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Zaporizhzhia Power Plant Shaken by Weekend Strikes; Police Investigate Motive in Deadly Club Shooting; Start of 32-Team Tournament Thrills Fans Around Globe; Official: U.S. Lags Behind Russia, China in Hypersonic Weapons; Artemis I Entering Next Phase of Moon Mission; COP27 Strikes Deal on Fund to Aid Vulnerable Nations; Renowned Solar Pilot Shares Practical Solutions. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired November 21, 2022 - 00:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome. Coming to you live from Studio Seven at the CNN Center in Atlanta. I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company.


Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, 270 days of war and thousands of missiles. But amid the devastation in Ukraine, a glimmer of hope as one aspect of life returns to normal in liberated territory.

The first full day of World Cup matches getting underway in Qatar after the host nation's loss against Ecuador in the first match. Also --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And lift-off of Artemis 1. We rise together. Back to the Moon and beyond.


HOLMES: Days after lift-off, the Artemis mission to the Moon is about to reach a crucial milestone.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Michael Holmes.

HOLMES: It has now been 270 days since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. And in that time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the Russians have now used more than 4,700 missiles to strike his country.

In an address on Sunday, he said, quote, "hundreds of our cities are simply burned." He also gave an update on the fighting.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The first topic is the front lines. 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. We managed to alleviate the situation in some regions where there were a lot of real problems yesterday. This evening, there are stabilization shutdowns in 15 regions and in Kyiv, as well.


HOLMES: According to Ukraine's national police, more than 44,000 criminal cases have been opened across the country since the start of the war, involving what it says are crimes committed by the Russian military.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's prime minister says more than $2.7 million has been allocated to restore the newly-liberated Kherson region. That will mostly go towards the critical needs of residents, including access to light, water, heat and medicine.

For some, relief came on Sunday as one big supermarket in Kherson came -- became the first to open its doors since the city was retaken by Ukrainian forces.

As you can see there, hundreds of people waiting in line to finally be able to purchase Ukrainian goods, instead of Russian products.

Northeast of Kherson, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was shaken by more shelling over the weekend. Now, Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the strikes, as they have in the past.

CNN's Sam Kiley following developments from Odessa.


SAM KILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Once again, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, which was captured by Russian forces back in March of this year in the early stages of their campaign, is coming under threat.

Now the Ukrainian authorities are accusing the Russians of deliberately targeting infrastructure in that nuclear power station that has cut its ability to supply electricity into the Ukrainian national network.

They say that they had got reactors five and six up and running and supplying electricity into the already teetering network which has been under extreme military pressure from a series of wave upon wave of Russian cruise missile and drone strikes for several weeks.

The Ukrainians saying the Russians deliberately targeted the capacity to supply electricity into that network. The Russians, for their part, are denying, as they always do, any kind of strikes against the facility that is actually under their control.

It is under military control, this nuclear power station, although the workers there are predominantly Ukrainian and some Russian experts, too. And the plan has always been from the Russian perspective to try to pipe that electricity, if you like, into the Russian network. That has not yet happened.

Now, this all occurring as Nikopol across the river from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant received large amounts of incoming Russian missiles and other artillery tanks last night with one person being seriously injured. But dozens of buildings in other locations being hit from arguably areas or fire bases very close to that nuclear power station being used by the Russians.


Sam Kiley, CNN, in Odessa.


HOLMES: Ukraine now responding to Russian war crime accusations. Moscow says video circulated online showed Russian soldiers killed after surrendering to Ukrainian forces.

Well, on Sunday, Ukraine's human rights commissioner claimed the Russians actually staged a surrender and then opened fire, that they opened fire first, adding that, quote, "returning fire is not a war crime."

Russia hasn't yet publicly commented on Ukraine's response.

CNN has geolocated the videos to the outskirts of Makiivka, a recently-liberated villages [SIC] -- village in the East Luhansk region. The edited video purports to show a group of Russian soldiers lying face down on the ground with their hands over their heads.

