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CNN International: IAEA Team to Inspect Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant; Players Ordered not to Wear #onelove Armbands; Colorado Police Investigate Motive in Club Shooting; Biden Turns 80: Should he run again; Parents Welcome Twins from Embryos Frozen 30 Years Ago. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 21, 2022 - 08:00   ET




MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST NEWSROOM: Hello and welcome to CNN "Newsroom". I'm Max Foster in London. Just ahead, you are playing with fire. That's a warning from the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog after Russia and Ukraine trade blame over shelling around a nuclear plant.

Plus, politics off the pitch European football teams elect not to wear these armbands in World Cup action would have the latest life in Qatar. And Joe Biden turns 80, the first U.S. President ever to do so in office. Does that make him too old to run for reelection?

The U.S. nuclear watchdog Chief is calling for an end to the madness after fighting rocked Europe's largest atomic power plant over the weekend. And he says whoever is responsible for the attacks is playing with fire. An IAEA inspection team is set to arrive at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power facility today, but it's not yet clear which side is responsible for the explosions. Both Kyiv and Moscow are trading blame.

Meanwhile, Ukraine says Russia in the shelling hit the nearby Southern District of Nikopol overnight, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the heaviest fighting is taking place in the Eastern region.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: The fiercest battles as before are in the Donetsk region although there are fewer attacks today, due to the deterioration of the weather. The number of Russian shelling occasions remains unfortunately, extremely high.

The second topic is energy restoration of networks and technical supply capabilities. Demining of power transmission lines, repairs, everything goes on around the clock.


FOSTER: CNN's Matthew Chance joins me now live in Kyiv and a huge amount of concern around the world, Matthew about this nuclear plant. What is the status?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You are right; a lot of concern and it's concerned that's been ongoing for the past several months since Russian forces took control of that? Well, it's the biggest nuclear power station in Europe and there have been sort of almost constant battles in the areas around it for control of the area. It found itself unfortunately, right in the center of this incredibly brutal conflict.

Last 24 hours, there have been very dangerous explosions taking place in the actual vicinity of the nuclear power plants. According to a reports from the area, a number of buildings in the in the zone have been struck. Nothing fortunately, that has caused a radioactive leak.

Although that is a distinct possibility, IAEA the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog as saying that we're talking about explosions taking place meters, not kilometers, not miles, but meters away from critical bits of infrastructure that if they're hit, would be potentially catastrophic. And even the Russians at this point, are warning of the potential for a nuclear accident at the scene. Now, both sides, as you say, are blaming one another for the explosions.

The Ukrainians say that it's the Russians that are basically shelling it. The Russians say it's the Ukrainians and you know, without trying to take sides, what the IAEA is doing is saying, look, whoever's doing it. Let's just stop. Let's just take a step back to prevent what could be a very serious nuclear accident indeed, Max.

Matthew Chance in Kyiv, thank you. And now football fans rejoice the 2022 World Cup is finally here. Excited fans have been pouring into Doha for the last few days now. Qatar's team fell to Ecuador yesterday.

And now England is taking on Iran just one of the three games today. The event isn't without controversy. FIFA has told players they cannot wear these one love armbands which are aimed at inclusion or seven European clubs says in a statement they will abide by the decision but it disappointed by it. Let's go straight to the action and Amanda Davies joins us from Doha. And this is because FIFA has threatened to book any players wearing the armbands. Is that correct?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT: It is Max; you know it was just a couple of weeks ago that FIFA called for all these teams at this tournament to stick to the football not to get involved in the politics. I have to tell you as Group-B kicks off politics and protests is still very much dominating the headlines. England against Iran has just kicked off within the last couple of minutes. It appears that the Iran national team opted not to sing their national anthem.


DAVIES: The feeling is that is a protest against the regime in Iran in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini. England for their parts, then took a knee carried on the theme that we've seen from them since the death of George Floyd's their show of solidarity and the fight for against social injustice. And then the other story dominating the headlines is the one love armbands, as you very much mentioned this was something that a group of European teams requested to wear the captains of their teams.

That essentially a rainbow band to show solidarity with members of the LGBTQ+ community because of this rising wave in social activism within football, and of course, the fact we're sitting here in Qatar, where it is illegal to be gay. The problem is the when the announcement was made, it seems they hadn't got the OK from football's world governing body FIFA who have said time and time again a very long standing rule that it is not allowed to show political signs or symbols within the footballing realm. If you do you get punished with suspensions.

