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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Europe's Energy Concerns; Argentina Failed Assassination; U.K. Sexual Misconduct Report. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired September 02, 2022 - 17:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Bianca Nobilo, in London. A warm welcome to THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Russian gas giant Gazprom has halted the flow of gas to Nord Stream 1. Concerns over Europe's fuel supplies during winter are now increasing.

Then, Argentina's vice president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, survives an assassination attempt. We'll have the latest developments for you.

And a report highlights new cases of alleged sexual misconduct within the heart of the British government. We'll debrief.

Fossil fuels have played a major role in Russia's strategy in Ukraine, and fuel prices could have a huge impact on even the biggest economies. Now,

Gazprom says that natural gas supplies by the Nord Stream 1 pipeline are going to remain shut off indefinitely. The Russian gas giant says it's

because the compressed station in St. Petersburg has an oil leak. But Siemens Energy, the German manufacturer of the turbines used on the

pipeline tells CNN this type of oil leak doesn't justify stopping operations.

Just a few hours earlier, G-7 finance ministers agreed to impose a price cap on Russian oil and Moscow said it would stop selling oil to countries

taking part in that.

Anna Stewart breaks it down for us.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Russia has been long accused of using energy as a weapon. And this latest announcement is raising eyebrows.

Gazprom shut down Nord Stream 1, a key pipeline for gas to Europe, early this week, for 3 days of maintenance. That announcement took the market by

surprise, given it only recently went down a scheduled 10-day maintenance shut down.

On Friday the evening when it was due to be turned back on, Gazprom said they had discovered an oil as the compressor station, releasing a photo you

see here. And they went on with a statement saying, until the issues in the operation of the equipment are resolved, gas supplies to the Nord Stream

gas pipeline have been completely stopped.

The EU is Russia's biggest gas customer. Russian gas accounted for around 35 percent of its gas imports last year. The bloc has been trying to reduce

its reliance on Russian gas ever since the invasion of Ukraine, filling storage facilities, and importing more from elsewhere.

But it will struggle to get through this winter if Russia doesn't resume supplies by the pipeline Nord Stream 1.

Now, the timing of this announcement is hard to ignore. A few hours before the Gazprom announcement, the West's biggest economies, the G-7, agreed to

impose a price cap on Russian oil. According to Google analysis, Russia earns $600 million a day from oil. They could make record annual revenues

from oil and gas this year.

Now, the G-7's oil cap with the price yet to be agreed aims to reduce Russia's revenues and its ability to fund the war in Ukraine. But while

still allowing Russian oil to be sold on the market, thereby not reducing global supplies. Russia has already threatened to retaliate to any oil

price cap.

According to Russian state media outlet TASS, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told journalists: we will simply not supply oil or

petroleum products to companies are states that impose restrictions, as we will not work non-competitively. Russia has already stopped exporting gas

to a number of Western countries citing payment issues. The price of the latest pipeline shutdown, the Nord Stream 1, was only running at 20 percent


A further fall in gas, if the pipeline remains off line, and potential oil as well, if the G-7 agreement of this cap is implemented and Russia

retaliates, puts the energy prices ever higher, fueling inflation and threatening to push major economies into recession, landing ever more

weight to the arguments that Russia is weaponizing energy.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


NOBILO: The director general of the U.N. nuclear watchdog is giving his assessment of the condition of the embattle Zaporizhzhia nuclear power

plant in Ukraine. Six inspectors remain at the largest nuclear power facility and two will stay permanently.

Rafael Grossi says the plants physical integrity, battered by shelling, is particularly concerning.


RAFAEL GROSSI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IAEA: I was able to see, myself, and my team, the impacts -- impact holes, markings on buildings from shelling. So

it means that the physical integrity of the facility has been violated, not once, but several times.


NOBILO: Grossi also says the Ukrainian staff and Russian experts and soldiers inside are cooperating professionally, although it's clear that

there are tensions.

CNN's Sam Kiley is in the city of Zaporizhzhia and he joins us now.

Sam, you've been covering the story for weeks now. What did you learn from the press conference about the inspections findings?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, I think the key takeaway from this is almost a technical one, but one that was

quite sinister in that he definitely indicated that there was malice of forethought, that the separation of the power station from its main power

source, incoming power for the cooling of reactors was, in his view, some kind of deliberate policy.


Take a listen.


GROSSI: It is clear that those who have these aims, these military aims, know very well that the way to cripple or do more damage it's not to the

reactors, which are enormously sturdy and robust, but to hit where it hurts. So the plant becomes very problematic. So, my concern would be the

physical integrity, would be the power supply, and, of course, the staff.