More soldiers are seen emerging from a building and lying down next to the other troops in the yard. A man can be heard shouting, "Come on out, one by one. Which of you is an officer? Everyone come out."

A short burst of gunfire is then heard before the video cuts off.

A second clip, shot from a drone, appears to show the same men dead on the ground, surrounded by pools of blood.

We are unable to verify exactly what happened in the first clip or what happened between the clips. But we know from Reuters that the U.N. human rights office is aware of the video and is investigating.

Russia's Ministry of Defense, meanwhile, says the video, quote, "shows a deliberate and methodical killing of more than ten immobilized Russian servicemen."

Executing prisoners of war, of course, is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Ukraine has also accused Russia of multiple war crimes since the invasion began. The latest developments now in this weekend's deadly shooting at an

LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Please are investigating the motive and whether it was a hate crime.

At least five people were killed, 25 others injured. Mourners have been laying flowers at a memorial, and U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement, saying he was praying for the victims and their families.

Both of Colorado's U.S. senators have offered condolences. And Governor Jared Polis, the nation's first openly-gay elected governor, has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff.

Here's some of what he said about a possible motive.


GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): We don't yet know the motivation for this particular attack, but there is no -- no good motivation. Right? I mean, this is an act of evil. A horrific act, whether they were targeted for being an LGBTQ gathering place or whether it was targeted for other personal reasons. We simply don't know that at this hour.


HOLMES: Police say the suspected shooter, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, entered Club Q late on Saturday and opened fire with what they describe as a long rifle.

Authorities say at least two people inside the club confronted the shooter, fought with him, and prevented more bloodshed. The suspect survived. He's being treated at a hospital.

CNN's Nadia Romero with more.


NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Another terrible update in this story. Twenty-five people now injured overnight. That number was just 18. So now at 25 injured. Five people dead.

And we were told by authorities that number could continue to fluctuate. We know that not everyone was initially accounted for. Some people may have taken themselves to a hospital. Some people may not have gone at all or reported their injuries.

And that number of people dead stands at five right now, but that number could change, sadly, because we know that there are people in the hospital right now in the intensive care units, fighting for their lives.

I want you to hear from two medical professionals as they discuss what it has taken to take care of these patients overnight and into the day hours.

DR. BILL PLAUTH, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, PENROSE HOSPITAL: We've taken care of seven members of our community, to remain in critical care. But are in excellent hands.

The others five patients mainly had extremity injuries. And two have already been treated and released back to the community. And the others have been admitted to the hospital. They are still undergoing treatment.

DR. DAVID STEINBRUNER, UCHEALTH MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: We do have patients in critical conditions as well. But like everything else, it's a moving target. We have all of our physicians actively taking care of everybody, as appropriate, depending on their injuries.

ROMERO: Police have yet to release any of the names of the victims or those people who were impacted, either injured or killed. They say they're still notifying family members.

But we do know the name of the suspect. Twenty-two-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich. Police say that they recovered two guns in the nightclub. They believe he used a long rifle in the shooting.

The district attorney in that area says they believe he acted alone. But as far as a motive, that's something that people are speculating about. You may see that on social media.


Police right now say that they are looking into whether or not this was a hate crime. That this particular nightclub was targeted because it was an LGBTQ, a gay nightclub.

Now, we know that the FBI is also investigating. That's one of the angles that they'll be looking into, as well, as we await more answers to many of the questions that still remain.

Nadia Romero, CNN, Atlanta.


HOLMES: The Iranian regime continuing to clamp down on those supporting the protests sweeping the country. State media says that two prominent actresses have been arrested for showing solidarity with the protesters.




HOLMES: This Instagram video was posted by one of the detained actresses, showing her, obviously, without her hijab in public. State media says she was arrested a day later and charged with acting against Iranian security and engaging in propaganda activities.

