Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

CNN International: Russia Launches new Strikes across Ukraine Thursday; Dutch Court to Rule in Trial for 2014 Downing of Flight MH17; UK Finance Minister Announces $65B in Tax Rises and Spending Cuts; W.H.O.: Uganda to Receive First Trial Vaccine Doses Next Week; How should the World Engage with Xi; Qatar Dogged by Controversy ahead of Tournament. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 17, 2022 - 08:00   ET




MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Hello welcome to CNN "Newsroom", I am Max Foster, London. Just ahead investigators are on site at a Polish farmer's questions still remain over a deadly missile incident there, will live in Ukraine this hour. Plus, the Dutch court is issuing a verdict over the downing of Flight MH17.

We'll have the very latest details for you. And the U.K. Finance Minister outlines a new budget. But will it be enough to calm the markets after all that recent turmoil?

For two days after a missile crashed down in a rural Polish village, there's more consensus it was likely fired by Ukrainian forces defending their country against a Russian assault. The head of Poland's National Security Bureau says evidence collected so far by NATO, the U.S. and Poland. Points to that conclusion, Ukraine's President says it's important to establish all the facts. Yesterday, he suggested it wasn't a Ukrainian missile that fell in Poland is demanding that Ukrainian investigators be given access to the explosion site.

Meanwhile, on the ground in Ukraine, there are no doubt its Russian missiles targeting civilian infrastructure across the country. President Zelenskyy says dozens of missiles were fired at several cities early today, mostly hitting power plants and energy sites. This driver in the City of Dnipro caught one strike on camera earlier on Thursday.

Let's get straight to Kyiv where our Nic Robertson is standing by for us live. Just explain, Nic, if you would, the Ukrainian view of this missile strike yesterday, it doesn't seem entirely clear when other countries are saying it was certainly looks to be a Ukrainian missile.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I think it's becoming clear on Max. What we heard from the Ukrainian Air Force yesterday was that they did say that they were targeting Russian missiles close to that area where the incident happened in Poland where two civilians were killed on that farm. President Zelenskyy briefing local journalists here late yesterday afternoon had said that it wasn't a Ukrainian missile.

But he gives a nightly Presidential address, which is his summation of where he thinks the events of the day stand. He didn't make that denial again, he said that Ukraine was being transparent that all the evidence that it had was available that he said Ukraine wants to be part of the investigation into that missile incident in Poland. And the polls have said they see no objection to that.

Their American partners in the investigation police officials say they don't anticipate any issues there. It does seem that whatever information or reasons for President Zelenskyy saying yesterday that it wasn't Ukrainian center had been dialed back and he's falling in line with the evidence. That's all the information that's been presented not only by his own air defense teams, but also by NATO allies and partners.

So it does seem that the issue of Ukraine denying that it was theirs. It does feel to me as if we're beyond that moment. And of course, the day more, as you say targeting of Ukraine's sensitive infrastructure.

Interestingly, we've heard from the head of Ukraine's or one of Ukraine's gas distribution companies here saying that their facilities were targeted. And this does seem to be Russia widening its targeting of infrastructure facilities beyond electricity. And now we're hearing more about gas infrastructure.

Five missiles shot down over Kyiv today, four drones also shut down according to Ukrainian authorities. But that incident, you spoke about in Dnipro, where there was an explosion there Russian targeting several strategic infrastructure facilities there. 14 civilians were killed, one of them a 50 injured rather, one of them a 15-year old girl strikes also in Kharkiv in the Eastern Odesa in the South all again targeting vital infrastructures in the country, Max.

FOSTER: Nic Robertson in Kyiv, thank you very much. Now we are awaiting a Dutch court to rule in the murder trial of four men for their alleged role in the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane. Flight MH 17 was shot down over Eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

At that time the area was the scene of fighting between pro-Russian separatists. And Ukrainian forces are the suspects were in fugitives and are believed to be in Russia. They face life sentences. Nada Bashir on the story joins us from London. So what are we expecting here?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Look Max, hearing is currently underway. We are expecting that verdict to be issued in the coming hours.


BASHIR: This is of course a long awaited moment, the judge opening the hearing actually acknowledging this is something that many of the loved ones and relatives of the victims of the MH 17 downing have been waiting for now more than eight years. So a significant moment here for those relatives and loved ones but of course, this is a significant move, because this is the first time that an independent judgment has been issued in relation to the 2014 incident as you laid out there, four individuals in question facing this gentleman.

Three Russian nationals and a Ukrainian national are tried in absentia. And of course, they face accusations and allegations of mass murder for their connection. And work alongside Russian rebels, the downing of flight MH17 in 2014, killing nearly 300 people on board.

So this is a significant moment they are facing life sentences. Of course, there are as you mentioned there, they are believed to be held in Russia, so it is unlikely that they will be extradited. But of course, we are still waiting to hear the final verdict which will be issued in the coming hour or so.

