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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Pelosi's Taiwan Visit; Global Food Crisis; Al-Zawahiri Killing. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired August 03, 2022 - 17:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London. And this is THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

The White House says that China is following the expected playbook after it began chills around Taiwan, following Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit


Then, Ukraine and the U.N. say the departure of the first grain ship is significant but only a first stop. We'll take you to Kenya where the

disruption of food supplies is pushing many to the brink of starvation.

Plus, the U.S. issues a worldwide alert after the killing of al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri. And we'll be live in Washington, D.C. on that.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now in Seoul, South Korea. She arrived just hours after ending her controversial this it to Taiwan. That trip

infuriated China, which considers the island a breakaway province.

Before continuing her Asian tour, Pelosi reiterated U.S. support for Thailand's democracy, while Chinese foreign ministry called the visit a,

quote, wrong, stupid, move.


HUA CHUNYING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): After Pelosi's trip to Taiwan, many people from different countries and

different ranks and with diverse professional backgrounds are spoken out one after another condemning Pelosi's wrong, stupid, and crazy move to

visit Taiwan. They also support the One China principle, and China's legitimate actions to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.


NOBILO: And China's response was not long in coming. The country's military has started conducting sea and air drills around Taiwan. The

island's ministry of defense says that move is tantamount to maritime and aerial blockades. The Chinese government says that the drills are necessary

because of what it calls the separatists forces of Taiwan independence.

China has suspended the import of some Chinese products, and halted the export of sand to the island.

CNN's Will Ripley unfolds all of these latest events for us.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In almost any other capital, the armored convoy for U.S. House Speaker Nancy

Pelosi may not get a second glance. But here in Taipei, on the diplomatically isolated island of Taiwan, a visit like this hasn't happened

in 25 years.

When Pelosi's political career began, protests like this are not allowed in Taiwan. Pelosi witnessed Taiwan's stunning transition from dictatorship to

democracy. A democracy under duress, claimed but never controlled by Beijing's communist rulers.

The Chinese military escalating cross strait tensions, military drills encircling Taiwan, some just miles from shore, condemned by Taiwan, a sea

and air blockade.

Pelosi's political gamble, her historic visit to the self-governing island preceded by days of drama. Fiery threats from China ignored, warnings from

the Pentagon, even President Biden rushed off.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The military thinks it's not a good idea right now.

RIPLEY: Silence and secrecy until the moment Pelosi's plane touched down in Taipei, a dramatic entrance three hours late, avoiding the heavily

militarized South China Sea.

Taiwan president, Tsai Ing-wen, rolling out the red carpet for one of America's most powerful politicians, awarding Pelosi Taiwan's highest

civilian honor.

Having lunch with leaders of TSMC, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world leader in chips crucial to cutting edge tech made in


At parliament in Taipei, Pelosi's defiant speech defending democracy in Taiwan.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan, and we're proud of our enduring friendship.

RIPLEY: Friendship has a time limit in the fast paced political world. Less than 24 hours in Taiwan Pelosi managed to cement her legacy win rare

bipartisan praise and infuriate the Chinese military. Live fire drills began lighting up the seas around Taiwan within hours of Pelosi is

triumphant departure.


NOBILO: That was Will Ripley for us in Taipei.

Now, Moscow is calling the U.S. House speaker's trip to Taiwan pure provocation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says it is further

proof of U.S. impunity and lawlessness. He also says if he doesn't he doesn't see a reason to, quote, create such an irritant literally out of



Russian officials say that they stand behind China.


DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN: Beijing knows that we support the One China principle. We support the sovereignty of China and we obviously

support mature, balanced steps by China to maintain and strengthen its sovereignty.


NOBILO: Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is also talking about China, urging it to quote, join the united world and oppose Russia's war in

Ukraine. He made the remarks in a virtual address to the Australian National University in Canberra.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): As of today, I'd like China to join the international community's position on

Russia's tyranny against Ukraine. I would like, that hasn't happened so far. China stands aside and is neutral right now.

I'm telling you honestly that neutrality is much better than if China had joined Russia. I believe that people in this society in China, made an

intelligent choice. After all, it is important for us that China does not support Russia.