The other actress had posted a video of herself without her head scarf on Instagram, two days after Mahsa Amini's death in custody. Meanwhile, human rights activists fear a crackdown in Kurdish areas of Iran. An activist group posted an unverified video, allegedly showing Iranian forces firing indiscriminately in two Kurdish cities. A warning: some of the video is disturbing to watch.





HOLMES: The group says that at least 36 people have been killed in the region just since last Tuesday, including two 16-year-old boys. The agency adds that heavily-armed members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards have been seen in the region.

CNN has not been able to independently verify these reports.

At the World Cup, an Iranian football player has voiced support for the protesters at home. Ehsan Hajsafi was the latest Iranian athlete to show solidarity. And it comes as his team is about to take the spotlight at the football tournament.

In a few hours, Iran will play England to kick off the first full day of competition. We will follow the historic opening match between Qatar and Ecuador.




HOLMES: On Sunday, thousands of Ecuadorian fans celebrated after their team defeated the host, two-nil. That victory raining on Qatar's World Cup debut and marking the first time a host nation has lost an opener.


FELIX SANCHEZ, QATAR MANAGER (through translator): First of all, without making any excuses, I want to congratulate our opponent today, Ecuador, who I thought were the deserved winners. I think that we have a lot of room for improvement. Today, we didn't show our maximum level. I think maybe the responsibility weighed on us a bit. Our nerves got the better of us at the beginning.


HOLMES: Qatar's excitement was further dampened by more criticism of its human rights record. At a German stadium, activists lit candles and filled footballs with sand to protest the mistreatment of migrant workers in the Gulf nation.

Now, in the coming hours, the U.S., as we said, will play its first World Cup match, and it will be the first one since 2014. Ahead of the match, the team received a call from President Joe Biden, who wished the players well.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says, "POTUS." That's where he's calling from.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, you have the U.S. men's soccer team.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Coach, put me in. I'm ready to play. You guys, I know you're the underdog. But I'll tell you, man, you've got some of the best players in your world on the team, and you're representing this country. And I know you're going to play your hearts out. So let's go shock them all.


HOLMES: You heard there Mr. Biden calling the Americans underdogs. They're actually favored to beat Wales in Monday's match, but they will face a tougher test against Group B opponent England in the week ahead.

Well, from well-wishers phoned in from the Oval Office, to prayers in Mexican churches and hopes for better days in refugee camps, this sporting event truly is a global phenomenon.


HOLMES (voice-over): World Cup fever, it's not just a Doha thing. Fans around the world getting into the matches and revving up support for their teams, even if they're not in Qatar.

Back in Brazil, people cheering on the home team, hoping for a sixth World Cup victory, by painting the streets of their neighborhoods and streaming flags of yellow, blue and green.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are all working to give energy to our team and for Brazil to be champions.


HOLMES (voice-over): In one town in India, excitement for the cup looming so large, there are large cutouts of some of the greats of the game, like Lionel Messi and Neymar, towering over the roadside. Local businesses say it's already a win for them.

SABIN, SHOPKEEPER (through translator): People are asking for Argentina, Brazil and Portugal jerseys. We have everything from flags and jerseys to cut-outs. It's going to be a blast.

HOLMES (voice-over): Mexico looking to score some points from on high, one church parish dressing up a statue called the Child of the Miracles in the uniform of the Mexican team. The priest says a first World Cup win for Mexico is a common prayer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many people do have this feeling that, with God's help, they will be able to win. HOLMES (voice-over): And even though Kenya didn't qualify to play in

the World Cup, people in Nairobi still expected to pack the sports pubs where all the African teams are fan favorites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are still hoping that one of the African nations come, probably do well. But I think the excitement, the buildup, the color, the fans. It's special.

HOLMES (voice-over): The excitement also felt in Idlib, Syria, where a future football star could be sharpening their skills. Three hundred children playing in a mock version of the World Cup, many coming from camps for the displaced and industrial zones in the region.

And just like their role models in Doha, these kids say they have one goal: to win.


HOLMES: And we will have much more on the World Cup coming up in WORLD SPORT in about 30 minutes or so from now.