But the timing of this is, of course, significant many of the relatives and loved ones and others commenting on this incident in 2014. Now looking back at the situation in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine with you know questions over whether or not the international community should have perhaps taken tougher action against Russia's actions in Ukraine in 2014 with regards to their assaults on the Ukrainian territory, by pro-Russian separatist rebels, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Nada back with you when you get a result on that. So here in the U.K., British Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt has just delivered his high stakes autumn fiscal statement, speaking before lawmakers Hunt him out $65 billion worth of tax rises and spending cuts. And acknowledge the toll that spiraling inflation is taking on households.


JEREMY HUNT, FINANCE MINISTER OF UNITED KINGDOM: High inflation is the enemy of stability. It means higher mortgage rates, more expensive food and fuel bills, businesses failing and unemployment rising. It erodes savings causes industrial unrest and cuts funding for public services. It hurts the poorest the most, and eats away at the trust upon which a strong society is built.


FOSTER: CNN's Nina dos Santos joins me from outside the Houses of Parliament. And Nina, Jeremy Hunt was brought in to say Britain's financial reputation wasn't he? Do you think he's achieved that?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Max. And he talks about the need to make these difficult choices earlier today to ensure the U.K. had fiscal stability. He didn't however, acknowledge the fact that the black hole he was left to try and do some complicated calculations to fill over the last month or so was let left by his predecessors of the same ruling conservative party.

Now, his statement earlier is going to mean many millions of people we dragged into paying a lot more tax. He lowered the top of the threshold for the top rate of tax at 45 percent to kick in earlier. That will probably negate a lot of pay rise demands that people will have to try and mitigate the highest rate of inflation that this country has seen in 40 years.

Remember that yesterday's inflation figures came in at over 11 percent. Food prices even higher than that 45 percent, higher 16 percent and then, of course, there are high energy costs that people have to contend with.

He tried to tackle some of these issues in this statement, extending relief and help for households contending with those sky high energy bills for longer. But he also made that package less generous because it would kick in at higher energy bills. And then what he did was say he had to make some cuts to certain services, he's going to be putting taxes on things like electric vehicles, but that'll only kick in in a couple of years, time.

There were acknowledgments that some public services did need to be ring fenced, or indeed reinforced. And that was particularly true for the National Health Service that of course, is dealing with a huge backlog of patients, because of the pandemic he raised funding for that also marginally raised funding for education across the U.K. as well, saying that that was a necessary investment for the future. All in all, the markets have appeared to react neutrally, both in terms of the currency markets and the stock markets to this budget for the moment as obviously economist digest what's in it, because it appears to be fiscally neutral in terms of borrowing.

But of course, there will be many people even within the ruling conservative party, who say that it might have been worth borrowing a bit more at this difficult time when people are seeing their purses pinch so much to try and stimulate growth and help people with this precipitous a cost of living crisis, the country is going through Max.

FOSTER: OK, Nina outside Parliament. Thank you very much indeed. We'll be monitoring the markets and the reaction there. Now she is one of the most powerful women in American politics. Now Washington is waiting to hear what lies ahead for Nancy Pelosi.


FOSTER: The prominent Democrat is set to make an announced went about her political future in the coming hours. Well, she will lose her position as House Speaker come January after the Republican Party won control of the House in the midterm elections. CNN, projects the Republicans now have 218 seats. That's a razor thin majority, far shorter, the predicted red wave some were talking about.

CNN's Jessica Dean is following all the developments for us. She joins us now live from Capitol Hill. So do you think that Pelosi will stay in the house? What do you think she's going to do?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, that's the kind of the million-dollar question. We do know that she plans to address her future today with a floor speech. What we don't know is exactly what she's going to say or what she's decided a source telling us. She took home two versions of that speech last night. And there has been so much buzz about this. Of course, as you mentioned, she is a mammoth figure in American politics, serving as the first and only female Speaker of the House of Representatives here in the United States.

And she has wielded tremendous power over both the Democratic Party, but also across the spectrum of American politics. Really, quite a foil to Former President Donald Trump when he was in office so it is with bated breath that everyone looks to see exactly what her plans will be.

We know that she told our colleague Anderson Cooper earlier this year that the incident the attack on her husband, Paul Pelosi in their home in San Francisco will play a role in her decision. But again, the question is, will she stay in Leadership? Will she get out of Leadership and remain a member? Will she retire altogether?

Those are kind of some of the scenarios that have been floating around. And of course, a whole new generation of Democratic Leadership in the House is looking to her to see exactly what she will do. The House Leadership is mostly in their 80s.

So it a whole new generation, a younger generation is looking to see if perhaps this could be their time to move up. But again, all eyes will be on her. It's about 8 am here in the United States on the East Coast.

