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At Least 30 Killed in Strike on Dnipro Apartment Building; Wagner Mercenary Group Playing Increasing Role in War; Social Media Video Shows Plane Tilt on Approach Before Crashing; Fears of Outbreaks in China as Lunar New Year Approaches; French Bakers Struggle to Survive Amid Costs; New State of Emergency Declared in Peru; Indonesia to Relocate Capital as Jakarta is Sinking. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired January 16, 2023 - 00:00   ET


LAILA HARRAK, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome to all of our viewers watching from around the world. I'm Laila Harrak.


Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, as hope fades for finding survivors at a flattened apartment building in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy promises to account for everyone in the rubble.

A search also underway in Nepal this hour, where the country is dealing with its deadliest plane crash in decades.

And Peru extends its state of emergency for another month, as it grapples with the worst unrest in decades.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Laila Harrak.

HARRAK: It's seven in the morning in Dnipro, Ukraine, where the search for survivors presses on.

All this after a Russian missile slammed into an apartment building over the weekend. At least 30 people were killed and dozens of others are still missing.

Many are holding out hope for more scenes like this. The rescue of a woman from the rubble following Saturday's strike. But Dnipro's mayor is acknowledging the harsh reality.


BORYS FILATOV, DNIPRO MAYOR (through translator): I think the chances of saving people now are minimal. My version is that the missile hit the building, because there's a thermal station across the river; meaning they tried to hit the thermal station, but the missile flew by and hit residential buildings.


HARRAK: Well, Ukraine's president says the search will go on as long as there is a chance to save lives. And he had this message for Russians remaining silent amid the violence.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I want to say to all those in Russia and from Russia who even know could not utter a few words of condemnation of this terror, although they see and comprehend everything perfectly, your cowardly silence, your attempt to wade out what is happening will only end with the fact that one day, these same terrorists will come for you.


HARRAK: Well, CNN's Fred Pleitgen traveled to the scene of the Russian missile strike in Dnipro. He reports on the devastation left behind and the desperate search for survivors.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The scene, apocalyptic, as rescues frantically sift through the debris, searching for survivors, the hope of finding any fading by the second as the cold night progresses. For some, the grief is too much to handle.

Ola Nemanchamaya (ph) says she passed by this building only about half an hour before it was hit. "There are many friends and people close to me here. Many, many," she says.

Oleyna Noyan (ph), stunned by the scale of the destruction, curses the Russians. "I simply hate them. Children, people died here." And then, she can't speak anymore.

On top of the many killed, Ukrainian authorities say dozens were injured, and many more remain missing in just this one location in Dnipro after Russia hit sites across Ukraine with barrages of missiles this weekend.

PLEITGEN: The Ukrainians say they are absolutely certain that the missile that hit this building was a so-called KH-22. That's a cruise missile normally designed to destroy aircraft carriers, with a warhead of more than 2,000 pounds.

And as you can see, it absolutely annihilated the building, burying dozens of people underneath.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Russia has not directly commented on the deadly strike in Dnipro, but in the past, Moscow has denied its forces residential areas.

The Ukrainians call the attack state terrorism, and the president says rescuers will continue to try and save anyone trapped here.

"Let's fight for every person," President Zelenskyy says. "The rescue operation will last as long as there is even the slightest chance to save a life." But even the slightest hope is fading fast, and this could soon turn

from a rescue into a recovery operation. The crews searching for bodies where so many lives were violently ended in an instant.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Dnipro, Ukraine.



HARRAK: Well, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the battle for Soledar and Bakhmut continues nonstop in the East.




HARRAK: Ukraine's army on Sunday said it fired rockets toward Russian troops as they tried to storm Ukrainian positions around Bakhmut.

Well, this comes days after Russia claimed to have taken control of the nearby town of Soledar. Moscow's defense ministry says it did so with the help of the private military company Wagner. But the group's boss insists his mercenaries deserve all the credit.


YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, HEAD OF WAGNER GROUP (through translator): Firstly, Wagner mercenaries have been fighting for many years. They may be the most experienced army there is today in the world.