So FIFA have stood firm, they were saying that they would issue yellow cards to any players who wore those armbands. And it seems that the crux of the issue is, these teams are here to win a football tournament and ultimately, when you're talking about the captains of the teams like England and the Netherlands, the likes of Harry Kane and Virgil Van Dijk.

The teams that association so said ultimately, it's too dangerous surprise for them to pay if one of their key players might be suspended for a game so early in the tournament. You can absolutely understand the outrage, the disappointment from members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The feeling that football is more important than their rights but equally you can see it from FIFA's perspective they have said the rules have not have never changed, and they don't want to set a precedent. I guess the teams were hoping that in the current climate, there might be a bending of those rules, which hasn't come about.

FIFA, though have said that all the teams will have the option of wearing a no discrimination band in these early stages of the games as part of a project that they have started with the United Nations. It's not what many were hoping for, but Max, the action is underway. That is fair to say today, the first day with three games on the agenda.

England against Iran, I mentioned it is just what some seven minutes and it will be quickly followed by arguably the game of the day. The Africa Cup of Nations champions Senegal, up against the Netherlands and then the U.S. return to the World Cup for the first time in eight years against a Welsh side back at this tournament for the first time since 1958.

FOSTER: It really feels like it's starting properly now, doesn't it? Amanda, thank you so much for joining us from Doha. Back with you when we get the results much more still to come this hour on the Qatar World Cup. And we will be back along with Alex that's on CNN's "World Sport" coming up in about 20 minutes from now.

Now the Colorado Springs, Colorado community is paying tribute to victims of Saturday's deadly LGBTQ nightclub shooting. A synagogue there held a vigil on Sunday night for the five kills and dozens injured at Club Q. After a 22-year old suspected gunman entered around midnight and immediately started shooting. Colorado's governor has ordered flags lowered to half-staff on all public buildings through to Saturday. In a statement U.S. President Joe Biden called the shooting senseless. So threats of violence are increasing. Let's get to CNN's Rosa Flores who's in Colorado Springs, Colorado and we're just trying to figure out the motive but what happened is just terrific.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Max, it really is in this community this morning in grief and in sorrow. Club Q is one of two LGBTQ clubs here in Colorado Springs. And as you might imagine, everybody knew everybody else and so everyone knows someone impacted.

I talked to one LGBTQ community leader late last night and the way that she put it she said, this is the safe space for so many individuals and now they know that safe space has turned into a crime scene you can see the crime scene tape behind me and their safe space has been shattered. It's a crime scene. Some of their friends and their family are dead and others are still fighting for their lives.


FLORES: There are still some individuals who are in critical condition fighting for their lives this morning, Max it was very, very complicated. We are learning more from authorities about what they believe transpired but again it's very early in the investigation. Police have identified the suspected shooter as 22-year old Anderson Lee Aldrich. Police say that the first 911 calls came into dispatch at about 11:56, 57 pm on Saturday within three minutes the first officers were on scene within two minutes.

Then after that the suspect was taken into custody. Now police say that as soon as the suspected shooter entered Club Q he started shooting, but then shortly thereafter, one or two patrons took the Man's weapon and subdued him. And according to at least one witness, they said they subdued him they started kicking him until authorities arrived and authorities now credit these individuals for saving countless lives.

Then, of course, firefighters arrived after that for triage, Max and as soon as you might imagine just a lot of very intense moments here at Club Q that you see behind me as then authorities and first responders scrambled to get some of these victims to hospitals and some of them are still in the hospital this morning, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Rosa, thank you for bringing us that. Now sixth protester has been sentenced to death in Iran according to the country's state media. It follows another bloody weekend for the nation as the government continues its brutal crackdown on protesters in the Western Kurdish region.

Iranian authorities have also arrested two well-known actresses after they showed solidarity with the protesters. You can see one appeared in public without her job. The other actress had posted a video of herself on social media without her headscarf back in September. Jomana Karadsheh has been following these developments from Istanbul and Turkey. What are we learning then about the violent crackdown in Western Iran?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Max, a lot of concern right now about the unfolding violent and bloody crackdown taking place in the Western part of Iran in the majority Kurdish areas, where we are learning from hangout that's a human rights monitor based in Norway, but it has been monitoring and documenting human rights abuses taking place in the Kurdish areas.

