Return to Transcripts main page

The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Ukraine Power and Water; Russia LGBT Law; New York Sexual Assault Law. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired November 24, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Ahead, from Kyiv to Odessa, how Ukrainians are coping with blackouts, water supply is being cut off, and food shortages.

Then, Russia's Duma approves an L -- approves an LGBT propaganda bill that targets adults.

And a new law in New York now allows sexual assault victims to sue their alleged abusers, with a wave of cases now being filed.

After enduring nine months of war and increasingly difficult hardships, Ukrainians are as defiant as ever, a vowing not to cave to Russia's attempt

to freeze them into submission. Authorities are scrambling to turn the heat on and the lights back on, after Russian missile strikes targeted critical

infrastructure, triggering the worst national power outages yet.

Ukraine says, it has now restored about 50 percent of its electrical service. Water has also been restored across Kyiv, though not at full

capacity. Earlier, residents had to queue in the pouring rain to collect water from public wells.

Despite the widespread blackouts, doctors in Ukraine are still working around the clock to save lives, even performing heart surgery by

torchlight. A medical services director shared this video, showing doctors wearing head lamps as they operate on a child at the Kyiv Heart Institute.

Surgeons at other hospitals also worked through the blackouts to save lives.


ILLIA YEMETS, CARDIOVASCULAR SURGEON: This morning, I decided to do urgent operations. Despite bloody Russian bombing. Despite the most terrible

situation that I have ever seen in my surgical life, because of stopped electricity, stopped the water supply, stopped the warming, and I explained

it to parents that we have a choice. Not to do nothing and then we will die, or to give a chance. If the patient was successful and they now they

are in stable condition and they hopefully will survive


MACFARLANE: Just incredible. Well, officials in Kyiv have set up what they call invincibility sectors, to help people cope with the blackouts.

Residents can warm up, charge their phones, and access the Internet all free of charge. Thousands of the centers are open around the clock,

providing badly needed services.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): After yesterday, the children woke up saying, we want to eat. The power was cut yesterday at 12:10 and

there was no water, nothing. Today, the same.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This morning, I struggled to get even a few lines of signal to find out where the invincibility centers

were. So, I walk for more than a kilometer to get in touch with my relatives, get warm, and drink some tea. We have been living without power

for more than a day. There was a planned outage yesterday, but after that, no power was switched back on until now.


MACFARLANE: Well, the power outages are not only affecting residents in the Ukrainian capital, but also people who have been displaced by the

relentless attacks on the war front.

CNN's Matthew Chance went to visit a reception center in the key southern city of Odessa, where he met people turning up to get basic personal

supplies. He filed this report for us.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All right, well all over Ukraine, people, because of the Russian missile strikes, are being

forced to abandon their towns and villages, and their homes. I've come to reception centers like this one in Odessa, to try to get some basic



What kind of things you have here? I'm asking her. What's that?

All right, okay. Sanitizer, sanitizer, yeah, soap. Food as well.


That's flour. Fish, that's tinned fish. There are all sorts of things. Some of it, of course, is given by private donors. You can see some from USAID,

from U.S. aid organization, the government aid organization. And it's really just scratching the surface when it comes to to the humanitarian


All right, well we've come inside the reception center and you can see there are people sort of crowded in here giving their details so they can

receive some of this aid distribution.

Let's speak to one of the organizers here.

Victoria, hi. Have you got a minute?


CHANCE: How many people do you look after every day here in the center?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every day, we have from 500 to 700 families a day.

CHANCE: So that's how many people?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot count how many.

CHANCE: More than 1,000, right?


CHANCE: Yeah, that's a lot. Is that number increasing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It goes up. The quantity goes up. I don't know if it's very high because these three days, we had no light and, you know, a

lot of houses are totally depend on light.

CHANCE: So, people have got no electricity?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, we have no warmth, we have no --

CHANCE: No heating? And people can't cook food and keep warm?

All right, we'll just outside the reception center, we found this food kitchen that's been set up here in the center of Odesa, which is obviously

giving people perhaps the only hot meal they can get in these very difficult times of power cuts, food shortages. It's been here, this

facility, for some years before the war.

But in the past few months, the situation has gotten a lot worse. Refugees displaced, people from around Ukraine, are highly dependent on this and the

humanitarian situation in the country, because of the Russian missile strikes and the ongoing conflict, is getting a lot worse.

Matthew Chance, CNN in the center of Odesa, in southern Ukraine.