Meanwhile, still to come on this program, NASA prepares to lose contact with the Orion spacecraft as it nears the Moon. I'll speak with a retired astronaut about the Artemis mission and its far- reaching impact on space travel. We'll be right back.


HOLMES: The U.S. is locked in a new arms race with Russia and China when it comes to developing hypersonic weapons, and even a senior U.S. officer admits America's military is playing catch-up.

CNN's Oren Liebermann with details from the Pentagon.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One launch loaded with 11 different experiments, collecting data for the Navy, Army, Missile Defense Agency, and national labs.

The test rocket, fired from Wallops Flight Test Facility in Virginia flew for three minutes and reached hypersonic speeds, all part of a Pentagon effort to speed up U.S. hypersonic weapons development.

The pressure is on. Russia and China have pushed ahead with their own hypersonic weapons and research. Russia used hypersonic missiles in combat, firing the Kinzhal missiles to devastating effect in Ukraine.


And last summer, China tested a hypersonic missile that went around the world.

Vice Admiral Johnny Wolfe, the director of the Navy's strategic systems program knows the U.S. is behind Moscow and Beijing. VICE ADMIRAL JOHNNY WOLFE, DIRECTOR, U.S. NAVY STRATEGIC SYSTEMS

PROGRAMS: Yes. They've deployed weapons that we haven't. Up until just recently, there hasn't been a real driver for us to take that technology and put it into a weapons system that we can deliver in a war. The need was not there. The need is now there, which is why we've got a sense of urgency to get after this.

LIEBERMANN: Are China and Russia the driver in that scenario?

WOLFE: China and Russia are the driver.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): A series of testing failures set back hypersonic programs.

The Air Force's Arrow program, the joint Army-Navy hypersonic program both suffered failures in the testing process. But Wolfe says failure shouldn't be a dirty word.

WOLFE: I think failure is part of the process. When you're looking at high-end technologies, and you're looking at how you really want to lean in and get something into war fighters' hands rapidly, we've got to accept the fact to do that, we're going to take risks.

When you take risks, every now and then you're going to realize one of those.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Last month, DOD awarded a contract for a new hypersonic test bed to increase the domestic capacity and tempo of testing. DOD also recently granted universities research awards for components like engine design and maneuverability.

TOM KARAKO, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: The Chinese have certainly done a whole lot of testing. And they really like to show us, to convey that they are far along in terms of the numerical tests. As well as different kinds.

But we are doing important tests and making progress. And so I think what you're going to see is that in the next couple of years, the United States again catch up.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Missile defense expert Tom Kerik, though, says hypersonic weapons are the next generation of missiles, able to evade current air defenses.

KARAKO: Not just the United States, but -- but Russia and China have developed some pretty sophisticated things that might be able to swat down, let's just say, a subsonic cruise missile, for instance. In fact, you're seeing kind of the subsonic cruise missiles being swatted down in Ukraine, even with less than perfect air defenses.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The U.S. is firing ahead with its programs. A second test a day later carried 13 experiments, including heat- resistant materials, high-end electronics, lightweight materials and more. A fire now burning under the U.S. to move faster.

LIEBERMANN: As for where U.S. hypersonic development stands, the Army will be the first to field the hypersonic weapon next year, when it's scheduled to field what's known as the long-range hypersonic weapon.

Afterwards, a similar system is scheduled to be deployed on Zumwalt class guided missile destroyers in 2025 and a submarine-launched version later in the decade.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, at the Pentagon.


HOLMES: In the coming hours, NASA's Orion spacecraft is set to perform a critical maneuver to enter the next phase of the Artemis mission.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one. Boosters and ignition. And lift- off of Artemis I. We rise together, back to the Moon and beyond.


HOLMES: Orion's launch last week was the first step in a new mission to put astronauts back on the Moon. Crews on Earth now preparing to direct the unmanned craft on a fly-by of the Moon, where they will lose contact with the craft for more than half an hour.

It's a crucial move to sling Orion into the next part of its journey, holding a distant orbit of the Moon for nearly a week.