Secondly, they fulfill all the tasks on their own. They have warplanes. There are heroic pilots who don't fear to perish. They have multiple launch rocket systems of all types. There are air defense systems which have downed a huge amount of enemy planes. They have artillery systems of all calibers, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles.


HARRAK: Joining me now to discuss this topic is Rajan Menon, a director of the Grand Strategy Program at Defense Priorities and professor emeritus of international relations for City College of New York.

Sir, thank you for taking our questions. Let's start with the role that the Wagner Group plays in the war. What does their prominence tell you about the fitness of Russia's own military in this fight?

RAJAN MENON, DIRECTOR, GRAND STRATEGY PROGRAM, DEFENSE PRIORITIES: Well, Russia's problem is that it set out to conquer what, setting aside Russia, is the largest country in all of Europe, namely Ukraine. And it is about the fifth or sixth largest in population.

They had the armor and the oomph and the missiles and the Howitzers and all that to do it, but not the necessary number of troops. And only troops, infantry, can take and hold land. So they ran into difficulty.

So we have the Wagner Group enter, and lately they've been found in two places: in the Ukrainian-controlled area of the Republic of Donetsk, the province of Donetsk, Soledar, and Bakhmut. And they have been prominent in that battle.

But they are vying with the regular Russian armed forces for credit as to who really is doing most of the fighting and winning in both places.

HARRAK: Who is the man behind the Wagner Group? What can you tell us about his relationship with the Russian army and with Vladimir Putin himself?

MENON: His name is Yevgeny Prigozhin. He is 61 years old. He spent some time in a Soviet prison. After the fall of the Soviet Union, he went into a catering and restaurant business, made a lot of money, became a close associate of President Putin. which he still is.

And although he didn't found the Wagner Group, the Wagner Group's name is now associated with him. It is essentially his private army that he runs through money that he raises in various ways, including by using the group as mercenaries in different parts of the world, Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, to name but a few.

But they are now active in the fight in Eastern Ukraine, but they were also first involved in Ukraine in 2014.

HARRAK: And his star is on the rise right now.

MENON: Well, he certainly seems to think so. I mean, he does not criticize President Putin, but it would not surprise me if he has contemplated the possibility one day of a post-Putin political order. And he is certainly one of those positioning himself to demonstrate that he is a patriotic leader, that he is a military leader, that he has won victories for Russia. That is partly what the Wagner operation in Ukraine is all about.

HARRAK: So would you say that the acts -- and he acts with the blessing of Putin?

MENON: You know, that is a very interesting question. The lines of communication are murky as between him and Putin. He certainly wouldn't be doing it if Putin disapproved. One doesn't do that in Russia.

The relationship between the Russian intelligence services and the professional army, and the Wagner Group are somewhat more difficult to discern, because on the one hand, there must be coordination.

On the other hand, lately, they have clearly made it clear that they are not allies and, in fact, see themselves as rivals in this war.

HARRAK: Now, you've just pointed out, I mean, the official -- you have, on the one hand, you have an official army, and this private for-hire army, the Wagner Group. It's not always clear whether they are always in competition, or whether they complement each other.

Are they essentially different actors, just both vying for Putin's favor at this stage?

MENON: Well, both are true. In the battles in Soledar and Bakhmut -- Bakhmut is bigger and more consequential town -- they have tried to achieve the same mission. That is to conquer both of these -- of these towns.


But when it comes to the question of who is doing better and who deserves the credit for the recent gains in Soledar -- Bakhmut, they have not taken-- then clearly, Prigozhin wants to claim credit. The military does not want to have him claim credit, because after all, they're professional military, and they see fighting for Russia as their business.

HARRAK: So, you know, to turn our focus back to the Russian army, you know, not able to deliver a victory, because the objective was never been clearly defined. Is that the problem?

MENON: Well, it is -- one thing is clear, and that is that Mr. Putin clearly did not set out to conquer all of Ukraine.

My best sense is that he wanted to -- and he began this way -- make a drive South to Kyiv, take over the capitol, change the government, control the Northern part of Ukraine, and hive off, probably, as much more of the East as he could. He already has some territory there by virtue of statelets that he created in 2014, and the South.

