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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Rishi Sunak To Become Britain's Next Prime Minister; NATO Warns Russia Not To Create Pretext Over Dirty Bombs; Chinese Activists Hide Messages Of Protest In Public Bathrooms. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired October 24, 2022 - 17:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: And hello, and welcome everyone. I'm Isa Soares live from Westminster, where Rishi Sunak is set to be the next British prime

minister. We'll be digging into reaction, the steps that had.

We'll also look at the day's other key global headlines from Ukraine to China.

Now, on Tuesday, Rishi Sunak will travel to Buckingham palace to meet King Charles III. He will appoint him as the next prime minister of the U.K.

Sunak will inherit a conservative party in turmoil. At a time of spectacular hardship from Britain.

He's promising to focus first on economic civility, but his opposition points out, Sunak was voted in by only a fraction of parliament. And he's

not the general public's choice to lead. The Labour Party deputy leader saying the Tories have crowned Rishi Sunak without anyone having the chance

to vote. He, (INAUDIBLE) say, has no idea what working people need.

And then Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon had this to say: Sunak has no mandate in Scotland. They're both calling for an early general election.

While Rishi Sunak will become the first person of color, the first Hindu, and the youngest person and more than 200 years to lead the country.

Bianca Nobilo gives us a closer look at the next British prime minister.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After making the runoff in the second leadership contest in as many months, it's second time lucky for

Britain's new prime minister, Rishi Sunak.

RISHI SUNAK, CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADER: I will serve you with integrity and humility and I will work day in, day out to deliver for the British


NOBILO: But that is where his luck runs out. Sunak inherits a party at its lowest levels of popularity in a generation, changing prime ministers at a

pace never seen.


NOBILO: The last, Liz Truss, became Britain's shortest serving leader ever at a mere six weeks.

But the former chancellor has not sugarcoated the challenges Britain faces, assuring he has the economic credentials to steer the nation through the


SUNAK: Borrowing your way out of inflation isn't a plan, it's a fairy tale.

NOBILO: Born to parents of Indian descent, Sunak is Britain's first person of color to become prime minister. But his path to power is a tale as old

as time.

Educated at one of Britain's most exclusive school, Winchester College, on to Oxford University like over half of the country's prime minister, then

into the finance industry.

After being praised for slick performances during the pandemic, he was tipped to become the next leader and his wife, Akshata Murthy, the daughter

of the Indian billionaire founder of Infosys, came under fire for her non- domicile status, sparing her a huge tax bill.

Sunak ranks among the U.K.'s richest and has been labeled out of touch with ordinary voters.

SUNAK: As our friends who were, you know, working class. I'm not working class, but I'm mix and match.

NOBILO: This 2001 BBC documentary clip when he was still at university later went viral and it didn't help. He since walked back that comment but

this didn't help either.

Now, Sunak leads Britain at a time when millions fear they won't be able to afford their food and heating this winter. Sunak will be tested and judged



SOARES: And, Bianca Nobilo joins me now from outside 10 Downing Street.

So, Bianca, we heard from Rishi Sunak earlier today, he talked about integrity, he talked about humility. But his entree is huge.

Tell us what can we expect?

NOBILO: Yes, what Rishi Sunak did say today was in a way, not so thinly veiled statement on the prime ministers, which will be succeeded. And he

was promising all the attributes they've been criticized for lacking, we didn't hear a whole lot from him and I understand from his team that's

because they didn't think it would be appropriate for him to give a long or detailed speech before he was officially prime minister.

In terms of his entree, it's been described as a poisoned chalice and I think that could be putting it mildly. First and foremost, as the economic

crisis, soaring inflation, rising interest rates. He could be well-placed to tackle that, potentially leaving the chancellor Jeremy Hunt in a

position there's chatter about Westminster this evening but he would be the markets choice in somebody they're familiar with he worked in the city as

well so one of their own and many instances.

Next, he needs to focus on uniting a very divided party, no governor would be possible, no policy would be possible, or legislation if he can't get

the conservative party disciplined and working together.


That may include selecting cabinet members from different wings of the party, people he may have fairly acrimonious relationships with, it might

even blame him for the political downfall of the previous prime minister, Boris Johnson. That's going to be a big priority for him.

But I also think, Isa, I'm sure he'll be keen to try to reestablish Britain's position on the international stage as a law-abiding country, one

that doesn't threaten to break international law, a country with allies and partners, those who Britain trades with and can depend on.

And a lawmaker from the conservative party text me earlier saying, we can bring a sigh of relief because a grown-up is back in the room. You know,

that wouldn't be an opinion that everybody agrees with, but definitely some international partners will feel like Britain could be in a more

predictable, safer pair of hands with Rishi Sunak. They'll be keen to reestablish that.