NOBILO: Russia is failing to make significant gains in Donetsk, according to Ukrainian military officials. They say that Russian forces are trying to

breakthrough to the key town of Bakhmut, and they're selling several areas. But Ukrainian troops have been able to push them back.

Officials in Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine reported powerful explosions early Wednesday. The city's mayor says the airstrikes destroyed a

supermarket in one district, and started fires in another.

As Ukraine's southern front gets bombarded by Russia, Nic Robinson shows us how Ukraine is fighting back with drones on the frontlines.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): At Ukraine's southern front, reconnaissance team leads us toward Russian


We are walking through the trees because they are afraid we might be spotted from above by Russian drones. That is the way they do their work

out here, hidden by the trees.

Our destination, a drone team shrouded from the skies. Their mission, find Russian forces and call in artillery strikes.

A problem though on their first flight of the day, Russian countermeasures mess with their drone. They need to switch out parts before the next


It is nearly impossible to fight off the Russian jamming signal, the commander says. But we have special devices to combat it.

But as the drone launches, it lurches the wrong way, heads for trees. Not clear what causes the malfunction.

There is a war within a war here, a high tech war, a software dogfight in the skies above the battlefield, and a mistake by the drone operators can

cost them their lives.

Back at base, on a big screen, they scour the first flight's video. Detail is incredible. You can see exactly where the vehicles are in the trees.

The operator, a 24-year-old former news cameraman.

So you are looking at the Russians but they can be looking at you when you are in the field.


ROBERTSON: How does that feel?


ROBERTSON: How scary?


ROBERTSON: Very scary, but you keep doing it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, because we must do it.

ROBERTSON: Life or death decisions which star gets the hit to save his fellow countrymen.

He has no idea your drone is following him.


ROBERTSON: Previous days when they have avoided Russian countermeasures they have had better luck. A Russian tank position hit in the past week

when they called in an artillery strike as they watched.

Who wins drone wars will help determine who dominates the battle space and that depends on who has the smartest technology, and who has the best

traditional frontline skills to hide from it.

Nic Robertson, CNN, at Ukraine's southern front.


NOBILO: For months, northern Ukraine has weathered attacks from neighboring Belarus, Russia's ally. The Ukrainians in the region those

assault are doubly painful, a betrayal from a close friend.

Jason Carroll reports.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is hard for Svitliana Slyvka not to tear up when she is asked what is like to live so

close to the border of Belarus. Whenever she thinks about it, she thinks of her son who was fighting in the world.

She says, I live from call to call, therefore, it is a very painful topic.

Slyvka works in the only store in the tiny Ukrainian village of Dniprovske, located just two miles from Belarus.


Just last week, the Ukrainian military says Russia launched a rocket attack aimed at northern towns and villages in Ukraine, rockets launched from

Belarusian soil, flying right over small villages like this one.

This video taken from another rocket attack a few months ago. These sights and sounds now all too common here, Georgii Sokolenko recorded it one night

on his own.

He says it is very difficult. First, you worry about your family, your relatives, your country. We decided we will defend but you can't fight

against artillery with machine guns.

Sokolenko showed us damage the strike after rockets hit his home. But he points out, it's not just property damage. It's also many long-standing

relationships between Ukrainians and Belarusians.

Belarus seen as a key ally to Russia. This Ukrainian soldier that patrols the border between the two countries. He was on duty the night in February

when the war started and he says, armed drones were launched by Russians in Belarus.

He says before the war, there were friendly relations between Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus. At the moment, we do not maintain and the


He carefully showed us in area just a stone's throw from the border, now mined.

On the 28th, we saw missiles flying from that direction, he says.

This bridge that once connected the two countries now destroyed by the Ukrainian military to prevent Russia from entering Ukraine this way again.

It is a symbol for how people like Slyvka now feel about some of the Belarusians they once called friends.

She says, we expected such an attack from Putin. But we did not expect this from the Belarusians. It is just betrayal. It's the stab in the back that

no one expected. They are worse than Russia.


NOBILO: Jason Carroll, reporting from Ukraine.

The ship carrying thousands of tons of Ukrainian grain has passed inspection in Turkey and is now on its way to Lebanon. It is a critical

shipment, and it's safe arrival in Istanbul brought a sigh of relief.

Nadia Bashir tells us what's going to be next.


