I mean, what the Syrian Arab Army has been doing when they take over a territory is that
people are executed. It's as simple as that. But this is not new. This isn't something that began November the 15th, or last year, or in previous
years. This is what the Syrian Arab Army has been doing all along.
And when you have on your ledger a half a million countrymen who have been killed, that's a big deterrent from the civilians wanting to go over to the
regime side. And that's why many of the civilians simply just did not want to go. So --
ABDUL KAREEM: Yes. I'm sorry. Go ahead.
GORANI: No, finish your thought.
ABDUL KAREEM: So I think that that's a major problem that's going to have to be addressed in the next few hours because there are a lot of civilians
that are here that don't want to be here.
GORANI: Right. Bilal Abdul Kareem in eastern Aleppo. Thanks very much. An independent filmmaker there, joining us while we hope that you're able
to stay safe. Thanks very much.
A very important and defining day for Syria. Let's get the latest from the region. Fred Pleitgen was recently in Aleppo. He joins me from there. We
have Jomana Karadsheh joins me live from Amman.
What are you hearing from your sources about this essentially victory, this -- what appears to be a very -- in very short order, a complete victory for
the regime in eastern Aleppo?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly looks that way.
But I think one of the things that over the past couple of hours that has been becoming more clear is that it was only a matter of time before the
forces of the pro-government factions there, not just the Syrian government soldiers. But of course, also all of their allied factions including
Hezbollah, including Syrian Palestinian fighters.
Of course, a large Russian presence on the ground and in the air as well, that it was only a matter of time before they would take back that last
rebel enclave. And if they did, that most probably it would be in a very bloody way, especially judging by the amount of firepower that we've seen
unleashed on those eastern districts over the past couple of days that we were there until this weekend, until Saturday.
So certainly for their perspective, this is probably the best solution because what it does is, it stops the fighting, and at the same time, you
will see government control of all of Aleppo very soon. And I've been Skyping and I've been talking to some people who are in and around Aleppo
who are in the pro-government areas. And there are celebrations on the ground.
There are people who are celebrating this who believe that this is a victory and who look forward to all of it being under government control
once again. Then of course, you have those people in those eastern districts, many of whom have escaped those besieged areas, who are still
living in very dire conditions, many of them in shelters for displaced people who simply wanted the fighting to stop and who wanted to get to a
place where they were not under threat anymore, Hala.
GORANI: All right. And for others, there may not be joy but at the very least some relief that perhaps tomorrow they'll get to live another day.
Jomana Karadsheh is in Amman. And you've been speaking to people trapped inside eastern Aleppo. And some of them have posted absolutely
heartbreaking messages online. Essentially saying, "Goodbye, I may not be here tomorrow."
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, for months now, for weeks, we've been speaking to people in eastern Aleppo who have been trapped in
this living nightmare.
[15:10:04] And I have to say, yesterday afternoon, yesterday evening, speaking to these same people, they sounded so different.
You really could hear fear like I've never heard it before in their voices. You could hear despair, frustration and anger with the international
community. There was also that realization that this was it, that it was over, and it was going to end. But they really didn't know how this was
going to end. There was that overwhelming fear that it could end in a bloodbath, that there could be a massacre. And that is why a number of
people, those with access to social media, started posting these messages and videos with their final messages and goodbyes.
Take a listen to some of these messages, Hala.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINA SHAMY, ACTIVIST: To everyone who can hear me. We are here exposed to a genocide in the besieged city of Aleppo. This may be my last video.
MOHAMMED EDEL (ph): I am going to be killed. That thought is going to happen. I'm going to be killed.
ABDULKAFI ALHAMDU, ACTIVIST: We didn't want anything else but freedom. I hope you can remember us. I don't know (ph). Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARADSHE: And the last person you were listening to is Abdulkafi Alhamdu. He is an activist. He's an English teacher. We've been speaking to him
for a few weeks now. He's also the father of a nine-month-old baby girl and his messages throughout have been that he wants someone to save his
little girl because he just felt that he could no longer protect his child, Hala.
GORANI: And Fred, back to you in Beirut. What is next now? I mean, that's what so many people are wondering. It's a victory for the regime.
There's no more fighting. They're controlling, now, it seems the entirety of the city. Or they will very soon. I mean, we were hearing there from
an independent filmmaker that there are still pockets where rebels are still operating from. But what happens in the coming days and weeks?