KILEY: Now the power supply cools the reactors. If that gets cut, it has been cut twice in the last week at least, that means the diesel generators

have to come online. If they fail, or run out of diesel, then the reactors risk a meltdown. It's that that's really been the most profound concern.

There seems to be less concerned over the integrity, as he calls it, the actual reactors, Bianca.

And also, very interesting enjoying some of the video that we saw from the IAEA there, those Russian truck seen inside the nuclear facilities that

Ukrainians say, they've not presented any evidence, but they claim they may have explosives on board. That would cause a chain re-reaction they say --


NOBILO: And, Sam, Grossi was talking about how the Russian experts, Ukrainians, and soldiers are cooperating successfully but obviously there

are tensions. What are the concerns going forward, the fact that the inspectors have to be accompanied by Russians.

KILEY: They're accompanied by Russians at every stage. At least they were during this initial inspection. Whether they'll be able to work

independently remains to be seen. The go down from 6, to 2 permanently. We understand from Rafael Grossi it's going to be a very tough assignment

indeed. They'll be working alongside not only just 2 different groups of nuclear experts and scientists, the Ukrainians, and the Russian experts.

But on top of that, they have the military situation. And independently, we've been talking to people who work at the plant and near the plant. They

all talk about the extreme pressures that the people from Ukraine are being put under. There's allegations of people disappearing, people being taken

off to a basement, phones being searched, a complete lack of freedom of thought and movement.

And that's going to be interesting to see if the U.N. inspectors are given any kind of freedom of movement, if they can actually do their jobs. It

would be critical, Bianca.

NOBILO: Very interesting indeed, Sam Kiley, I am so sorry I was battling a sneeze. Sam Kiley for us in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.


We told you Thursday about the death of the chairman of Lukoil, Russia's largest privately own oil and gas company. He was at least the 6th

prominent Russian businessman who reportedly died by suicide since January.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh takes a closer look.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): It should sound extraordinary, but in Putin's wartime Russia, it becomes

staggeringly common.

A wealthy energy executive declared dead from suicide. This time, oil executive Ravil Maganov seen here earlier with the Kremlin head, died on

Thursday at 7:00 in the morning after falling from the 6th floor of a central Moscow hospital where he was being treated after a heart attack,

says a state media law enforcement source. They added, he was taking anti depressants and committed suicide.

The oil giant Lukoil behind 2 percent of the world's crude, were tightlipped on the circumstances, saying he died, quote, following a severe

illness. They've been less cagey about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, expressing in March their deepest concerns about the war, calling for it

soonest termination, and urging a lasting cease-fire.

Rare public dissent which elsewhere in Russia the Kremlin has squashed quickly.

Maganov's untimely death made him the 6th high-profile businessman to die of apparent suicide since January. Four of them from state giant Gazprom,

currently at the forefront of Russia's energy battle with the west. The first two died in the same village in their cottages. Transport head Leonid

Shulman four weeks before the war, he left a suicide note said Russian media. And just a day after the war began, another top Gazprom executive

Alexander Tyulakov was found dead in his garage there.


Then, there were two murders suicides in April. Both former executives from Gazprom both said had killed their wife and daughter, and then themselves.

Vladislav Avayev in their Moscow home, and Sergey Protosenya in a Spanish villa. Finally, in July, the director of another subsidiary was found dead

in his cottages swimming pool, local media reported. The gunshot wound to the head, and a pistol nearby.

Maganov is not Lukoil first loss this year. A former top manager was found dead in the basement from an apparent heart attack. Some experts doubt

these deaths bear the Kremlin's fingerprints.

MARK GALEOTTI, PRINCIPAL DIRECTOR, MAYAK INTELLIGENCE: People do commit suicide. Particularly for these people, they're in their industries where

they got used to a very elevated quality of life, and they knew that hard times are coming. At the same time there has been a resurgence of the 1990s

phenomenon which is business disputes being resolved by violence and murder.

WALSH: Perhaps the settler hand here than in the anarchy of the `90s. Yet, in a world where the Kremlin rules and ruins at will.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


NOBILO: In Argentina, dramatic scenes of political anger gone wrong. A man attempted to kill Argentina's vice president on Thursday night. He stuck a

gun in Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's face and pulled the trigger. Fortunately, the gun jammed and she was unharmed.

Our Stefano Pozzebon has the story, including the dramatic video of the assassination attempt.