They say that since the new wave of protests began last Tuesday. They have seen an intensifying crackdown in these Kurdish areas where a lot of these protests have been taking place. They say they have also seen a significant increase in brutality, they say by security forces opening fire directly and deliberately at protesters and even shooting into people's homes.

They say, since last Tuesday hangout has documented the killings of at least 41 people. At least 13 of those have been killed in the last 24 hours according to hangout, Max. And at least seven of those, the majority of those killed in the last 24 hours in the town of Javon root.

A lot of concern about a very, very dangerous situation that activist and hangout or warning is unfolding right now in that town where they say that security forces are attacking protesters and they are worried that that death toll is only going to rise. The Iranian regime Max has sent in reinforcements, security forces and military, members of the Elite Revolutionary Guard Corps have also been deployed to the Kurdish region.

What the Iranian regime is saying and they have been pushing this narrative for weeks now. But what we are seeing in the Kurdish region is a separatist movement. They are dismissing the protesters and their grievances they're describing it all as a separatist terrorist movement and saying that the military has been mobilized to confront these terrorists so a lot of concern about what we might see happening in the coming hours and days, Max.

FOSTER: OK Jomana Karadsheh in Istanbul, thank you. Still to come, U.S. President Joe Biden makes history again. He's the first person to turn 80 whilst holding that office. But what does his political future hold? Is he too old to run for reelection?



FOSTER: Welcome back, is Joe Biden too old to run for reelection? Or can he run again? The U.S. president turned 80 on Sunday the first auto division area and ever to hold that office. Here's a picture from his party posted by wife, Jill Biden.

He's not the only elderly politician. Of course, currently in Washington, a lot of the big names have got very big ages as well. Everyone from Donald Trump to Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell and actually Biden did speak to our own Jake Tapper in October about the subject of age. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: What's your message to Democrats who like you who like what you've done, but are concerned about your age and the demands of the job?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, they're concerned about whether or not I get anything done. Look what I've gotten done. Name me a President in recent history has gotten as much done as I have in the first two years, not a joke.

You may not like what I got done, but the vast majority of American people do like what I got done. And so I just it's a matter of, can you do the job? And I believe I can do the job.


FOSTER: Let's bring in CNN senior reporter, Isaac Dovere. He's in Washington for us this morning. Thank you so much for joining us. So what does the party generally the Democratic Party, think of Joe Biden's prospects in an upcoming election?

ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: They have started to warm more and more to him. It's hard for Democrats not to look at the results of these midterm elections two weeks ago, and be too scared about where things are? And what Joe Biden says about them is, look, we put an agenda forward for the American people.

We tried to get the through, a lot of it did get through, and the voters responded well to it. That's a reason to be proud of what we did, and to think that it'll work well for the future for him and for the Democratic Party. A lot of Democrats, though, would look at this and say, hey, that's very good.

But we're still a little uneasy about the generational question here. And also look at the political considerations and tell me. They're very pleased to see out of spite, essentially, that Donald Trump is not getting a warm reception from Republicans with his new presidential campaign announced, but they're worried about what might happen if another Republican goes up against Joe Biden.

FOSTER: So how much is age and actual part of this conversation? Because 80 does feel very old, doesn't it? Particularly for younger voters, and we talked about how a lot of the politicians right now are very old, aren't they for politicians, and to young people connect with them?

DOVERE: Well, it's a question that comes up all the time and focus groups and private polling that's done by Democrats, not only Joe Biden's age but concerns whether he's up to the job. Those things that you heard him addressing in that interview with Jake Tapper, but a lot of younger voters turned out for Democrats in these midterm elections. And one of them is a guy named Maxwell Frost.

He's an incoming member of the House of Representatives from Florida. He's 25 years old, the First Gen Z member of Congress elected and he said to me, he's really excited to back Joe Biden for running for reelection, because he's proud of the agenda that Biden put forward and that he feels like Biden is the most progressive president that we have had in America, and that's a reason for young people to support him.


FOSTER: Where are the younger politicians? Are they there in the Democrat Party, for example?