PLEITGEN: Well, first of all, the big thing is going to be to try and get the aid that the people who have left those eastern districts, get to them
aid to make sure that they survive the next couple of days, the next couple of weeks. Because we know, I mean, it's the middle of winter in Aleppo.
The weather's very bad. There's very little in the way of food for these people, and shelter as well. Because so much of those eastern districts
was, of course, destroyed as all of that fighting was going on.
You know, we're talking about right now evacuating the last small area that the rebels still held. But in the days before that, there were tens of
thousands of people who crossed that frontline and made their way out. And all of them require a lot of attention.
There are so many people who are wounded. There are so many people who are sick. We haven't had medical attention in weeks and months. Getting them
the care that they need is, of course, of the utmost importance. Making sure that international aid organizations can bring large scale aid and
coordinate it in there as well.
What we saw when we were in some of those displaced shelters was a valiant effort by smaller aid groups, but certainly, not enough to care for the
tens of thousands who are really in very, very bad condition.
And then of course, there's going to be a process where all these neighborhoods need to be cleared. There's still, of course, a lot of
unexploded munitions there. There's a lot of debris on the street. All of that is a process that probably will start very quickly. But we also know
that of course, the Syrian government does not have the capacity to rebuild Aleppo anytime soon.
GORANI: Fred Pleitgen is in Beirut. Jomana Karadsheh in Amman. Thanks very much to both of you for helping us cover this breaking news out of
Now this is a quote. "It looks like a complete meltdown of humanity in Aleppo." It was from the U.N.'s view. This is the U.N.'s view of the
situation in the Syrian city earlier.
Let's go live to Geneva and speak to Rupert Colville. He's the spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Thanks for
being with us, Mr. Colville.
One of the things you were quoted as saying in the press today were, you were quoting reports that there had been some summary executions in Aleppo.
How concerned are you about this type of retribution now?
RUPERT COLVILLE, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS SPOKESPERSON: Extremely concerned.
You know, we heard of 82 individuals, we have the names. These are people who were apparently shot while they were in the street, trying to escape,
or possibly just (INAUDIBLE) in the street. Or even shot inside their homes or in basements or cellars where they were sheltering across four
different districts. And I think there are some patterns. For example, particular families that were targeted.
So that was extremely worrying. We're also very, very concerned for the tens of thousands who have managed to get out of eastern Aleppo. And what
happened to them and particularly I would say to the former fighters or people suspected of being former fighters.
So, it's not just the people who are inside, and thank goodness, it does seem there is an agreement now. Let's hope that holds for them at least.
[15:15:00] GORANI: What's happening in Aleppo is so shocking. Of course, people want to be able to know who to blame, because after all, world
powers have had years to try to sort something out, and they haven't managed it. The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, and I want
you to listen to this, Mr. Colville, had this to say at the Security Council just minutes ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there literally nothing that can shame you? Is there no act of
barbarism against civilians, no execution of a child that gets under your skin, that just creeps you out a little bit? Is there nothing you will not
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Samantha Power speaking to the Russian representatives there. I mean, I know your job depends a lot on what some of these diplomats are
able to achieve. This is the level of discourse today, as Aleppo is about to fall. I mean, how does that make -- how does that affect your job, your
ability to do your job?
COLVILLE: Well, I think everybody's ability to do anything in Syria has been really shaped by the total paralysis and failure of the Security
Council. For five years, they've failed to cope with the situation. And that's what the council exists for. It's to bring peace and security. And
it's been completely deadlocked and ineffective.
So I think that's -- I think everybody recognizes that. And Samantha Power is putting it into very powerful words there. And it's, yes, a failure of
the major powers. At the end of the day, you're talking really the five main powers in the Security Council that have a veto. And in some cases,
to use that veto to block really anything that's happening in Syria.
GORANI: Certainly that's happening and we've witnessed it time and time again. What is your biggest concern now in Syria?
COLVILLE: Well, I think, you know, Aleppo has been absolutely ghastly. But one shouldn't forget other places. That the attention on Aleppo is
rather, made us forget there are many other parts of the country, many other towns and cities that are also under siege.
We've seen very heavy bombardment in Idlib, which is the government (ph) next door to Aleppo, in recent days. And obviously what I'm concerned that
what we've seen in Aleppo may start to happen in other places as well and deep bombardments have been continuing throughout.