MACFARLANE: Now, the lower House of Russia's parliament has passed a bill which bans so-called LGBT propaganda, among adults. Once it goes into law,

that will mean that anyone who promotes or praises homosexuality could and up with a heavy fine.

Let's get more on this now from CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Moscow.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, the so- called LGBT propaganda law was passed by the lower house of Russian parliament, by the State Duma. And gay activists here in this country say

that it essentially could criminalize being openly gay in Russia.

Now, according to the text of all of this, it bans praising nontraditional sexual relationships or suggesting that they are normal. Now, all this

really pertains to all facets of the public sphere. We're talking about media, radio, television, also the Internet as well, but even books.

And the fines are really steep. It ranges from thousands of dollars for individuals to tens of thousands of dollars for legal entities or

companies. And if you're talking about foreigners, they face up to 15 days in prison and then possibly being deported.

Now, we were watching some of the proceedings in Russian parliament, essentially what the lawmakers there were suggesting is that they believe

that the West was trying to spread homosexuality here in Russia and undermine traditional Russian values. In fact, the speaker of Russian

parliament called this law the answer to Blinken, of course, talking about the U.S. secretary of state.

We'll listen into some of what speaker of parliament had to say.

VYACHESLAV VOLODIN, CHAIRMAN OF RUSSIA'S STATE DUMA: It is the best answer to the United States Secretary of State Blinken. Stop imposing on us

foreign values. You destroyed your values.

We will see how it ends, but that is sad, for sure, because it is sodomy. I can't say it in any other way. The United States of America has become the

global center of this sodomy. Let them live there. Do not touch us.

PLEITGEN: Now, all of this has already had a chilling effect on the gay community here in Russia. There are some gay activists that we've been

speaking to who say that right now, they are trying to lay low, trying to not really comment on this.

But in the public, there are others who are openly saying that they believe that they might have to leave the country. In fact, a lot of gay people

have already left the country in the past couple of months, and indeed, in the last couple years.

Now, one of the things that we need to point out is that this law has not gone into effect yet. It has been passed by Russia's lower house of

parliament, the State Duma, but still has to go through the upper house of parliament, the federation council, and then also it has to be signed by

President Vladimir Putin.

Nevertheless, the pressure continues on Russia's LGBTQ community, which has already been faced with a lot of pressure here in the society over the past

couple of years.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


MACFARLANE: The U.N. Human Rights Council has now voted to investigate Iran's deadly crackdown. The vote passed by a comfortable margin, 25

countries voted in favor, while six voted against, and 16 abstained.

Here's the U.N.'s human rights chief.


VOLKER TURK, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: The unnecessary and disproportionate use of force must come to an end. The old methods and the

fortress mentality of those who wield power simply don't work. In fact, they only aggravate the situation. We are now in a full fledged human

rights crisis.


MACFARLANE: (AUDIO GAP) are accused of committing abuses as they try to repress the protest movement that started more than two months ago. The

death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was in morality police custody back in September, is when it all started.

Well, Apple supplier, Foxconn, is reportedly offering its employees 14,000 U.S. dollars to quit their job at the world's largest iPhone factory in

central China. This comes after videos emerged on social media of the workers in the city of Jim Zhao demonstrating better pay and sanitary

working conditions. They can be seen here in this video clashing with police in riot gear. From the protesters can be heard complaining, the

company failed to honor their promise of an attractive bonus and pay package after joining the company.

Two Foxconn workers describe the working conditions at the factory and CNN is blurring their identities to protect them.

Take a listen.


FOXCONN WORKER (through translator): They hit workers heavily and ruthlessly. The scene turned into a river of blood.

Foxconn changed its policy such that workers had to work more days to get the bonus they were promised. So, they felt cheated.


MACFARLANE: In a statement released on Thursday, Foxconn apologized for failing to pay workers what they promised, citing a technical error.

Meanwhile in Beijing, a surge of COVID-19 cases has forced millions of people under a draconian lockdown. Sometimes residents are not allowed to

leave their homes, even to receive medical care.

CNN's Selina Wang speaks to the family of one man who died just because of that.



SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They sit together sobbing, shaking, looking at photos of his father, her husband, and mourning his

death at their home on the outskirts of Beijing.

The local government killed my dad, he tells me, breaking down in tears.

I just want to get justice for my dad. Why did you lock us down? Why did you take my dad's life away?