DOVERE: They're there; they just have not been in leadership position so far. But you did have Nancy Pelosi who you had on screen there a few moments ago. She's 82 years old Speaker of the House has been in control for the Democrats in the House for the last 20 years or so.

And just last week announced that she would be stepping back from leadership and there will be a new generation of leaders coming in there, whether we see that going on elsewhere in the Democratic Party, in the Republican Party. That's what the next couple of months are going to tell us.

FOSTER: Isaac Dovere in Washington, thank you very much indeed. Now, you'll want to see these true medical marvel newborn twins born from embryos that were frozen 30 years ago. Meet Lydia and Timothy right after this break.


FOSTER: A set of twins born just outside Portland, Oregon in the U.S. are in effect decades older than their four siblings. That's because they were born from what may be the longest frozen embryos ever to result in a live birth. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has their amazing story.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: In April of 1992, more than 30 years ago, the world was a lot different. Bill Clinton was running for President. Bones look like this. I was 23 years old. And at a small clinic these embryos were frozen, suspended in time at nearly 200 degrees below zero waiting patiently at the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. That is until just a few weeks ago, when twins Timothy and Lydia were born to Rachel and Philip Ridgeway of Oregon.

PHILIP RIDGEWAY, LYDIA'S AND TIMOTHY'S FATHER: When we heard about embryo adoption, thought that's something we would like to do and it's something we think we're able to do.

DR. SIGAL KLIPSTEIN, REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGIST: Adoption refers to living children and it's a judicial order. It's a legal process by which a parent-child relationship is created when it did not previously exist.

GUPTA: Dr. Sigal Klipstein is a Fertility Specialist in Chicago and Chairs the American Society of Reproductive Medicines, Ethics Committee. She was not involved in the Ridgeway's case. KLIPSTEIN: Embryo donation is a medical procedure. It's a way by which we take embryos from one couple or individual and then transfer them into another individual in order to build families.

GUPTA: Freezing embryos is not a new technique. In fact, the first baby born from a frozen embryo was back in 1984. But at a time when medical science has pushed the boundaries of life earlier and earlier, a new question has arisen, how late is too late?

RACHEL RIDGEWAY, LYDIA'S AND TIMOTHY'S MOTHER: Going into this process we wanted to choose children that in our eyes were the most unwanted, the neediest the ones in a lot of ways that have been overlooked.

GUPTA: Intentionally or not, the Ridgeways have set a record after 29 years and 10 months that donated embryos are believed to be the oldest embryos ever to result in a live birth.

P. RIDGEWAY: We weren't looking to get the oldest embryos that have been frozen the longest in the world. We just wanted the ones that are waiting to see the longest.

GUPTA: NEDC is a faith based center. The center says they have now facilitated more than 1200 births through donated embryos.


GUPTA: And according to the Society of assisted reproductive medicine the number of donated embryos has steadily declined from about 1000 a year in 2013 to about 2100 in 2020, of which around 40 percent resulted in a live birth.

R. RIDGEWAY: Dr. Gordon has shown me the picture and I see the three of them and then he said, so, you know, multiple skew can cause problems and pregnancy. And so at this point, I would recommend just transferring to, we'll put the third in the freezer, you guys can come back for it. And so I looked back at Dr. Gordon and started to get teary eyed and said, No, you just showed me a picture of my three children, I have to have them all.

DR. JOHN GORDON, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, SOUTHEASTERN FERTILITY: I didn't think he would get pregnant. I figured that the more likely outcome would be a pregnancy. But during an ultrasound, they discovered they were having twins.

KLIPSTEIN: We don't think there's any risk to freezing embryos that's related to the number of years that the embryo was frozen. We have been preserving embryos for nearly 40 years, and there's not been an increased risk to the babies or to the pregnant women. What makes the embryo a good quality oftentimes is the age of the woman at the time that she donated eggs and so the younger the woman, the more likely that embryo is going to be chromosomally normal.

GUPTA: For the Ridgeways. It's all part of something larger, something they view as a personal mission.

P. RIDGEWAY: So it's hard to wrap your mind around that I was five years old when God gave life to Lydia and Timothy, in a very real sense, there are children, even though there are smallest children.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.


FOSTER: Amazing story, thank you for joining me here on CNN "Newsroom". I'm Max foster in London. "World Sport" with Alex Thomas and Amanda Davies is up next.