GORANI: Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Thanks very much for joining us live from Geneva this
Still to come tonight. We now know who Donald Trump has picked to be the face of American diplomacy around the world. Not a household name
internationally unless you follow business news. He is Rex Tillerson. And see why he could face a tough confirmation fight. Stay with us.
[15:20:00] GORANI: Donald Trump is putting the world on notice that change is coming to U.S. foreign policy. Today, he ended weeks of speculation
about his pick for Secretary of State and he appointed ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
Tillerson has no government experience whatsoever. But Trump says he knows how to manage a global enterprise and will help reverse "years of misguided
foreign policies and actions". It's not a done deal, though. Tillerson needs Senate confirmation and could face a tough fight over close ties to
Russia, very close. A Trump spokesperson says Tillerson's business relations will help him broker good deals for Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON MILLER, TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM SPOKESPERSON: This guy is a world class businessman. He is a world-class absolute negotiator. And that's the
thing. We have to get back to actually winning for Americans. So we can put together good tough deals.
Rex Tillerson has actually stood up and said, "No," to Vladimir Putin. He's also someone who has the respect of Putin where he can put together --
find ways to work together on common fronts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, we also learned today who Trump wants to serve as Energy Secretary. Sources tell CNN he's tapped Rick Perry, a familiar face. He's
a former Republican governor of Texas. Perry once ran for president himself. And interestingly, he once called for the abolishment of the
department he's been picked to lead.
Now, let's talk about Rex Tillerson some more, and also some of the statements that Donald Trump has made about China. Gary Locke is a former
U.S. Ambassador to China, a former governor of Washington, a former Commerce secretary. He joins us now live from Seattle. Thanks very much,
sir, for being with us. I want to ask you first about --
GARY LOCKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: My pleasure.
GORANI: -- Rex Tillerson. So the idea that he'd have conflicts of interest, that's he's been just a businessman, that he doesn't have
diplomatic experience. Now, some would say that's precisely what we need. We need someone who's going to bring a fresh outlook to the State
Department. What is your reaction?
LOCKE: Well, it's not critical that the person have government experience. But that person must be, I think, skillful knowledge about world affairs,
understands the different cultures, the different ethnic groups even within a particular country, especially throughout the Middle East and the
different religious tensions, and religious groups.
But ultimately, that person has to be an effective communicator with the leaders of other countries, has to be a skilled negotiator. And has to
really carry the support of the president, the American people, and know what his or her mission is.
GORANI: Ambassador, those who are fed up with the establishment will say, "What have diplomats achieved in the last eight years?" Look at Syria.
It's been a constant back and forth.
The U.N. Security Council can't stop the bloodshed there. Other issues really haven't been resolved by career diplomats. So here's a man who can
manage a basically mini state almost. It's such a large rich corporation.
Are you willing to give him a chance to succeed?
LOCKE: Well, first of all, most secretaries of state, the past secretaries of states have not been career diplomats. But they have been very
knowledgeable about world affairs. They've surely --
GORANI: But they've had government experience, extensive government experience.
GORANI: Like John Kerry.
GORANI: Or even Hillary Clinton.
LOCKE: But not necessarily a career diplomat. I wouldn't consider a member of the U.S. Senate, or a person who's worked in the White House as
having -- as being a career diplomat. But certainly, knowledgeable about world affairs and knowledgeable about the operations of government.
Mr. Tillerson, as a CEO of a major corporation, I'm sure is familiar with the workings of government and has worked with world leaders and people all
around the world. So I'll give him that. And I do very much hope that he can succeed. Because we have so many critical issues that America is
facing around the world. And we need a strong respected, capable, knowledgeable secretary of state.
Now, what's troublesome are his extensive business holdings, and especially in the oil and gas industry, the business dealings of ExxonMobil. The
secretary of state simply has to divest, sell off all of his stock, put those proceeds into a blind trust so that he has absolutely no knowledge of
what the trustee is holding.
And many members going into the Cabinet have been required to sell off all of their stocks and holdings, all of their assets, and put them into a
blind trust. You just can't -- for instance, if you own lots of Microsoft stock, you can't put Microsoft stock or ExxonMobil stock into -- with a
trustee because you know that the trustee still has your ExxonMobil stock or your Microsoft stock.
GORANI: Right, and if he didn't do that --
LOCKE: And so therefore, the trustee --
GORANI: I was going to say, governor, if he didn't do that --
LOCKE: Well, yes, I think that --
GORANI: -- you'd be quite uncomfortable.