Stefano, tell us more about what you're learning when it comes to the circumstances of what unfolded here, and what could be the possible


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yeah, the possible motivation, Bianca, is still unknown at this time. We know more about the suspect he was

apprehended, 35-year-old Brazilian national who has lived in Argentina for almost 30 years. He moved to the country at a very early age. The main

question is whether he acted alone. How is he allowed to get so close to the vice president? One of the most polarizing figures in South American


But just to take a step back and bring to light everything that happened over the last 24 hours in Argentina, we'll put it together for you, again.

Take a listen.


POZZEBON (voice-over): A near miss, recorded by the cameras of national television shows an attempted assassination attempt directed at Argentinian

Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. An armed man was able to push past a crowd of cheering supporters and point a gun at the vice

president's face. He pulled the trigger but the firearm apparently jammed and did not go off.

Fernandez de Kirchner then escaped an armed, and the suspect was arrested and is now in custody. The most motive behind the failed assassination

attempt is still a mystery. Even people that witnessed it could not understand what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): What I saw was that everyone turned around. Even an elderly man, old ordinary people, they turned around

and try to help. And then security and police got involved and took him that way.

A lot of pain, a lot of helplessness. I say that as a society we're getting last because hate is leading us to demented things, to kill someone.

POZZEBON: Argentina's president, Alberto Fernandez, condemned the attack in a national address late Thursday night.

ALBERTO FERNANDEZ, ARGENTINE PRESIDENT (through translator): Today, a little after 9:00 p.m., a man tried to take the life of the vice president

of our nation, two-time former president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. This is the most serious attack we faced since recovering our democracy.

POZZEBON: The attack comes at a moment of high political tensions in Argentina, exacerbated by economic crisis, and the world's highest

inflation rates.

And as Fernandez de Kirchner, one of the most charismatic and controversial figures in South American politics faces corruption charges dating back to

a decade ago, during which he was the president of Argentina.

Her supporters say the investigation is politically motivated, and held sit-ins in front of her house for day. It was at one such rally that the

gunman got cut close to her on camera.

The government declared Friday a holiday to allow the nation to come together, President Fernandez said. Schools closed down. Even national

football matches were canceled.

But analysts believe the real test will come now. How will Fernandez de Kirchner, a firebrand politician who's been accused in the past of throwing

fuel to the fire for political profit, come back after this attack?


And how the nation managed to steer away from political violence just as the pressure is the highest?


POZZEBON (on camera): And, Bianca, just one more thing, looking at the regional landscape across the last few months, we've seen several episodes

of political violence. For example, in Brazil, they're going through a presidential election in October, or connected with the referendum in

Chile. It is going to celebrate on Sunday.

Of course, should the gun have detonated last night in Buenos Aires, there would be talking about a much different episode of political violence. But

times and the tensions are rising here in South America -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Stefano Pozzebon, thank you so much for your report.

A detailed inventory of property seized from Donald Trump's home is giving us new insight into the U.S. government's investigation. It shows out of

the 103 classified documents, 18 were marked top secret. That designation means unauthorized disclosure of the material is expected to result an

exceptionally grave danger to national security. The inventory shows dozens of empty soldiers with classification banners that were sealed as well. The

judge who unsealed that report is still considering Trump's request to appoint an independent official to review the evidence.

The U.K. government says it's taking allegations of misconduct extremely seriously. After Sky News reported two incidence of sexual harassment.

We'll be speaking to Westminster correspondent, ahead.

And Serena Williams tries to extend one of the greatest careers in tennis history. All the details, coming up on "World Sport" at the bottom of the



NOBILO: We're following two major court sentences out of Myanmar.


Aung Suu Kyiv, the country's former leader and Noble Peace Prize winner, has been found guilty of electoral fraud and sentenced to three years in

prison with hard labor. And a source says a former British ambassador Vicky Bowman and her husband have been sentenced to one year in prison. They're

accused of violating immigration laws.

The military junta has been targeting pro-democracy activists ever since it staged a coup last year.

Tom Andrews, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, spoke to CNN. Take a listen.


TOM ANDREWS, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MYANMAR: The foreign minister of Malaysia, Saifuddin Abdullah, he says, look, we need to rethink, as a

region, how are approaching this crisis. I think that's exactly what we have to do as an international community, because, look, everything the

community has done, sanctions here, sanctions there, dis-imposition of an arms embargo here, some other statement of a leader of the world there.