NOBILO: And also to burnish any of the shine that may have been removed with the political turmoil of recent weeks, why Britain in some quarters,

has become something of a laughingstock for its sheer political turnover.

SOARES: Yeah, I've been asking my guests here, Bianca, how they would describe them -- decent, competent, intelligent, and unifying. A lot of

work cut out for him, that's for sure.

Bianca Nobilo, outside of 10 Downing Street, thanks, B.

Let's bring in Quentin Peel, associate fellow at Chatham House and commentator at "The Financial Times".

Great to have you, back with us Quentin. Bianca was talking about a poisoned chalice for him. Just how much work does he have?

QUENTIN PEEL, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, EUROPE PROGRAMME AT CHATHAM HOUSE: It's a nightmare really and I'm amazed that anybody could want to do this job

because all the things that Bianca said, economic crisis, the after effects of COVID, the aftereffects of Boris Johnson having really treated the prime

minister's office as a bit of joke almost and undermine the credibility of it.

So, I think that Rishi Sunak is going to need all the wit and wisdom that he can summon to both unify his party and restore some of the credibility

of the government. I'm not sure if it's going to be possible, but he's an interesting man and he doesn't get much away. So, we're waiting to really

find out, you know, who is the real Rishi Sunak? Is he a Brexiteer, is he's going to be fiercely anti-European, or is he going to be just a budget

disciplinary in, who will try to keep it in control and spending?

SOARES: You now, in terms of the economic, we have some sort of idea where he stands. Do we not, Quentin?

PEEL: Yes, I think. I mean, he made it very clear in his contest for the leadership against Liz Truss that he would not go down the tax-cutting

route until he got spending under control, and so, very much a conservative, fiscal disciplinarian. But nonetheless, that's not everything

at a time like that is. He needs to have more of a vision, to really restore confidence in his government.

And I think, absolutely central to this is how does he restore faith, in the sanity of the governor, which is derailed over the last six years by

the whole Brexit process. And it's very split and divided. He needs to put front and center, restoring good relations with the rest of Europe.

SOARES: Yeah, and the battle as you laid out, Clinton, isn't just economic. It's also political. You hint that that in terms of trying to be

a unifying force, something that Bianca said as well. I mean, this is a very divided party, we've seen that. You and I have discussed many times


Is he that unifying force?

PEEL: I'm not sure. Because the party is deeply split between if you like a really right wing, rather English nationalist group, who the ones who led

the Brexit process, and the much more traditional centrist figures who seem to be the friends and colleagues who are around Rishi Sunak, even though he

voted for Brexit, and he's seen as a Brexiteer. Indeed, has the support of some of those English nationalists who have really passionate Brexiteers.

Somehow, he needs to bring them all together. Liz Truss didn't make a good fist of that, she just surrounded herself with her friends. I think he

needs to show, he's big enough to have both critics, and allies in his cabinet.


SOARES: And on that point, Quentin, will kind of cabinet -- who do you think we'll see in his cabinet?

PEEL: Well, the one person we're pretty confident he's going to hang on to, is his successor, Jeremy Hunt, because he seems to be the figure that's

reassuring the markets. But the other figures will be, there are some -- there are some distinguish figures on the back branches of the party who've

been out in the cold now, and really, ever since Brexit referendum. And it would be interesting to see if he can bring them back.

He needs a strong foreign secretary, will make a mark in the international community. And I think, he needs a strong home secretary who will deal with

the whole question of immigration, which is at a very difficult and divisive one in the conservative party.

SOARES: Yeah, he needs to show that he's reaching out doing something, we know Liz Truss did not do.

Quentin Peel, always great to get your insight. Thanks, Quentin.

And still to come tonight, Russian officials accusing Ukraine of planning a heinous provocation. But Kyiv and the West warn the claim is a dangerous

false flag. We'll explain for you.

And we'll take a look at how the Iranian governments trying to control the narrative on how the media is covering protests sweeping across the


Those stories after this short break.


SOARES: Now, NATO is warning Russia not to manufacture pretext to escalate the war in Ukraine, rejecting Moscow's claim that Ukraine is planning to

use a dirty bomb. Now, Russia's defense minister phoned multiple Western officials saying Ukraine could deploy such a weapon laced with radioactive

material. Moscow says these plans are in the final stage.

Ukraine strongly rejects the accusation. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has invited U.N. nuclear experts to come to reassess the situation themselves.


Russia says, the threat exists whether Ukraine and the West want to believe it or not.