LOCKE: That would be a huge conflict of interest. And that person also has to give up any all stock options that he or she may be scheduled to
receive from the company that he's going to be retiring from, ExxonMobil.
I know that he was planning on retiring. He's subject to mandatory retirement in a few months anyway. But he's going to have all these stock
options that will vest -- that he'll be given and all kinds of stock that he'll be given in ExxonMobil.
[15:25:04] Will he sell those all off?
GORANI: And let me ask you, of course, about the statements that Donald Trump has made about the One China policy. He took that phone call from
the President of Taiwan. China clearly upset about that. You know China very well, having served as ambassador there.
I guess, again, the devil's advocate position here is what's wrong with shaking things up a little bit? And just using anything that you can,
anything at your disposal, to bargain for a better deal? This is what Donald Trump is doing.
LOCKE: Well, first of all. China, Mainland China, views Taiwan as part of China. You know, China went into a civil war between the nationalists and
the communists and it ended up in 1949 the communists winning and driving the nationalists to the island of Taiwan.
The nationalists on Taiwan still claim to be the legitimate government, not just of Taiwan, but of the mainland. And of course, the mainland
government, the communists, view Taiwan as really a province and as part of the territory of mainland.
So you can only recognize one government, only -- you know, only one entity speaks for the other or controls everything. You can't have -- recognize
two governments who are claiming to be the sovereignty for the same piece of territory.
GORANI: Sure. No, I absolutely understand that. But --
LOCKE: And since 1979, we have recognized --
GORANI: -- he's clearly wanting to -- I was going to say, he's clearly wanting to --
LOCKE: I'm sorry, go ahead.
GORANI: -- be very unconventional and to say, "I don't have to be bound by this. It doesn't serve necessarily U.S. interests." I mean, his
supporters are saying, "This is why we elected him."
LOCKE: Well, obviously, the people want change. But the question is, do they want change such that we have massive unemployment because American
companies can no longer sell their things into China? And do they want all the products that they do buy from China, whether it's at Macy's or Target
or Walmart, going up by 45 percent, 50 percent? Donald Trump has said that, day one, he wants to raise the tariffs on all goods coming from China
by almost 45 percent.
That's basically raising the prices of everything coming from China by 45 percent, whether it's the microwave ovens that you buy at the appliance
store, or your clothes, or tools, or toys. Do you want those -- or your iPhones going up by 45 percent?
Now, he may even say that he's only going to impose tariffs on a few Chinese items. Well, the Chinese can -- you know, can also say, "Well,
then we'll raise tariffs on a few American products." Like all the soybeans that America ships to China.
45 percent of -- almost 50 percent of all the soybeans that American farmers grow are exported to China. 25 percent of all of our cotton that
we grow is exported to China. And almost 25 percent of all those Boeing airplanes, and Boeing employees over 200,000 people, 25 percent drop in
sales of Boeing airplanes would have massive implications on all of those manufacturing jobs in the United States.
So, are we prepared for that?
GORANI: Exactly. It's always a more complicated --
LOCKE: Is that the type of change we want?
GORANI: It's always a more complicated picture. Thank you very much for joining us, a really fascinating conversation. Gary Locke joining us from
Seattle, my birth city, in fact, Ambassador Locke.
LOCKE: That's right.
GORANI: Thank you for joining us. We really appreciate it.
LOCKE: And the Sounders just won the championship, the Seattle Sounders.
GORANI: Congratulations. Thank you very much.
Now, the Kremlin appears pleased with Tillerson's nomination. It calls him respectable and professional, noting he has strong ties with Russian
officials. Those comments, no doubt, just deepening some of those concerns that Tillerson has too close a relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia.
Let's bring in CNN Money's Cristina Alesci. So, let's first talk about the big question regarding sanctions against Russia. Is there the expectation
that perhaps the appointment of Mr. Tillerson as Secretary of State would lead to a scenario in which the U.S. would be more willing to drop some of
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's certainly a question that he's going to get in the vetting process. But we know for a fact, as CEO of
Exxon, he was opposed to sanctions. And Hala, there's a good reason for that. The sanctions cost Exxon a lot of money. Tillerson orchestrated one
of the biggest deals with Russian oil giant, Rosneft, to develop projects in Siberia, the Black Sea, the Arctic. And that deal was signed in 2011.