This is not adding up. It's not anything up tuna fact focused strategic response by the international community. And I think as we're seeing here,

they're escalating their outrage, their atrocities. It seems to me that we as an international community need to step, as the foreign minister

Saifuddin has said, rethink our approach to the crisis because if we don't, if the status quo continues here, I think this is going to get worse,

perhaps even exponentially worse.


NOBILO: The British government says it's taking allegations of misconduct extremely seriously after a Sky News report highlighted two anonymous

instances of sexual harassment. One women allege she was assaulted by a man whose cabinet minister. Another said she's gripped by someone who's now on

aide at 10 Downing Street. The report has not named the men accused and CNN has not independently verified the allegations. A government spokesperson

told CNN that a robust procedure is in place to raise concerns.

However, this speaks to a much wider culture in Westminster. The outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson stepped down after his deputy chief whip

resigned over sexual misconduct allegations back in June.

Alexander Brown is the Westminster correspondent for "The Scotsman" and last year, he wrote an op-ed about the culture of sexual harassment in

Westminster. He said, quote, in parliament, I've had men with Wikipedia pages groped me, tell me how hot I am at meetings. It continued saying

until the response moves past defending political allies, men and women will continue to stay silent on their stories.

And Alexander joins me now. Thanks so much for being on the program tonight.


NOBILO: What was your response given the experiences you head to the Sky News report?

BROWN: I mean, it doesn't sound like anything new. And honestly, involving cabinet minister is incredibly serious. But I think one of the worst parts

of working in parliament as you hear awful stories that people are too scared to come forward with. When I wrote about my own experiences, I had

people reach out, not just to check if I was okay, but to ask me if I tried to report it and tell me about their own experiences. They said they were

going to not report them. They didn't feel safe.

You hear horrible stories in parliament, but hear far more horrible stories that you just simply can't report on because there's no legal ability to do


NOBILO: And why did you personally feel like you didn't want to report it officially?

BROWN: Because ultimately, it's my word against somebody else's. I could say to someone say to me that they're going to laminate my Instagram

photographs to enjoy themselves over. I could have someone grab me, but ultimately, it's my word against theirs.

I mean, when you look at sex harassment, it's very easy to see why people don't come forward. When Caroline Nokes claims that the prime minister's

dad, Sonny Johnson, grabbed her, she was blocked in the tea room by a Tory MPs who considered her disloyal.

David Warburton, the Somerton MP, has been accused of using drugs and also sexually harassing people. Obviously, that's all just accusations at the

moment, but he's still -- he's suspended, but he's still a sitting MP. That process is ongoing and it wasn't reported in the media, and whips didn't

suspend him until it became public.

Tory whips know it happened, but they didn't do anything until it became public. People always acting on party interest rather than interest of

people who work in parliament's safety.

NOBILO: Obviously, a lot of these reports are still allegations and accusations but enough has been substantiated now for us both to barely say

that there certainly has been, perhaps continues to be a culture where the sexual misconduct events do occur. As somebody who works in parliament,

presumably goes to strangers bar and is who somebody who's immersed not judging you at all, I'm just saying you probably have done there, when you

think it is about the culture, and that the people, perhaps even the environment that facilitates the continuation of that?

BROWN: I think is a few things. First I think there's a paradigm. This is really older MPs who dated much younger staffers. It's consensual, but it's

a weird power dynamic that would make no sense outside of parliament. I also think that people being quite far way from the homes, if you think

about a lot of MPs don't live near the constituency.

They spent every day in parliament, and every evening because the bars are there, it's a village atmosphere. They get drunk they feel comfortable

around people. They know there's really any repercussions, it's not just the drinking culture, their way from home. It doesn't count.

It's very depressing working their because you hear about these things all the time.

NOBILO: Alexander Brown, thank you so much for coming on the program and being brave enough to share your story and experiences as well.

BROWN: Thank you for having me.

NOBILO: Now let's take a look at other key stories making international headlines.

There were reports that ousted Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has returned to his country. It's believed that this convoy took him from the

airport to an undisclosed location. Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka in July, when protesters stormed his residence, demanding he resigned over the country's

financial crisis.

Pakistan now says that more than 400 children have been killed in the weeks of torrential rain and floods. The total death toll of the floods is

approaching 1,200, now. Almost 5000 people have been injured. More than million homes have been damaged or destroyed.

London police say they've arrested climate activists from the root extinction rebellion after the protesters made their way in the House of

Commons. I can tell you it's very hard to do. Several demonstrators glue themselves to each other. Police say, some have super glue themselves to

the speaker's chair are untrue.

Well, thank you for watching. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

And "WORLD SPORT" with some more Serena news is coming up next.