I want to bring in retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao now. He joins me from Houston, Texas. It's always good to get you on matters of space.

So what are we going to see Monday during this Moon fly-by? I mean, you were inspired to become an astronaut by the Apollo Moon missions. What are you most looking forward to seeing?

LEROY CHIAO, RETIRED NASA ASTRONAUT: Well, we should be getting some very great images as the Orion flies very close to the Moon, within about 100 kilometers or so, so about 65 miles. And we should be getting some high-resolution shots.

And of course, the Orion has been performing flawlessly so far. But it's still got a lot to go, a lot of things to accomplish. But it's all looking very well.

HOLMES: What do you see is the potential of the program? Meaning, in theory, it's the beginning of what is hoped to be a sustained human presence on the Moon.

Do you think that will actually happen? I know you have your doubts.

CHIAO: Well, I hope so. I mean, I'd love to see the United States get another Moon program going. And this is the very first steps of an operational program.

So hopefully, we will be able to do that. You know, on the downside, it has taken much more time than was originally anticipated and, of course, the future is unclear, because it's going to take some more money and time to accomplish.

So I'm hopeful, but you know, there are other things that could come in. We could partner -- NASA could partner with a commercial company. A lot of things could happen.


But I'm hopeful that we will have a sustainable exploration program.

HOLMES: What would be the cost versus reward benefit of that human presence on the Moon?

CHIAO: Sure. It's always more expensive to send humans, as we know. But, you know, humans, we kind of relate when other humans are there doing the exploring. So there's kind of an intangible there, you now, It's about, yes, exploration for sure. Scientific discovery, for sure.

But it is also about things like national prestigious and inspiring the next generation, which are a little bit less tangible. So, yes, it does cost money, but when you put it into the context of the whole budget of the United States, it's actually still pretty much a small drop in the bucket.

HOLMES: I know you're a big supporter of robotic space missions, as well as human ones, obviously. What can humans do on these missions that are particularly on a place like the Moon that robotic missions can't?

CHIAO: Sure. You know, robotic missions and human missions are very much complimentary. Traditionally, we send robotic missions out first, because they're much more efficient, much more easily gotten to their destinations. They send back a lot of, you know, very important data, scientific data, data about the environment.

And so that helps pave the way for human exploration. That was certainly the case for the Moon. And, you know, hopefully coming up, that will be the case for Mars. We've gotten so much information out of the rovers and other spacecraft that we and the other nations have sent to Mars.

This helps us to better understand that environment to buy-down risk and increase our chances of mission success for potentially sending humans there.

So you know, in a way, the Moon is a steppingstone to Mars. It's a great place to develop and test our hardware, train astronauts, and as well as do scientific research.

So hopefully, we can find that right balance of spending, and compromise and partnerships to create a win for everyone.

HOLMES: Humans haven't been on the Moon since 1972. Artemis, of course, not the only one trying to get back there. Who's likely to make it their first this time around, do you think?

And then is there enough collaboration? You know, people working together?

CHIAO: That's an open question. I mean, the Chinese have made no -- no bones about their desires to send their astronauts to the Moon. The Moon has been an important cultural symbol and, you know, historically in China and other Asian countries.

China has a successful human space flight program going. They've just completed their space station and are in full operation. So they're looking to advance their capabilities. And the Moon is a logical place to go.

On the other hand, you know, we are moving ahead with the -- this program, the Artemis program. Other companies, commercial companies like SpaceX, are developing new hardware, new spacecraft, new boosters. That promise, to or hopefully will cut costs to get to orbit. To get to the Moon and eventually to Mars.

So ideally, we'll have a partnership, expand the partnership. You know, SpaceX is already a contractor that is helping to develop at least one lander, lunar lander for NASA.

So maybe that partnership can be expanded. And we can get there sooner rather than later at a lower cost.

HOLMES: Looking forward to seeing how it all goes.

Always great to speak with you and get your insights. Leroy Chiao, thanks so much.