Three years later, the E.U. and the U.S. imposed sanctions. And Exxon ended up taking a billion-dollar loss. This is why some lawmakers are so
concerned about Tillerson.
As Secretary of State, he could push for a relief or a removal of those sanctions, which would be a windfall for Exxon. But, is that in the best
interest of America?
Well, we don't know the answer to that question. But, Tillerson owns about 600,000 shares of Exxon, which he'll, of course, have to sell to avoid the
kind of conflict that we just discussed.
[15:30:06] And he'll have to figure out how to handle the $184 million in Exxon stock he still -- he has been promised. So he still hasn't gotten
that amount but he's been promised that amount, and that was all part of a compensation deal while he was CEO, of course.
GORANI: Cristina Alesci, thanks very much, in New York with more on Rex Tillerson's business interests and past.
Next, we'll return to that controversial pick for Secretary of State. His ties to Russia could lead to a major battle over his confirmation on
Capitol Hill. We'll look at that angle. Plus, the fight against ISIS. The Pentagon is saying three leaders of the terrorist group have been
killed. They say they have links to those plots in Europe and Paris. We'll be right back.
GORANI: A look at our top stories. Russia's Ambassador to the U.N. says that the Syrian government now has control over eastern Aleppo.
Breaking this hour. Government forces have been battling street by street to retake the city in its entirety. Vitaly Churkin says the military
operation will end in the next few hours and that it will be time to focus then, he says, on humanitarian issues.
The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, reportedly says his nation welcomes the choice of Rex Tillerson as U.S. Secretary of State and that he
is ready to work with him. According to Russia's Sputnik news agency, Lavrov called both Donald Trump and Tillerson "pragmatic".
The U.S. says it has killed three ISIS leaders in a coalition airstrike. The Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, told military personnel that the men
who were killed posed a real threat to the West.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASH CARTER, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I can confirm today that we took out three of ISIL's key leaders in the last couple of weeks. It
was one strike. These are guys who were linked to plots right here in Europe, and I can't share all the details with you but, for example, with
the Paris attacks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. Nic Robertson, our diplomatic editor joins me now. More information here on these individuals. I mean, he's saying they have
links to the Paris attacks. In what way?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, two of them, we've been told, were linked to the attack last year in Paris in November,
One of them, Walid Hamman, was also tried in absentia in Belgium for his connection to a plot there that the police disrupted in a house in Verviers
in January last year, and some interesting details about what he had been doing in the meantime.
[15:35:05] His role in that was to actually be in Athens, Greece and help get some of the operatives from Syria, help them on their sort of transport
to get into Europe. He had also been in communications with the chief plotter of the Paris attack as well.
So, these are men that the U.S. Pentagon say that they wanted to go after because they were a potential danger to Europe and to the United States.
But their role was facilitating and helping those who were actually perpetrating the attacks.
GORANI: So at least one of them was in Europe and then traveled back?
ROBERTSON: Absolutely. And not only that, he had actually been taken for questioning on a couple of occasions by the police in Athens. They didn't
recognize who he was, his background, because he was traveling on false papers and therefore, he was released. It raises all sorts of questions,
the sort of questions that intelligence agencies clearly have put to rest now with this targeting, but he has been in their crosshairs for a while.
GORANI: And some of these movements of people related to these attacks have always been quite fascinating and remarkable, the near misses, some of
the perpetrators questioned then released, et cetera, or allowed to go on their way. Why has this airstrike happened now? Is there something in
particular that allowed the coalition to pinpoint certain locations according to what they're saying?
ROBERTSON: Yes, it's kind of interesting. They're saying that this was as a result of intelligence that was gathered through ISIS losing territories,
so clearly, they've gathered up something, computers, phones, papers, that's given them information to know who these men were or where, perhaps,
they were, perhaps what phones they were using without there. We do know it was one drone that took the men out while they were driving a vehicle in
the Raqqa area.
But what does that sort of information does is actionable intelligence. They get on it quickly as what the Pentagon was saying. They get on this
information quickly and then they can use that in an actionable sort of way, and then they can put up the surveillance platforms that can loiter
over Raqqa for a while.
GORANI: And what --
ROBERTSON: That's what people do.
GORANI: What impact, though, I wonder, operational impact? I mean, it seems like --
ROBERTSON: Well, what they're saying now, 12,000 to --
ROBERTSON: -- 15,000 ISIS foreign fighters inside Syria, they can't get any more in. That would imply that it's hard to get them out. What this
does is breakdown that network for future use.