NADIA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A moment weeks in the making. This is the first green shipment to have left Ukraine in months,

charting a carefully identified safe corridor through the Black Sea, before reaching Turkey's borders.

At the port in Istanbul, a delegation from the newly established joint coordination center carried out its first ever inspection. Setting sail to

board to inspect its cargo. The Sierra Leone flagged ship is transporting more than 26,000 metric tons of corn to Tripoli and Lebanon. That is only a

fraction of the near 20 million metric tons of grain still stuck at Ukraine's southern Black Sea ports.

This first shipment is the combination of weeks and weeks of negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, turkey, and the United Nations. And this really is

a critical test of how well this new Black Sea grain initiative can work in practice. The hope now is that this will give commercial shipping companies

that confidence to send more ships to the Ukraine.

A welcome sign of progress for those countries most dependent on Ukraine's grain export. The UN has warned that ended traditional 47 million people

have been pushed into a stage of acute hunger as a consequence of the war in Ukraine. And, despite positive signs, there is still a real sense of

urgency around alleviating the pressures of the global food security crisis.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday warning that while this is a significant step, it is only a first step, and Ukrainian President

Volodymyr Zelenskyy striking a similarly cautious tone.

ZELENSKYY: Thanks to the U.N., in partnership with Turkey, we've had this first shipment. It's still nothing, but we hope it's a tendency that will


BASHIR: But with at least 17 ships now waiting permission to depart from Ukraine, there's cautious optimism that this hard one deal will prove to be

a success.

Nadia Bashir, CNN, Istanbul.


NOBILO: The disruption of food supplies from Ukraine has a far-reaching effect. Coupled with the greatest draft in recent years, the global food

crisis is plunging other countries further into food insecurity. Millions of people in northeast Africa are now on the verge of starvation.

CNN's Sam Kiley is in Kenya where a war over 5,000 miles away may soon cause people to lose their lives.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not a coffin he's being measured for.


This is an urgent effort to keep him from the grave. His arms so thin for his age and height, he's categorized as severely, acutely malnourished. He

needs urgent help. He's about two and he can't walk.

He's one of 6 million kids across the Horn of Africa the U.N. says are on the brink of starvation. There's food for her youngest, but nothing for her

other children, except for a little wheat, grounded to a handful of flower.

She says her husband died last year, he has no livestock. She survived by selling charcoal where she can. But food prices have tripled this year.

The evidence that humanities ancestors lived here one and a half million years ago has been found in places like this. Now, water, the very source

of life, it is being measured out and coffee cups.

And 11.6 million people across northeastern Africa are short of water and the worst drought for 40 years. Here in northern Kenya, local officials say

that at least 85 percent of animals once owned by nomadic people are dead.

And the UN says one and a half million livestock have perished in Kenya, and across the Horn of Africa, close to 20 million people face acute food

shortages. Now, the price of staple food like maize flour of more than doubled in many parts of Kenya since the disruption of global food supplies

by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In short, Europe's war may soon start to kill people in Africa.

This community is marginal. It's living on the brink -- very brink of survival. But so are millions of people right across the region, and

critical to their long term survival is the stability of Kenya, a country that is facing drought. It's facing massive increases and the price of fuel

and food, and is now facing general elections, instability here cause it's chaos across the whole Horn of Africa.

The increased banditry across the vast county has led to dozens of murders and thousands of livestock lost and raids. It's not been met with military

operations and a dawn to dusk curfew. Around 200 machine guns and other weapons were captured in one recent police operation here, along with

hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Roadblocks screen travelers and daylight. Nomads are moving south in search of grazing, into major towns. They've invaded wildlife sanctuaries like

Buffalo Springs, competing with protected and often endangered animals for food and water. The results can be fatal.

Two men were recently killed by a female elephant near here.

But it's violence between humans that's putting the most traditionally stable country in the Horn of Africa at risk.

FRANK POPE, CEO OF SAVE THE ELEPHANTS: Anytime you get people that are hungry and without other options, you've got a security situation. Northern

Kenya is bordered by South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, all of which have had -- are still in the grip of conflict that spews small arms into this

ecosystem. You've got a lot of weapons up here, and increasing hunger. So I'd say that's a security concern.

KILEY: That concern will endure as long as this landscape continues to try out and war in Europe chokes food supplies to Africa's most needy.