They have a meeting at 9 am than the house opens at 10. But it's unclear exactly when we'll know or what exactly will say she'll say, Max. Just that we do know she'll be addressing her future and everyone will be watching here on her.

FOSTER: She is this towering figure isn't she Jessica? We'll wait to see. Thank you very much indeed.

DEAN: Yes.

FOSTER: Now the first dose is of three new Ebola vaccine candidates should have arrived in Uganda next week. That's according to the World Health Organization. The nation has taken tough measures including lockdowns to try to contain Ebola virus outbreak.

We started back in September at least 55 people have died. And currently there's no licensed vaccine for this particular strain. CNN's Larry Madowo joins us from Nairobi, Kenya. Larry, take us through it then this is a big moment.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a big moment because the Sudan Ebola virus currently circulating in Uganda has no licensed vaccine. The Zika virus has a vaccine, but this doesn't. And so what the World Health Organization and Uganda and public health officials have done. Is they will be trialing three different vaccines to see which is the most the safest, they say they're all safe. But what's the efficacy rate? What they will do is called ring vaccination. So they're targeting an initial 3000 people who came into contact with Ebola patients.

And the Health Minister in Uganda tell us that they will follow these people who received the vaccine for 29 days. The aim is to see if they develop enough antibodies that they can protect themselves from developing full blown disease. After that, they will review the data and see if they want to expand that process.

However, even though the Ugandan Government has been aggressive in reaching out. And trying to make sure that everybody who came into contact with an Ebola patient is under quarantine and anybody whose sake is that an Ebola treatment unit. Not everybody is showing up. Listen to one doctor in charge of the region where Ebola is frustrated reported in Uganda district.


DR. JACKSON AMONE, EBOLA CASE MANAGEMENT LEAD IN MUBENDE: Some of the patient they're still hiding. And some of them they don't know that they have Ebola. So they're in the community there. It is very easy for one case, to have a very big multiplier effect.

So we are not yet confident whether the number is going down.


MADOWO: The numbers appear to be stabilizing. Uganda has about 141 active cases right now, 13 are under treatment. And they're only registering maybe three or four every few days. So it's not as rapid as it was before.

The other problem, which President Yoweri Museveni has talked about, is that some Ugandans who come into contact with Ebola patients are choosing to go to traditional healers or witch doctors instead of going into hospitals. And that might explain why you see still see some cases. And in one case in the central region, they exhumed the body that had been buried by the health teams because they wanted to perform proper traditional and religious rites.

And that led to a big explosion in cases in that region. So still a way to go until Uganda has this under control, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Larry, thank you very much indeed. Now still to come. Chinese President Xi Jinping is back on the world stage this week, in a big way.


FOSTER: But after an awkward encounter with the Canadian Prime Minister, other Leaders might be wondering how to deal with them, just stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) FOSTER: Welcome back how shook the world engaged with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, he is firmly back on the world stage. We saw that in a big way. At this week's G20 Summit in Bali. First grabbing headlines for his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden this was their first face to face with Joe Biden as President.

Then there was a series of other meetings, many of them were meant to be behind closed doors at least President Xi thought that was the case. For example, his meeting with Justin Trudeau until the details was leaked. This is what happened after.


XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF CHINA: Everything we discussed has been leaked to the papers and that is not appropriate. And that's not the way the conversation was conducted.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: In Canada we believe in a free and open and frank dialogue, and we will continue to have and we will continue to work constructively together. But there will be things we will disagree on.--

JINPING: Let's create the conditions first.

TRUDEAU: Awkward.


FOSTER: Awkward, I think you'll agree. And it was front page news, back home for the Prime Minister there. This is the front of a paper in Montreal, reading Trudeau get snubbed.

And another paper as well, just showing that this is National Post, or just showing how this really was front page news. Will Ripley, was analyzing all of this from his base, it was a fascinating moment. It does sort of expose doesn't make a difference in the way perhaps Western Leaders and Xi regard these meetings and how they should be treated?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and it's even evident in the press coverage itself. We were watching Chinese state media wall to wall coverage of APEC here in Bangkok. And as President Xi's plane arrived, you know, the announcement was very, you know, very respectful and almost celebratory as he and his wife stepped off the plane.

And then of course, you compare that with this Chinese-Canadian news crew that kind of walked right up to the conversation that Xi was having with Justin Trudeau. Not clear if Xi knew that he was being recorded the entire time. But to be able to capture this really muscular diplomacy is really extraordinary, I think, Max.

Aside of Xi that we normally don't see we normally see him sticking to the script, sticking to talking points. Kind of almost low energy would be the probably the term that the Former U.S. President Donald Trump would use. Certainly wasn't the case, though, in that back and forth with Justin Trudeau of Canada.