GORANI: Yes. All right. Nic Robertson, our senior diplomatic editor. Thanks very much. And by the way, Nic, outside of Downing Street today,
we're seeing a solidarity with Aleppo protest. And this is not just in London, these are live images coming to us from Downing Street, just a few
blocks away from where we are, but in other cities as well. Social media sites like Facebook, there have been events created there, people have been
invited, and we're seeing there individuals, one of them there with the revolution flag.
It doesn't look like the revolution, though, in Syria, certainly has suffered quite the defeat with Aleppo. Thanks very much to Nic. Let's get
back now to Donald Trump's controversial choice to lead the U.S. State Department. Rex Tillerson is the CEO of ExxonMobil. He's done business
with Russian President Vladimir Putin and their relationship is pretty cozy.
Matthew Chance has our story from Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's so Kremlin friendly, the Russian President personally pinned the Friendship
Medal on Rex Tillerson's chest, in fact, one of Russia's highest civilian honors.
The Exxon CEO has recently agreed one of the biggest ever oil and gas exploration deals with the Russian state, worth nearly half a trillion
dollars. He's certainly a figure with whom the Kremlin appears happy to do business.
(on camera) Even before Trump formally announced his choice for Secretary of State, Russian officials were heaping praise on the Texas oil man.
President Putin's spokesman told CNN, "He is very professional and has numerous contacts with our representatives."
The head of the Russian Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Aleksey Pushkov, went even further, "The selection of Tillerson is a sensation," he
tweeted. "The choice confirms the seriousness of Donald Trump."
It also gives us a sense of what a Trump-Tillerson policy towards Russia might look like. After Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, fermenting a brutal
war in eastern Ukraine, Tillerson criticized as ineffective the economic sanctions imposed by Washington.
Exxon says it could have lost up to a billion dollars in profit because of them, and his concern as Secretary of State, Tillerson could advocate
easing off. It's that sympathy to Russia which has many hardliners questioning Tillerson's suitability.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I have, obviously, concerns of reports of his relationship with Vladimir Putin who is a thug and a murderer.
CHANCE: But for others, including Donald Trump himself, high-level Kremlin connections make the Exxon chief an ideal pick.
[15:40:07] If a deal is to be done with Russia, a Secretary of State Tillerson may be the man to pull it off.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
GORANI: Let's dig a little deeper now on Tillerson's ties to Russia. I'm joined from Washington by Karoun Demirjian. She's The Washington Post's
national security reporter, and joins us now from Washington, from D.C.
So let's talk a little bit, though, about the intelligence community's conclusion, the CIA concluding that there was some Russian meddling in the
form, perhaps, of hacking during the election campaign. And now, there is a real split within the GOP emerging about what to do about it.
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, THE WASHINGTON POST NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Right. Well, the CIA assessment that we reported on last week indicates that
Russia got involved with -- alleges the Russian hacking was for the purpose of getting Trump into the White House. And so that has caused this split
between Republicans and Democrats who are otherwise onboard with the idea that Russia was involved somehow.
But now, you've got Democrats saying, "See, we told you something was up with this." And Republicans are saying, "Wait a second, wait a second,
wait a second." That's not necessarily that's not the whole story that it was, you know, just the CIA's assessment that said that. The FBI maybe
doesn't think that too, and we think we should have a much broader investigation, that, OK, we'll look at the Russian hacking of the election
but in the context of much bigger questions about Russia's involvement in hacking other institutions, also in terms of how would they do in Ukraine
and Syria and things like that.
So, it's created this political rift in the middle of this investigation that everybody wants to have, to some extent, about what Russia's
GORANI: But is it likely to go through, these calls for a bipartisan probe? I mean, are we, the public, likely to get more answers on this?
DEMIRJIAN: We are likely to see something next year. The question is, what is it going to look like and where is it going to take place? I mean,
you have some members, some senior members of the Republican Party saying, "OK, well, let's look at just this through the lens of the intel
committees" which, granted, have been getting briefings on Russian hacking for a while now.
You have some Democrats that are calling for a completely independent commission, think like the 9/11 commission sort of thing, which is not even
lawmakers looking at it. It's independent experts that are appointed by congressional leaders that would then be required to release a public
report at the end of their 18-month investigation.