CHIAO: My pleasure. Thank you.

Still to come here on the program, a look at some of the successes and failures from the climate talks in Egypt. Why some say the global community is still not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.




ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: This COP has taken an important step towards justice. I welcome the decision to establish our loss and damage funds and to operationalize it in the coming period. Clearly, this will not be enough. But it is a much-needed political symbol to rebuild broken trust.


HOLMES: The U.N. chief, one of the many leaders from the COP27 climate change conference welcoming the decision to create a loss and damage fund to help vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters not of their doing.

But while many hail that deal as a success, the talks in Egypt overall still failed to speed up the fight against global warming.

CNN's David McKenzie with our report.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was supposed to be the climate conference of action. And on some level, they did meet that goal.

After all-night negotiations, there is agreement that there will be a loss and damage fund set up. Now, what this is, is largely rich countries giving funds, money to those countries that are vulnerable.

The developing nations are being hammered by the climate crisis already. This is a significant moment after almost three decades of discussion.

ALPHA KALOGA, SENIOR COORDINATOR, AFRICAN GROUP ON LOSS AND DAMAGE (through translator): It is a symbolic day in terms of the impact that this decision will have on the future. Developing countries have been fighting for 30 years to have a fund, to have recognition of the losses and damages associated with climate change.

But if you look at the report card of these climate meetings in Egypt, it's decidedly mixed. Of course, there is that loss and damage fund.

And also, nations agreed again to push towards just 1.5 degrees of warming. But that will be very challenging, say scientists, because in this meeting, they didn't strengthen the calls for mitigating the worst emissions that are causing the climate crisis.

And also, there was no mention of phasing out of fossil fuels, including oil and gas. This was very disappointing to many of the delegates.

FRANS TIMMERMANS, E.U. CLIMATE POLICY CHIEF: But I urge you to acknowledge, when you walk out of this room, that we have all fallen short in actions to avoid and minimize loss of damage. We should have done much more. Our citizens expect us to lead. That means far more rapidly reduced emissions. That's how you limit climate change.

MCKENZIE: In reality, the 1.5 degrees of warning is very much a long shot at this point. There will have to be a 45 percent cut of current emissions, according to scientists, to get there.

So we're looking at more than two degrees of warming at this point. The climate crisis is upon us. More needs to be done. And we are running out of time.

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


HOLMES: Now, despite all of the focus on the politics of COP27, some attendees say there are practical solutions to the climate crisis that we can use right now. Now, that includes the world's most famous solar pilot, who identified

hundreds of companies that are transforming industries in planet- friendly ways while also turning a profit.

CNN's Bill Weir reports.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is easy to suffer from climate anxiety these days. And watching diplomats bicker and barter for the 27th time hardly inspires. But if you ever need a lift.


WEIR (voice-over): Bertrand Piccard is your guy, in more ways than one.

PICCARD: Merci. Vanderhei (ph).

WEIR (voice-over): He comes from a Swiss family of explorers so renowned that when "Star Trek" created a captain, they named him Piccard.


PICCARD: You see the balloon quite high over there, top of the mountain? This is Chateau du Lac (ph). That's where I took off to fly around the world.

WEIR (voice-over): He definitely lived up to the legacy by winning a race to become the first to circle the globe nonstop using only hot air and fickle winds.

PICCARD: It was very emotional, because it was my last chance. I had failed twice already. It was the last balloon, the last opportunity.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR Around the world record-setting balloonist, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones touched down today.

WEIR (voice-over): And then he topped themself by building a solar airplane in flying around the world on clean, quiet sunlight.

PICCARD: I speak to you from the cockpit of solar impulse in the middle of the Pacific, relying on solar-power only. No fuel.

For me, solar impulse was clearly not about transporting passengers. It was about transporting a message. To show that you can achieve so- called impossible goals with clean technologies, renewable energies, no fuel, no pollution.

WEIR: Incredible.