FOSTER: Perhaps as well, as you say, we don't often see these moments. Perhaps as part of the fact that he's so newly empowered arguably the most powerful Leader in the world, because of the control he has over his own systems.


FOSTER: So do you think after moments like that, after the G20 of the Leaders around the world will be treating him differently more cautiously.

RIPLEY: Well, there certainly is a noticeable swagger. I mean, he walked in more powerful than any Chinese Leader since Mao Zedong, because of the fact that he was given this unprecedented third term as the Leader of the ruling Communist Party in China, which could pave the way for a lifetime Leadership. And that is extraordinarily different from how China has been operating during those years of breakneck economic growth.

China's economy now is frankly stuttering along in large part, because of Xi Jinping's zero COVID policy. These lockdowns and quarantines, these draconian and almost Orwellian measures that make people 1.4 billion people in China feel like they're living in a pandemic time warp. World Leaders when they speak with Xi Jinping.

And when they tailor their foreign policy towards China they now essentially have to tailor it around the personality of Xi Jinping. That's how much power he has virtually unchecked with a room full of yes man at the top levels of leadership basically, not going to oppose anything that he wants to move forward with. So it is really all about this one man, running a huge country with a huge military and nuclear arsenal.

FOSTER: Apparently, back in Canada, this actually strengthened to those reputations to some extent; this is seen as being tough against the Chinese Leader. But the Chinese Leader was effectively accusing him of lying as well, wasn't he? Because he said it wasn't a true representation of the meeting the material that was leaked.

RIPLEY: Well, first of all, how would Xi Jinping know who it was that leaked the details of those discussions? In a democracy it's actually quite common for things to be leaked to the press. And it could come from anybody who might have been in the room.

But yes, Xi Jinping was right there in the face of Justin Trudeau, essentially saying that, you know that the discussions themselves were not accurate. The representation of discussions was not accurate. That is a really pretty serious accusation to make against the Leader, a democratically elected Leader in the West.

That they might have lied or mischaracterized discussions but that is indicative Max, of China's overall view about the West. The Western media they feel that there's this conspiracy to distort China and its role on the global stage as some sort of sinister plot when in fact Xi feels that he's just bringing China to the - it's rightfully deserved spot in the world.

FOSTER: It is fascinating this video Will Ripley, thanks joining us. Will in Bangkok for us today. We'll be back in just a moment.


FOSTER: Just three days to go until the World Cup kicks off in Qatar. Football fans from around the world have been filling the streets of Doha. So they support for their teams before the all-important matches --. The players from defending champion France arrived on Wednesday ahead of their group stage opener next Tuesday and the tournament begins Sunday with host Qatar playing Ecuador.

But just days before the first kickoff the World Cup risks being overshadowed by a growing list of controversies as Isa Soares reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we now to organize the 2022 FIFA World Cup is Qatar?

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Sport world was stunned when FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar. Controversy took center stage and football risk becoming a sideshow. Why was Qatar a tiny desert state with no football pedigree chosen to host FIFA showpiece event.


SOARES: Even the disgraced Former Chief of football's governing body has since described the decision as a mistake.

SEPP BLATTER, FORMER FIFA PRESIDENT: I was right at a certain time to say it is the show not for them.

SOARES (voice over): That move 12 years ago provoked unprecedented anger, accusations of corruption and sports washing. Qatari officials strongly denied the allegation that bribery was involved in their bid. Before a ball is kicked at this year's tournament attention has focused on Qatar's human rights record, its stance on same sex relationship, and most damaging to its reputation, the treatment of overseas workers drafted in to build essential infrastructure.

Amnesty International claims authorities fail to properly investigate the deaths of thousands of migrant workers despite evidence linking premature deaths with unsafe working conditions in the searing heat. Qatari officials say they investigate all reports of abuse and exploitation and are committed to holding unscrupulous employers to account.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How important is it to keep traditions like this?

SOARES (voice over): Ambassadors like David Beckham had been criticized for accepting roll set to be worth millions of dollars.

DAVID BECKHAM, OTHER AMBASSADORS, CHIDED OVER HIGH-PROFILE ROLES: If you end your relationship with Qatar, I'll donate this 10 grand of my own money.

SOARES (voice over): Comedian Joe lighted called out the Former England Captain saying his status as a gay icon was under threat. Homosexual acts are illegal in Qatar, considered immoral under Islamic law. Punishments include prison sentences and even death.

Organizers told CNN, Qatar is a tolerant and welcoming country and claim no one will be discriminated against. Nonetheless, calls to boycott the tournament have gathered momentum. When the final whistle goes at Qatar 2022 the legacy will be judged not only over 28 days of football, but in the years the lie ahead, Isa Soares CNN.


Not long now, thanks for joining me "World Sport" with Alex coming up next.