So, there are a lot of different proposals out there about how to do this, and we do not know which one will win the day. And then, when they decide
how they're going to do this, you know, how deep in they get, how many questions they answer, we already know many Senate committees have
committed to doing an investigation. But we don't know what order it's going to happen in or exactly which questions each one will address yet.
That's all remains to be seen probably starting early next year.
GORANI: But, Karoun, also, there's a difference between saying -- between the intelligence community saying, "We believe Russia meddled, that there
were cyber attacks, the goal was to help Donald Trump get elected." There's a difference between saying that and saying that those actions
actually helped alter the outcome of the race.
DEMIRJIAN: Yes. And it's difficult -- well, first of all, that seems that there's not total agreement within the intelligence community about whether
Russia meddled to just weaken the American electoral system and confidence in it or to specifically get Trump elected.
Then there's the second point which you were just making, yes, what is the hacking that we're talking about? Is it Russia actually going in and
screwing with the way that the voting machines in Detroit were calibrated? Maybe not, right?
But is it -- does it all -- can you quantify then if Russia's hacking was involved in getting the information from the Democratic National Committee
or Podesta's e-mails, that's Clinton's campaign director, the ones that were released through WikiLeaks, which the intelligence community seems to
think that Russia was behind? Can you quantify how that changed votes? And if you can't, can you ever answer this question about to what extent it
actually was successful in, maybe, helping Trump get elected, if that was the goal?
And so you're going to hear a lot of, I think, questions about that but also probably some political flame throwing back and forth about those
topics as they're addressed in these investigations going forward.
GORANI: All right. And we'll continue to follow your reporting. Thanks very much, Karoun Demirjian, for joining us from "The Washington Post" in
Washington, D.C. Thank you.
DEMIRJIAN: Thank you.
GORANI: This is The World Right Now. He spent more than a year traveling from Afghanistan with many months in the Calais Jungle. Now, for one
refugee, there is a happy ending. We'll have his full story next.
[15:46:06] GORANI: Welcome back. From flower farms to everyday living, there is geothermal energy that has really helped Africa. It's become the
lifeblood for many on that continent. A new power plant is set to begin operations in Kenya very soon. Eleni Giokos has more.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNNMONEY AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Oserian farm, every rose grows with a little help from the Earth's steam. Oserian is one
of Kenya's largest flower farms. The 200-hectare farm produces 700,000 flowers per day for export to Europe, Japan and Australia. Almost all of
the farm's power comes from its own geothermal power plants.
ALASDAIR KEITH, ENGINEERING MANAGER, OSERIAN DEVELOPMENT COMPANY: This is the heating system. It's fairly straightforward. It's just, you know, a
hot water recirculation system coming from a big heat storage tank.
GIOKOS: Kenya's other main energy source, hydroelectricity, can vary during times of draughts and unstable power can be costly for business like
KEITH: Before we had the geothermal power plants, we had to have a lot of backup generators. We were using a lot of diesel when we had power cuts.
In terms of our electrical savings, you know, there's probably $750,000 a year in terms of our savings that we're making on power bills compared to
before we had geothermal.
GIOKOS: Geothermal energy is the source of the volcanic activity that formed Kenya's iconic Great Rift Valley, and it will soon be a bigger
source for Kenya's electricity.
VICTOR OTIENO, GEOLOGIST: We have a program to drill as many wells as we can.
GIOKOS: About an hour outside of Nairobi is the Olkaria field. This is home to Africa's largest geothermal operation. One thousand megawatts of
potential is estimated to exist at this site alone.
OTIENO: We are still actively looking for other wells. There are still areas within the geothermal field which have not been fully explored.
GIOKOS: Each exploratory well costs at least $6 million to dig, a costly initial investment.
ALBERT MUGO, CEO, KENYA ELECTRICITY GENERATING COMPANY: The only thing with geothermal is it's very capital intensive because you have to drill
the wells to get the fuel, the steam. But once you connect the wells to the power plant, then you are OK. It's got a very small cost in terms of
GIOKOS: Over the past 15 years, thanks in large part to the growth of this site, KenGen's geothermal output has increased more than elevenfold.
Today, around half of the power used on the Kenyan grid comes from geothermal energy.
MUGO: We expect, in the next five or so years, to develop all that so that we can have the entire field covered. There are about 23 sites where
geothermal can be developed.
GIOKOS: Apparently, Olkaria field consists of four major plants and the fifth is in the works with help from a $480 million-loan from Japan. It
plans to be fully operational by 2018.