WEIR (voice-over): Six years later, he says there are about 600 electric aviation projects in various stages around the world. And his nonprofit Solar Impulse Foundation, that promotes over 1,400 moneymaking, earth-saving start-ups to governments big and small, in sectors from food and construction to transport and energy.

Like WaveRoller, which hopes to power entire coastal communities using natural ocean energy. And UBQ, which turns garbage and even dirty diapers into a replacement for conventional plastic.

While nations struggle to agree on what to do next, Piccard is in Sharm El-Sheikh with an immediate action plan for cities. Because local leaders, close to the local problems, can help unleash and scale countless innovations.

PICCARD: If I come to a head of state, and I say there are a lot of interesting ideas for the future, the guy is going to tell me come back in the future. I want to come to heads of states and executives of big corporations and say, look at the solutions that exist today.

WEIR (voice-over): And while Piccard is a techno-optimist, he is also a licensed psychiatrist.

PICCARD: When you fly in a balloon, you are pushed by the winds, toward the unknown.

WEIR (voice-over): Which comes in handy when trying to save humanity from itself.

PICCARD: And your only way to steer the balloon is to change your altitude to take another wind, another layer that has another direction.

And in life, it's exactly what we have to do. Chose to drop the ballast of your certitude, your paradigms, your beliefs. You throw that overboard. So you can change altitude in your mind.

Then you take a new narrative, a new direction. Protection of the environment as something exciting. Creating jobs. Developing the economy because it's profitable. It offers new business developments for the industry.

And you replace what is polluting by what is protecting the environment. It's a complete change of altitude.

And if you do that, you will have much more people supporting you: the businessman, the politicians. They will think, wow, that's really something that we can identify to. It's not threatening us. It's offering us a better future.


HOLMES: That's our chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, reporting there for us.

Now, in a surprise move, Bob Iger is returning to run Disney, and the current CEO, Bob Chapek, is stepping down immediately.

No reason was given, but Chapek's management has been criticized of late, with Disney's stock down more than 40 percent this year. Chapek actually succeeded Iger back in early 2020. Iger widely respected at Disney.

He previously led the company for 15 years and oversaw the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, which brought them the "Star Wars" franchise.

Still to come, why one of the artists behind the World Cup theme song walked out on an interview in Qatar.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just asking that people are going to ask. What's the problem?

MALUMA, SINGER: You're rude.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm rude? Why I'm rude, Maluma? I don't think -- I think this is what people say. This is what people think.




HOLMES: One of the artists behind the World Cup theme song walked out of an interview in Qatar after being grilled about the host country's poor human rights record.

Ahead of the tournament, Colombian singer Maluma was asked where he stood on Qatar's violations, especially considering other artists' refused to participate in the World Cup because of the abuses.

Here's how he reacted.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maluma, don't you have problems with --with human rights relations on this country?

MALUMA: Yes, but it's something that I can't resolve. I just came here to enjoy life, enjoy soccer. The party of soccer is not -- is not actually something that I have to be involved with. I'm here enjoying my music and the beautiful life of playing soccer, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But can you understand just people who are going to say that, by the very presence of you here, you are whitewashing -- whitewashing?

MALUMA: I understand. I understand. Do I have to answer that question?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. No, but I'm just asking that people are going to -- people are going to ask. What the problem? I mean --

MALUMA: You're rude. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm rude? Why I'm rude, Maluma? I don't think -- I think that this is what people say. This is what people think.


HOLMES: After that interview, the singer went on to perform at a FIFA fan festival in Qatar's capital.

A British comedian says he destroyed his own money to protest David Beckham's role as a Qatar World Cup ambassador. Joe Lycett streamed this video -- you can see it there -- which appears to show him shredding two stacks of cash, totaling $11,000.

The comedian says he did it because Beckham failed to cut ties with Qatar. If the football legends had done so, Lycett said he would have donated the money to charities which support queer people in football.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me.

I'm Michael Holmes. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, @HolmesCNN. Do stay with us. WORLD SPORT is next. I'll see you in about 15 minutes with more news.