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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Ukraine War; Iran Protests; Twitter Turmoil. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired November 17, 2022 - 17:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Christina Macfarlane in London. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

A born survivor, as strikes continue across Ukraine, we'll introduce you to Olga who is preparing for the winter with no power or water.

Then, two months of revolt. The latest from Iran, where five protesters have been sentenced to death.

And commit or leave. It's just struck 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, marking in on Musk's deadline ultimatum to Twitter employees.

Russia is bombarding Ukraine with a fresh, punishing round of airstrikes as the first snow of winter falls on Kyiv and temperatures plunge below

freezing. Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Moscow fired dozens of missiles and drone attacks Thursday. And now, 10 million people are

without electricity. He says, it's further proof that Russia simply wants the Ukrainian people to suffer. At least four people were killed in

Zaporizhzhia and 23 were wounded in the city of Dnipro.

Well, all of the damage, the carnage, the fear, the darkness, caused by Russia's war is why NATO, the U.S., and E.U. say Ukraine is not to blame

for the missile incident in Poland. Investigators say, all the evidence so far indicates the missile that fell in Eastern Poland came from Ukrainian

air defenses and that it was entirely unintentional.

Let's go straight out our Sam Kiley, who's joining me now live from Kryvyi Rih.

Ten million people without electricity today, Sam. Talk us through the latest wave of missile strikes and what the situation currently is for

Ukraine's energy system.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, broadly speaking, Christina, the energy system is not on its knees, but it's definitely been

winded. The 10 million, as you say, the latest figure coming from President Zelenskyy for the people who are getting intermittent or no power. And that

is as temperatures begin to plummet, almost on a daily basis.

It's not just above freezing here in Kryvyi Rih. But out in the recently liberated areas, it'll be a much colder night.


KILEY (voice-over): Olga is proud of her garden, proud of her home and proud to have lived through eight months of Russian occupation. Now free,

her focus is on the future although the present is still dangerous.

OLGA GRITSUNIAK, LOCAL RESIDENT (through translator): Look at this, how we fortified our basement with the old man, because of how they shoot from

there over the river. There's some shrapnel pieces from our yard.

Do you see how sharp they are?

KILEY: The day before yesterday?

GRITSUNIAK: Thank God we survived all this. We hid in the cellar for ages. Two days ago, there were a lot of explosions and today, it's calm.

KILEY: There is no power, no water supply, but plenty of resourcefulness.

GRITSUNIAK: We are storing water here, in drums.

KILEY: This summer under Russian occupation was not wasted.

GRITSUNIAK: Tomato juice, salads pickled in a jar, canned grapes, tomatoes, juices, and even canned currants.

KILEY: You are obviously a born survivor.

GRITSUNIAK: Well, I am. He's the one who's scared and I'm not.

KILEY: Just a few days ago, this village was the scene of ferocious fighting as the Russians were driven out of this part of the Kherson

region. The problem for those who remain behind, the villages here, is that their war is not over because the Russians are easily within range and hit

this place on an almost daily basis.

In the next village, the few locals left were too anxious about a Russian return to speak on camera. And we were told to stay out of sight. Five

Russian rockets landed here this morning, we were told.

Liberated roads and tracks are still heavily mined, slowing efforts to rebuild. Russia has retreated from here, but it shifted much of its effort

to attacking Ukraine's power grid and infrastructure.

Civilian targets are a priority for long-range Russian missiles.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Dozens of missiles, civilian sites are the main target. Russia is waging war on

electricity and heat for people by blowing up power plants and other energy facilities.

KILEY: Fifteen civilians, hospitalized after this strike in Dnipro. Temperatures are falling, millions are often without power. In the cities,

that is a looming nightmare.


Here, they may be better prepared.


KILEY (on camera): Now, Christina, I think the tactic here from the Russian perspective is to try to get Ukraine to get exhausted by this war.

It doesn't have an infinite number of soldiers, it doesn't have an infinite ability to tolerate freezing temperatures, which is what the Kremlin would

like to impose. But it's having to do that as quickly as it possibly can, because it is losing ground on the ground -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yeah. Still incredible to see the resilience of average Ukrainians as the temperature continues to dip.

Sam, thank you very much.

Well, in the Netherlands, guilty verdicts of mass murder today in the shoot-down of the Malaysian airliner eight years ago. A Dutch court found

two former Russian operatives and Ukrainian separatists guilty of firing the missile that destroyed the passenger plane of a Russian patrol Donetsk

in 2014. It sentenced the three men to life in prison and awarded more than $60 million to the families of the 298 victims. But the men were tried in

absentia, so they never have to face that sentence.