Meanwhile, Russia's pressing ahead with evacuations from Kherson. That is the only regional capital it has captured in advance of an unexpected

Ukraine offensive. But as it moves its civilians out, it's reportedly moving in new military units.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen explains what the troop deployment could mean for the next phase of this war.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Ukrainian forces continue to make gains in the south of the country, Moscow

accelerating the evacuation of people from the area around Kherson.

Ferries bringing tens of thousands across the Dnipro River the Russians say to safety, Ukraine says these are essentially deportations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My mother needs medical treatment. She is ill. And, of course, we are afraid for our lives. We live

not far from the Antonivskyi Bridge. I think everything will be fine. Kherson will hold out.

PLEITGEN: Local officials believe this could be the beginning of a full Russian retreat from this area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The occupiers and collaborators are leaving the west part of the region in quite a dramatic way. This

happens along with the total leaching (ph) of Kherson city and the region west of the river.

PLEITGEN: But Ukraine's military intelligence say they believe Russia is actually building up its forces here for a massive stand rather than

readying for withdrawal.

But as Vladimir Putin's troops lose ground, officials in Moscow are making troubling accusations.

In a call with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu alleging, without any evidence, that Ukraine is planning to

detonate a nuclear-laced improvised device, a so-called dirty bomb.

A Russian general adding to the claims --

LT. GEN. IGOR KIRILOV, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY (through translator): The provocation is aimed at accusing Russia of using weapons of mass

destruction at the Ukrainian theater of operations that will launch a powerful anti-Russian campaign in order to undermine the confidence in


PLEITGEN: Kyiv sharply rejects the allegations, even asking the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect its civilian nuclear sites.

The IAEA already has staff in the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant trying to prevent an atomic disaster there.

Ukraine's president hurling the allegations back at Moscow.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Never again will Russia be able to dictate anything to anyone. It no longer has the

potential to dictate. The world sees that. Russian potential is being wasted now in this madness, on a war against our state and the entire free


PLEITGEN: The Russians continue to hit Ukraine with long-distance missiles and drones this weekend, Mykolaiv and elsewhere.

The Russians are continuing their air campaign against the public infrastructure of this country hitting civilian areas like right here,

killing and wounding scores of people. But the air campaign is also taking a massive toll on the energy infrastructure of this country, leaving

hundreds of thousands without power.

The Ukrainians say Russians airstrikes won't stop their advance. Kyiv's army looking to retake as much of their territory as possible before winter

sets in.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.


SOARES: Well, let's turn our attention to Iran now where students are at the center of the protests against the regime sweeping across the country.

Have a look at this video from Iranian state news agency, SNN, students are interrupting the conference, as you can see, the government spokesperson at

a university in Tehran, and they are holding signs and charging the site throughout the last seven weeks. Women, life, freedom, forcing officials to

end the event. You can see it here they're clapping.

More demonstrations have been reported at universities and schools in different Iranian cities over the past several weeks.

Our Nada Bashir reports on how the government is controlling the narrative by silencing journalists. Have a look.



NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Women, life, freedom. Rallying cry that's growing stronger as protests in Iran enter their sixth

week. Sparked by the death of 22 year old Mahsa Zhina Amini, who died in the custody of Iran's notorious morality police in September.

But as the regime intensifies its brutal and deadly crackdown on protesters, it's also scrambling to control the narrative, jailing at least

40 journalists since protests first began according to the CPJ.

YEGANEH REZAIAN, COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS: These are just estimations. I'm sure correct tallies over 400. Some of the cases of these

journalist that we've covered, as soon as they reported about the news, on the Twitter channels, the next day they were arrested.


BASHIR: And just walk me -- walk me through the tactics being used by Iranian regime. How are journalists in Iran being repressed?

REZAIAN: Security forces usually raid the homes of journalists after midnight, in order to create an environment of scare and fear. They usually

transfer these journalists immediately to solitary confinement. In most cases, they don't let the journalist have access to a lawyer.

BASHIR: Much of Iran's media is under state control, with journalist to reject the states narrative facing harsh penalties.

Among them, Niloofar Hamedi, one of the first journalist to break the story of Amini's death in Iranian media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know Niloofar Hamedi has been held in solitary confinement.

BASHIR: Here in London, journalists at the pro-reform news outlet, IranWire, which has been working with CNN to cover the ongoing protests,

are meticulously documenting the detention of journalist in Iran.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of them needs to be confirmed.

BASHIR: It's a growing list, with a concerning lack of clarity on where many of these journalists are being held. Among them are citizen

journalists, bravely documenting the regime's crackdown on their phones, and on social media.