His 58-year-old father needed emergency medical help when their building was locked down. He says there were no COVID cases in the building but

China seals off entire neighborhoods, even when there are only suspected cases nearby.

Do you blame your father's dead on this country's zero COVID policy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, very sure.

WANG: He says his father was in healthy condition when he suddenly collapsed. No one could go in or out of the building for help.

He shows me the numerous calls he and his mother made to the emergency line. He recorded one of his many calls as he became increasingly


He says the ambulance took an hour to arrive. By then, it was too late.

He shows us the way to the hospital.

It took us about five minutes to get from his house to the hospital, less than two mile as way when his father was sick, he had four relatives

waiting outside his building begging to go in and drive him to the hospital. But they wouldn't let them in.

He says authorities in the hospital gave him no explanation for why the ambulance took so long. All they gave him was this document, stating the

date and time of his father's death.

His mother unable to speak, overcome with grief. She cries like this day and night.

Why are you taking the risk to speak to us?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want this kind of thing happen again in China and anywhere in world. Because of the lockdown and the medical shortage,

shortage of ambulance, caused my father's death.

WANG: Outrage in China is mounting over the human costs of the country's draconian zero COVID policy. China carefully counts every COVID death, but

not the countless people who died because they couldn't get emergency care during lockdown.

Authorities have acknowledged many of those cases. But they usually blame poor enforcement of zero COVID instead of the policy itself.

Before his father's death, he fully supported the country's zero COVID policy. But the local government's execution of the policy is beyond

reasoning, he says. It's inhuman.

He shows me his favorite picture of his father surrounded by family. His son who was closest to his grandfather now struggles to eat or focus, he

tells me. The quarter of his room piled with lettuce, potatoes, leeks and canned food.

He says all this food here is in case they get locked down again. The corn planted by his father is one of the few things he left behind.

His grief now mixed with fury. He struggles to comprehend the meaning of it all. His father's death in the name of zero COVID.

Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


MACFARLANE: Really, so incredibly sad. Our thanks to Selina for that.

All right. Let's take a look at the other key stories making international impact today. The European parliament on Thursday voted in favor of a

resolution deploring the human rights situation in Qatar, a statement condemns the deaths and injuries of thousands of migrant workers, mostly

working to help the country prepare for this year's World Cup. The E.U. is also calling on Qatar to decriminalize same-sex relations.

In Afghanistan, Taliban officials say they flogged a dozen people in public on Wednesday. The Islamic group is returning to its strict interpretation

of Sharia law, after Taliban supreme leader said this month that it was needed for those convicted of certain crimes. Public lashings happened when

the Taliban last ruled from 1996 to 2001.

Well, Malaysia has a new prime minister. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in on Thursday. Neither he nor his rival won a majority of seats

on Saturday's elections. Malaysia's king appointed the 75-year-old political veteran after speaking with lawmakers. This opponent is vowing to

challenge him.

OK. Still to come on THE GLOBAL BRIEF, former U.S. President Donald Trump just got hit with a new lawsuit. He's being sued for alleged battery and

defamation. We will tell you who is suing him and what a brand new law in New York has to do with it.

And policymakers in Europe are concerned now that Twitter's office in Brussels has closed. We'll explain.



MACFARLANE: Welcome back.

Thursday saw two highly anticipated debuts for this year's World Cup.

First, Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal played their first batch after the star's departure from Manchester United. He scored the first Portuguese

goal, and the team beat Ghana 3-2.

Then, Brazil, considered favorites, kicked off their campaign against Serbia. They won very easily 2-0. We're going to have much more on this and

all the other action coming up in a just few minutes on "WORLD SPORT". So, stay tuned for that.

Now, a new law in New York is giving adult survivors of sexual assault another chance to sue their abusers even if the clock has run out on their

claims. This new law allowed a former magazine columnist to file a civil lawsuit against former U.S. President Donald Trump.

With more now, here is CNN's Kara Scannell.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Ex-magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll has filed a new lawsuit against former President Donald Trump. Carroll is suing

Trump for battery and defamation. She says the former president had raped her in the mid 1990s in a dressing room of a New York City department

store. She also says he defamed her when he denied the allegations of rape, saying that he didn't know who she was, and she made up the assault to

boost sales of her new book.

This is the second lawsuit brought by Carroll, but the first time to hold the president accountable for the alleged assault. Carroll is bringing this

lawsuit under the new New York state law, called the Adult Survivors Act. That allows any adult to bring a lawsuit against anyone that they say

sexually assaulted them, no matter how long ago the alleged attack occurred.