CNN's Nic Robertson is following the verdicts and the reaction from the Ukrainian capital.

So, Nic, as we say, these three men have been tried and in absentia. So what are the chances of them ever serving time for this horrendous attack?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Russia says is not going to extradite them and that would seem that they will get off

scot-free. It appears, at this stage. Unless there's some deal in the future that would involve Russia handing them over. But that's so far in

the distance, it's impossible to imagine.

But President Zelenskyy is looking into that distance and looking at this verdict, and he has said that this shows that the Russians perpetrating

these acts, these criminal acts, can be brought to justice. He said, it's important that their bosses, in this case, this attack in 2019, that

political -- who created the environment to allow this to happen, that would be President Putin and those in his government, should be brought to

justice as well.

And he extrapolates that forward to all the war crimes that are being committed in Ukraine today, saying all those responsible should therefore

be brought to justice. This is proof that it can be done, accumulate the information, accumulate the evidence, find the names, match it to the acts.

They also can stand trial, as well as just as these three mended trial in absentia, of course. But the his greater point is, and I think this is one

that's very apropos of the moment, where there is increasing pressure on president Zelenskyy, particularly coming from the United States and the

Joint Chiefs of Staff General Miley, saying this is a good time to try to get peace with Russia. What President Zelenskyy sent was a lasting peace or

the foundation for a lasting peace can come if you have that level of accountability that was witnessed today in the court -- over MH 17, albeit

it took eight years.

He says, bring those in charge to justice as well. Do that for the crimes being committed now. And that is the path to a lasting peace.

MACFARLANE: This is, of course, not done, so we will see where it goes. Nic Robertson, thank you for now.

Well, Brittney Griner's agent tells CNN that the basketball star has been moved to a penal colony in Russia's Moldova region. The agent says,

Griner's attorneys saw her there. She began serving her nine-year prison sentence. She was convicted in august of smuggling drugs into Russia and

her appeal was rejected last month. She has repeatedly apologized for bringing a small amount of cannabis into the country. Former U.S. marine,

Paul Whelan, is being held in the same region.

Now, it's been two full months since thousands of people across Iran had taken to the streets to demand regime change. More than 14,000 people have

reportedly been arrested and CNN understands that at least five people have been sentenced to death.

On Wednesday, at least seven people killed in the shooting in the southwestern city of Issa, including a nine year old boy. Religious school

was also set on fire and authorities are blaming the deaths on terrorists. Let's bring in our CNN's Jomana Karadsheh, who's been covering this war for

almost two months from Istanbul.

Jomana, the protests appear to have testified this week and this news of yet more death sentences is, of course, alarming.

What more do we know of the charges that these five people are facing?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christina, at least five death sentences for protesters announced since Sunday. They were

sentenced by revolutionary courts in Iran and trials that are being described as show and sham trials by human rights organizations. Now, these

male protesters received the death penalty for the Islamic republic's crimes of waging war against god and spreading corruption on earth.


And what that means, they're accusing them of spreading terror on the streets, they say, acts of arson, in one case, at least, killing a police


And there's a lot of concern from human rights organizations that we might be seeing more and more of these death sentences in the coming days. They

say that the regime is using the death penalty as a tool of political repression to try and crush these protests, and to stop these people from

taking part in these demonstrations. As we enter this third month of the national uprising, we are also seeing the crackdown intensifying and the

death toll continuing to rise.

Christina, we have to warn viewers that they may find some of the scenes in our report disturbing.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): Nine-year-old Kian wanted to be an inventor. He shows off a wooden boat he made for competition. We don't know when this

video was filmed. It surfaced on social media after little Kian was killed. He was one of a number of people killed Wednesday in what state media said

was a shooting incident in the southwestern city of Isa, where anti government protests have been raging for days.

Family members say, Kain is on his way home with his father when he was shot. The Iranian government says, this was a terrorist attack. But

activists say Kian is a victim of the regime's ruthless crackdown on protests, one of more than 40 children killed since September, according to

rights groups.

Every day for more than 60 days now, Iranians have been burying their dead. More than 300 lives lost in this battle for change. Thirty-year-old Burhan

Karami was shot in the head on Wednesday, according to activists. This disturbing video captures the moment the bullet struck him.