Sam Kiley, CNN, Northern Kenya.


NOBILO: As Sam reported, Kenya's election next week is crucial to the stability of the region. Some observers say the outcome of the presidential

vote could be close enough to push Kenya into a runoff for the first time.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken released a statement on Wednesday urging all Kenyans to support free and fair elections that are conducted


The two candidates leading in the polls are former allies, now turned foes. On one side, there's deputy president, William Ruto, who calls himself the

hustler-in-chief because of his humble beginnings as a chicken seller.

On the other side, there's a veteran opposition leader and former prime minister, Raila Odinga, and he's run for president four times before and

lost. This time, Odinga's running mate is Martha Karua, who hopes to become the country's first female deputy president.

Woman holding office in Kenya are becoming more common. We saw many women governmental posts back in 2017, but this positive movement is overshadowed

by growing acts of violence against those female politicians. Women say the violence could hinder their rights and stripped the power of their votes.

Still to come tonight, a new warning from the State Department issuing a worldwide caution from U.S. citizens after the assassination of al Qaeda's

longtime leader.


NOBILO: The State Department has issued a caution to U.S. citizens around the world, saying there is now higher potential for anti-American violence

following the killing of al Qaeda later Ayman al-Zawahiri. He was hit by a drone strike in Kabul on Saturday.

Alex Marquardt has more from Washington for us.

Alex, so what more has the State Department said about the nature of the threat and possible retaliation to this?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, this is what's called a worldwide caution update. They put out every so

often by the State Department, and this one is in direct response to the U.S. strike over the weekend against al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. It

is a warning that there could be some kind of revenge attacks around the world against U.S. citizens or interest. It is a rather general warning.

It doesn't point to a specific plot or anything that's in the works but the U.S. government knows about. It doesn't point to anywhere particular around

the world where something like this could happen, but rather a warning that there could be some kind of response against U.S. facilities or interests,

personal, citizens.

I want to read you part of this worldwide caution update from the State Department. They say believe there's a higher potential for anti-American

violence given the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri. Current information says terrorist organizations continue to plan attacks against U.S. interests and

multiple regions across the globe. And they do encourage U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance.

Now, Bianca, the U.S., the Biden administration has been touting the strike against Ayman al-Zawahiri as proof that they can continue to carry out

strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan, despite the fact that there are no U.S. boots on the ground.


Now, experts will tell you that there's been a growth of terrorist groups, and particular al Qaeda and the ISIS offshoot ISIS-K in Afghanistan since

the Taliban took over, since the U.S. and NATO pulled out. But those groups are more of a long term threat but for now, they are not in a position

where they can plan and carry out attacks beyond Afghanistan's borders -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Alex Marquardt for us, thank you so much.

Now, let's take a look at the other key stories making international impact today.

Sri Lanka's new presidents says bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund will start this month. President Ranil Wickremesinghe is also

urging lawmakers to form an all-party government. The country is dealing with a massive economic crisis, hoping to borrow $3 billion through the


Peru's prime minister resigned on Wednesday citing personal reasons. It comes as the president, Pedro Castillo, is facing five criminal

investigations. Two of them are looking into whether he's part of a criminal organization. Presidents in Peru can be investigated while in

office, but cannot be charged.

CNN is learning that many technicians at two of the largest commercial labs in the U.S. have been refusing to draw blood from patients who might have

monkeypox. It's unclear whether the employees are few refusing on their own, or if it's company policy. The CDC reports an 81 percent jump in cases

in the last week.

And in showbiz news, it's a multimillion dollar superhero movie and that's already been filmed, and we won't get to see it anywhere. Hollywood has

been stunned after Warner Brothers said it will not release the new Bat Girl film on any of its platforms or in cinemas. A Warner Brothers

spokesperson said the decision reflects a strategic shift in relation to both the D.C. universe and HBO Max, on which the film was due to be

released. CNN, by the way, is part of the Warner Brothers discovery company.

The movie had been anticipated by many fans. It starred actress and signer Leslie Grace, Brendan Frazier and Michael Keaton, who reprised his iconic

role as Batman.

Well, thank you for watching. I'm Bianca Nobilo, not Batman. And that was THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

"WORLD SPORTS" is up for you next.