Trump attorney Alina Habba responded to the lawsuit, saying: While I respect and admire individuals that come forward, this case is

unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this act which creates a terrible precedent and the runs the risk of delegitimizing the credibility of actual


Lawyer say to expect a flood of lawsuits under this new law. If you look to a 2019 law that was passed that allowed child victims to bring claims,

there were 11,000 lawsuits brought in that two-year window.

Back to you.


MACFARLANE: All right. Adidas is launching an investigation into allegations of misconduct by Kanye West. This comes after the "Rolling

Stone" magazine reported that west allegedly created a toxic and chaotic environment when he was working on his Yeezy collaboration with Adidas.

According to "Rolling Stone", former Yeezy team members wrote a letter to Adidas this week alleging that the sportswear manufacturer ignored

inappropriate behavior by West.

Adidas ended its partnership with the rapper last month over antisemitic comments he made.

The E.U. justice commissioner met Twitter executives in Dublin Thursday. Didier Reynders tweeting, he expects the social media platform to comply

with E.U. rules. That comes amid rising concerns over safety for users in Europe, after Elon Musk reportedly disbanded Twitter's entire Brussels

office. The office was tasked with keeping the social media platform compliant with the bloc's new rules on disinformation and hate speech.

Now in the last couple of hours, Elon Musk has tweeted amnesty and suspended accounts will begin next week. That was in response to a poll he

posted on Wednesday asking if more banned accounts should be restored. It comes after the billionaire reinstated former President Donald Trump on the

platform. All of this, though, is adding to Musk problems of holding on to advertisers. Clare Sebastian has that part of the story for us.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, many big advertisers have already fled Twitter amid concerns about content moderation. Twitter's new

owner tweeted early Tuesday that hate speech was down by a third from a quote pre-spike levels. They do not specify exactly what date he was

talking about, but did acknowledge a spike in hateful tweets right after he took over the company.

Why the claim decreased? Musk credits limiting the amount of tweets that a single account can post in a day, in his words, to below what a speed

typist on meth could do.

But it's difficult to corroborate his claim. The chart he posted also does not clarify what he was talking about, and there was no other evidence


And there are concerns that since he took over the company, his free speech policies may have actually made it harder for the platform to police


Just this week, Twitter paused paid verification at blue check mark because it was leading to too much impersonation and confusion.


And under Musk, a number of high-profile accounts banned for disinformation, including, of course, former President Trump, have been

reinstated. And he may be getting ready to double down on the policy. On Wednesday, Musk tweeted a paw on whether Twitter should grant a general

amnesty to all suspended accounts, as long as they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.

Well, Musk claims about hate speech came on the day that the E.U. justice commissioner was in Dublin, set to visit among other places, Twitter's

European headquarters. The E.U. has just tightened rules on policing online platforms with its new digital services act. It has already warned Musk to

stick to its rules.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


MACFARLANE: Now, he's been called the world's first parastronaut. The European Space Agency has selected British Paralympic sprinter, John

McFall, making him the ESA's first astronaut with a physical disability. McFall lost his leg in a motorcycle crash at the age of 19, when the bronze

medal at the 100 meter race at the 2008 Paralympic Games.

He's also a surgeon, and he will help the agency accommodate people with disabilities, so they can live and work in space.

Now, Germany kicked off its Christmas season earlier this evening, when the German chancellor Olaf Scholz participated in a Christmas tree ceremony.

Scholz used the even to reflect from the challenges of 2022, including Russia's war on Ukraine.


OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): It is simply a nice tradition to congregate around a Christmas tree, especially when it is a

well-grown tree like this one. This also particularly applies the times like today. Many of us have our thoughts with the people in Ukraine, who

just a little more than 1000 kilometers away defend their lives, land and freedom with impressive courage. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians found

refuge in our country as well. They are and remain very welcomed here.


MACFARLANE: Well, Christmas traditions in Germany and other European nations begin early in December on the six, known as St. Nicholas Day.

Children receive stockings full of small toys, oranges and chocolates. There's also a big feast and a visit from the Krampus, a horned beast that

scares kids who misbehaved. Instead of receiving a visit from Santa on the 25th, the Christkind, translated to child Christ, delivers presents for

children on the 24th.

I think I shall use that as an excuse to put my decorations up earlier this year.

That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF. Thanks so much for watching.

Stay tuned for "WORLD SPORT" with more on the World Cup, up next.