At Karami's burial, mourners chant, mother, don't grieve for your child, we will take his revenge. With every funeral, the rage grows, the brutality,

only fueling their determination to risk it all for regime change.

That regime, struggling to contain the popular uprising, is now sentencing protesters to death. Several have been handed the death penalty this week

in what human rights groups say our sham trials, the repressive republic's latest attempt to crush the growing dissent. But nothing seems to be

stopping the will of the people.

The third month of the uprising began with a new wave of strikes and protests sweeping across the country, the rising voices for freedom,

refusing to be silenced.


KARADSHEH: And really remarkable scenes tonight, Christina. We are seeing protests taking place across the country. Some of the most intense, some of

the most widespread demonstrations we have seen so far. In Tehran, in cities like Mashhad, more conservative, religious cities that are

considered to be the power base of the clerical establishment, and also across the Kurdish region in the west.

But a lot of concern we're hearing from Hengaw, an organization for human rights that monitors these situations in the Kurdish region. They are

saying that they're getting reports of a rising death toll tonight in the Kurdish region, Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, disturbing developments. As you say in your piece, Jomana, nothing appears to be stopping the will of the people. It is truly

extraordinary. Thank you so much for your reporting.

Now, as some provinces in China mark 100 days of lockdown on Thursday, public unrest is growing over the country's COVID restrictions. With no end

in sight to the lockdowns, people are struggling to get enough food and essentials, prompting a new crisis for the mental health of residents.

A warning to our viewers, Selina Wang's report contains some distressing images.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The piercing cries of a grieving daughter. She nails and cries by her mother, who lays motionless

on the ground, still wearing her mask. Her mother jumped to her death from the 12th floor of their apartment building. Their compound, under lockdown

in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, after two COVID cases were reported.

In this widely shared audio recording, the daughter's heard banging on the tall barricades that block residents inside. She pleads, open the gate,

open the gate, I'm begging you, please. She's eventually allowed to rush to her mother's side. Neighbors filmed the tragedy from their windows.


Audio messages capture their desperate pleas to building management to be allowed to come for the daughter. COVID enforcers and police surround the

body. Local police said, the 55 year old woman suffered from anxiety disorders. A later statement from police blamed managers of the loft

building for their slow response.

In the eastern province of Shandong, a group of COVID enforcers in hazmat suits drag a resident out into the streets. To people hold the man down

while others kick and punch him. Another woman is thrown to the ground.

Many cases of brutality from COVID workers have not been held accountable, sparking outrage in China. But this time, police, without giving a motive

for the attack, detained seven COVID workers involved in the beating.

In Hubei province, just outside of Beijing, a desperate father steps out of his car, holding a knife. He tells the authorities his baby son has been

out of baby formula for a long time during lockdown. He gets back in the car and drives right through the COVID barrier. Moments later, police

arrived. They escort him, handcuffed, towards a large group of policemen.

They surround him. One policeman sprays him down with disinfectant. He's arrested, all because he needed to feed his baby.

After outrage on Chinese social media, local police released a statement saying the man had been fined only a hundred yen or less $15 and that his

child milk powder problem had been resolved.

These scenes of suffering and tragedy adding to rage over the growing human and mental health toll of Chinese brute force COVID restrictions. In the

southern metropolis of Guangzhou, residents locked down for weeks rushed to the streets, pushing, kicking down red barriers and metal gates trapping

them in buildings.

Protesters cheering and shouting, demanding that they want to eat, they want to be unsealed, as people struggle to get enough food, essentials and

medical care and lockdown.

Beijing recently announced incremental changes to COVID restrictions but set the country is sticking to its zero COVID policy. And for people who've

lost their loved ones in lockdown, these changes are all too little or too late.

Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


MACFARLANE: Truly desperate situation in China there.

OK, coming up, Amazon and Meta has started to lay off their employees in another tough week for Silicon Valley. Why there's such a contrast with the

tight jobs market we're seeing elsewhere.

And the end of an era, a towering figure in U.S. politics is stepping down from a leadership role after the midterm elections.



MACFARLANE: All right. Welcome back.

Let's get you up to speed now on some of the other key stories making international impact today.

Myanmar state media has announced that hundreds of prisoners have been pardoned by the ruling military junta. Among them, former British

Ambassador Vicky Bowman, Australian economist Sean Turnell, and Japanese journalist Toru Kubota. Pardons were granted on humanitarian grounds to

mark the country's national day on Thursday.