MAZIAR BAHARI, IRANWIRE: So, for our citizen journalists inside the country, are the most important colleagues we have. Without them, we

wouldn't be able to operate. These are the people who risked their lives in order to report.

BASHIR: With Internet blackouts being used by the Iranian authorities as a tool to stem the spread of information, the role of journalists on the

ground bearing witness to atrocities perpetrated by the Iranian regime is growing more important and more dangerous.

Nada Bashir, CNN, London.


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

And continued unrest in Myanmar, as air strikes reportedly killed dozens of people, attending a concert held by a rebel group in the Kachin state on

Sunday. The U.N. is calling for those responsible to be held accountable saying the use of force against unarmed civilians is unacceptable.

Well-known Pakistani journalist, Arshad Sharif, has been fatally shot in Kenya, apparently at a police checkpoint, but it's not clear who killed

him. He was in Kenya after fleeing Pakistan and Dubai. Pakistan had charged him with sedition, for criticizing the state. He claimed Pakistani agents

had been harassing him, even abroad.

A car bomb and shooting attacks at a hotel in southern Somalia has left nine people dead, and that leads to 47 other wounded. Police say three al-

Shabaab gunmen breached a hotel, after a fourth accomplice triggered a car bomb that devastated much of the building. It ended with vessel forces

killed the gunman, in a shootout.

Ethiopian peace talks are due to begin in South Africa sparked by recent intense bombings in Tigray. This will be the first time delegations from

both sides meet publicly since the war began nearly two years ago the conflict stems from the power struggle between Ethiopia's federal

government, and regional authorities in Tigray.

Now, Chinese President Xi Jinping has secured a third term as leader of the ruling communist party, effectively, paving the way for indefinite rule.

And it was good news for Chinese stock markets on Monday. They've had the worst day since the 2008 financial crisis.

In the meantime, inside mainland China, unprecedented protests against Xi's role have been taking place. Slogans against the president and zero COVID

policy are spreading in the country's public bathrooms. Yes, you heard that right. That's because restrooms are the only place without security


Our Selina Wang has the story.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Graffiti with angry messages scribbled all over bathroom stalls might be a common sight in much of the

world. But not in China.

The Chinese characters scrawled in this Beijing bathroom reads, anti- dictatorship, anti-COVID tests. Messages like this are spreading in bathrooms in several Chinese cities. It's because public restrooms are one

of the only places in tightly surveilled China without security cameras.

This graffiti says: Remove dictator and national traitor, Xi Jinping.

Some of them even written in English. No to COVID tests. Yes to food. No to lockdown. Yes to freedom.

No to great leader. Yes to vote. Don't be a slave. Be a citizen.

Their messages copy the slogans written on two banners hung on a busy overpass in Beijing, a rare protest in the capital just days before the

start of the communist party congress.


The banners cleaned up, then quickly censored from Chinese social media.

But it didn't stop people from replicating the act around the world. The same slogans hung on London's Westminster Bridge and draped over the

Chinese embassy in London.

But inside China, public displays of dissent towards Xi are extremely rare. It could lead to long prison sentences or even worse.

We spoke to one man who graffitied in a bathroom. We're shielding his identity because of fears of retribution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I had to wear a mask and when I was writing, I was worried someone might catch me. We can only write

slogans in places like bathrooms to express our political views. It's so pathetic we've been suppressed to this degree.

WANG: In another Chinese city, a person wrote the same slogans with a picture of Winnie the Pooh in a crown, canceled. China has censored any

images of the cartoon character being compared to Xi.

The author texted CNN: I hope people who see my slogan can start changing their minds, realizing they've been brainwashed.

We have no way to independently verify all of the graffiti, and it's unclear how widely held these views are in a police state.

But frustrations in China over the country's zero COVID measures are growing. Harsh lockdowns over a handful of COVID cases, constant COVID

testing, mass quarantine facilities.

The anti-Xi slogans are rapidly spreading from China to campuses in America and around the world.

And in Paris, an outdoor play to parody Xi Jinping's rule. Xi dressed up in the emperor's clothes, then being dragged down by COVID enforcers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If we don't do anything, it means we are willing to be ruled by the CCP. When I saw the graffiti in that

bathroom, I started crying. It shows that some of the Chinese people want democracy and freedom of speech and are willing to pay a price for it.

WANG: Yet Xi's power is ironclad. The public's anger reduced to scribbles in bathroom stalls, and even those will be quickly painted over.

Selina Wang, CNN, Hong Kong.


SOARES: And thank you for joining me throughout the day for a special coverage from the Houses of Parliament.

"WORLD SPORT" with Don Riddell is up next. I shall see you tomorrow. Have a wonderful day. Bye-bye.