So it's full steam ahead for geothermal in Kenya and the country is now poised to be a budding star in the industry. Eleni Giokos, CNN.
GORANI: Coming up, he spent months trapped in limbo in the Calais Jungle. Now, one refugee's dream has finally come true. We'll have his story after
[15:51:03] GORANI: This week's edition of "Around The World" finds us right here in London, Camden Town, in fact, just a few kilometers north of
our studio. It is one of the capital's most vibrant neighborhoods. In fact, it can get just a bit too vibrant sometimes. Actor Jim Sturgess
gives us a tour. Take a look.
JIM STURGESS, ACTOR: Welcome to Camden Town. We're outside Camden Lock, the Stables Market, you know, which is really the kind of heart of the
cultural, you know, London scene, very much the place of a lot of British guitar music.
And right behind, as you can see, a place called Dingwalls, which is in the heart of the market there. And Dingwalls is really the focal point for a
lot of British punk music, you know, bands like the Sex Pistols, Play Dead, The Clash. It's embedded in a lot of musical history.
Now, well, I'm fortunate enough that I get to travel around the world a lot with the work I do, but the one thing that I always look forward to coming
back to is having a pint in a north London pub and enjoying one of these amazing London scotches. Cheers.
Yes, there really is no better place to finish my sort of London than at the top of Primrose Hill. We can see the whole skyline of London and just
to have a moment and just take in this beautiful city.
GORANI: All right. Check out our Facebook page with our latest content. We'll have the very latest on what's happening in Aleppo, by the way,
Two months ago, we first met a teenager named Muhammad in the Calais migrant camp in France known as "The Jungle." Now, he was traveling alone
from Afghanistan and his big dream was to reach the United Kingdom to reunite with his family.
As CNN's Melissa Bell reports, Muhammad's dream has finally come true.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Heathrow Airport, every 45 seconds, a plane lands or takes off from the world's third busiest
airport. Tens of thousands of hellos and goodbyes are said here every day. But for Assan Ahmadi (ph) and his nephew, Muhammad, today is no ordinary
day and there's no ordinary hello. They haven't seen each other in almost a decade.
MUHAMMAD, REFUGEE: Finally, I'm so happy to come to U.K. and join my uncle.
ASSAN AHMADI, MUHAMMAD'S UNCLE: And I am glad, too.
BELL: CNN first met Muhammad in the "Jungle" in Calais just before it was dismantled in October. He showed us around the camp that had been his home
for months, but we couldn't show his face. He, like many thousands of unaccompanied minors, was living in limbo in Europe after leaving
Afghanistan armed with nothing but the dream of reaching his family in England. The walk had been long and lonely.
MUHAMMAD: I want to join to my uncle. I'm so tired here. I have -- I left more than one years ago, but I didn't arrive to my uncle yet. I love
football. I want to play football and I want to rest in peace.
BELL: The British Home Office finally approved Muhammad's case and he can now have that peace, living with his uncle, Assan, and his young family in
Yorkshire and going to school.
MUHAMMAD: If the there's -- the weather is cold, I am very warm and hot because I jumped my uncle. I don't feel any cold there now.
BELL: Muhammad's future is certain to look very different from his past, but he says he will carry with him, wherever he goes, his long, lonely time
on the road and in the "Jungle."
[15:55:07] Melissa Bell, CNN, London.
GORANI: All right. Let's bring you up to date on our breaking news this hour. Of course, the situation in Aleppo that we've been following all
hour with many developing strands. Russia says now that the Syrian government has established control over eastern Aleppo. Though we did
speak with an independent filmmaker on the ground in eastern Aleppo who said there are pockets that remain in rebel hands, although a deal is
expected to be implemented soon that would allow for the evacuation of some of them.
Now, the U.N. -- I should say the Russian Ambassador to the U.N. was the one who, at the Security Council, made the statement that eastern Aleppo is
now under regime control. And it comes after the U.N. described the situation on Aleppo as "a complete meltdown of humanity".
The organization says it has heard reports that 82 civilians, including women and children, were shot in their homes or on the streets, Monday. So
it appears as though these military operations are over for the rebels in that part of eastern Aleppo. This is a major defeat for some in western
Aleppo, though, this is an opportunity to celebrate a city divided and a country still very much with a long fight ahead.
I'm Hala Gorani. This has been The World Right Now. Thanks for watching. "Quest Means Business" is next.