A U.S. federal judge has given authorities five weeks to stop using a controversial policy known as Title 42 that allows the expulsion of

migrants at the Mexican border. The policy allows authorities to turn away migrants if they determine it could stop the spread of contagious diseases.

British finance minister Jeremy Hunt announced a new fiscal plan to tackle the cost of living prices and rebuild what he calls trust in the U.K.

economy. The plan involves higher taxes and cuts on public spending, aimed at saving 55 billion pounds.

Twitter's new owner and CEO Elon Musk had given employees a choice, to click on a link at the end of an email to stay at the company or be let go.

Well, that deadline passed about 20 minutes ago. Silicon Valley has cut tens of thousands of jobs in recent weeks, and that is not easing recession


Vanessa Yurkevich has the story.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In three weeks, the tech industry lost tens of thousands of jobs. Historic

layoffs at Twitter, Meta, Lyft and Amazon., a crowdsourced layoff tracking site, puts it at more than 35,000 layoffs so far this month.

ROGER LEE, FOUNDER, LAYOFFS.FYI: That's the highest month since the pandemic. So that beats April 2020, which was 17,000 employees laid off.

YURKEVICH: Meta cut its workforce by 13 percent. CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying he's taking accountability and apologizing to those impacted.

New owner Elon Musk slashed half of Twitter staff with founder Jack Dorsey tweeting: The company grew too quickly, I apologize for that.

And Amazon is laying off ten thousand workers this week, citing an unusual and uncertain macroeconomic environment.

NELA RICHARDSON, CHIEF ECONOMIS, ADP RESEARCH INSTITUTE: There were big investments made during the pandemic time. While the rest of the economy

for example was plummeting by 3.4 percent, tech grew by 4 percent.

YURKEVICH: But in a post-pandemic high inflation world, consumer behaviors and spending habits are changing, with the threat of recession on the


RICHARDSON: I take this as a sign that maybe companies got over their skis at some point, right, and they're trying to kind of sit upright again.

YURKEVICH: Roger Lee founded as the pandemic unfolded. Recently, he's been digging deeper into the numbers.

LEE: There have been many companies who have been letting go half or more of their recruiting HR teams just because they're not hiring as many people


YURKEVICH: Aaron Backman, a recruiter at a tech company, was one of those layoffs.

What did that feel like for you?

AARON BACKMAN, LAID OFF FROM TECH COMPANY: It was a really awful feeling. We were told really early in the morning an email saying layoffs are coming

today. And if you get a call, it's going to be you. And I sat there for six hours on slack and watched my colleagues get laid off one by one.

YURKEVICH: Then he got the call.

BACKMAN: It's depressing.

YURKEVICH: As American workers watch tech giants shed jobs at a rapid clip, many in other industries are asking, am I next?

Should they be nervous?

RICHARDSON: First of all, the tech economy are just two percent of the labor market. Tech is an important part of the economy but it is not the

whole of the economy. The rest of the labor market is looking pretty good.


The economy is adding jobs at a pretty healthy clip.

YURKEVICH: Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, New York.


MACFARLANE: Now, historical shift at the balance of power is underway in Washington. The first and only woman ever to be U.S. House speaker is

stepping down as Democratic leader. Nancy Pelosi made the announcement on the House floor receiving a standing ovation in tribute.

She's a towering figure in U.S. politics, third in line to the presidency and has served in Congress for 35 years. Pelosi is not leaving the House

but will make way for new Democratic leadership in January when Republicans assumed control.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus that I so deeply respect, and I am grateful that so

many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.


MACFARLANE: Well, Pelosi told CNN last year that she encourages the younger generation to enter politics despite the difficulties.


PELOSI: I was the first woman speaker at the House, I can attest to being a target as a woman on the Internet and elsewhere, especially among anti

women and other anti is that they have. When I tried to encourage women to run for office, they say I don't know what I could put up with what you put

up with.

I say it's worth it. This is not for the faint of heart, it's never been, but nonetheless, the opportunity to make a difference for the future

depends on us having beautiful diversity in our ranks electorally.


MACFARLANE: And ending on some sports news tonight, Wimbledon has announced it will relax its strict rules on white clothing at the

championship, allow women to wear dark undershirts. The move relieves a potential source of anxiety for players when they had their periods. The

Women's Tennis Association, clothing manufacturers and medical teams were all consulted on how best to support women competing. The All England Club

released a statement saying, quote, it is our hope that this rule adjustment will help players focus purely on their performance. About time


Thank you for watching. That was THE BRIEF.

Stay with us for "WORLD SPORT" coming up next.