But Ukraine being such a large country, even achieving that requires manpower that the Russian army proved not to have.

This is why you have private armies such as the Wagner Group, and also of the Chechen leader-cum-warlord, Ramzan Kadyrov, whose fighters have also been active in the war in Ukraine.

HARRAK: Rajan Menon, thank you so much for your time.

MENON: My pleasure.

HARRAK: Four people remain missing in Western Nepal after of the country's worst air disaster since 1992. But one police official warns that the chances of finding them alive are extremely low.

Search-and-rescue operations resumed early Monday after pausing overnight. Of the 72 people on board, 68 are confirmed dead, including six children and 15 foreign nationals.

The plane went down while approaching the city of Pokhara on Sunday. The government is investigating and has declared a day of national mourning. Well, video from social media shows the Yeti Airlines flight tilting

badly as it approaches Pokhara's airport. More now from CNN's Vedika Sud.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A video appears to show a passenger plane tilting to the side moments before it comes crashing into the ground in central Nepal.

At least 68 people died when the Yeti-Airlines-operated flight crashed on Sunday, making it Nepal's deadliest plane crash in decades.

Dozens of bodies were recovered by rescue workers, searching among the wreckage until darkness settled in Nepal.

On Sunday morning, the aircraft embarked in a roughly 30-minute flight from the capital of Kathmandu to Pokhara, the country's second most populous city.

But the flight was last in contact with the Pokhara Airport about 18 minutes after takeoff before it came crashing down in the nearby Seti River Gorge.

The Himalayan country has a record of crashes due to its mountainous topography and sudden changes to the weather.

The first (ph) prime minister announced an investigation would proceed to determine exactly what happened.

PUSHPA KAMAL DAHAL, NEPALI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The incident was tragic. All forces have been deployed for rescue operations. The investigation is going on now. I have called an emergency candidate meeting.

SUD (voice-over): The passengers on board were mostly Nepali but included 15 foreign nationals, Nepal's civil aviation authority said.

Yeti Airlines canceled all regular flights on Monday in mourning for the passengers who lost their lives. The Nepali government also declared, Monday a public holiday, as the nation continues to grapple with the tragedy.

Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


HARRAK: CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul with the very latest. Paula, I understand the search efforts have resumed?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Laila. Yes, as it became light this Monday morning, they did resume the search for those four final passengers on board this flight.

Now, we understand from the district police chief that they have managed to retrieve 68 bodies. They lifted them by crane from the gorge where this plane actually crashed.

They've taken them to a local hospital, and family members have been invited to come to that hospital to identify their loved ones.

Now, of course, there were foreigners aboard that flight, as well, according to officials, and they say that those bodies will be flown and airlifted to Kathmandu, to the capital, where there will be a postmortem, and then they will be handed over to relatives.

So the big question now, of course, is after they have retrieved those four final passengers, they have said to CNN, a chief of police that the chance of finding anyone alive is extremely low. But the question is what exactly happened?

Now we have understood from officials that have a committee. They're forming a committee, a five-member group, which will have to brief the government within 45 days. So they will be investigating what happened.


Now we did hear from a spokesman for the civil authority that the weather was clear at the time of the crash. That is, in the past -- has been an issue when it comes to very difficult flying and landing conditions in Nepal itself.

And we also know that -- that this particular committee is going to be looking into that social media video and others. That video that we saw does show the plane appear to roll to one side before it disappears from view, and just a moment later, you hear that loud explosion.

So certainly, these are the sorts of things that the investigators will be looking at at this point. But the immediate concern is, of course, to retrieve all of the victims of this air crash.

And that's exactly what hundreds of first responders are doing at this point: trying to retrieve all of the bodies. We know that, at this point, at least 68 have been confirmed killed. And we know that there were 72 on board that flight -- Laila.

HARRAK: Paula Hancocks, thank you so much for that update.

And, still to come, China prepares for its biggest holiday of the year, but will recent COVID-19 outbreaks spoil the celebration? We'll have a live report.

Plus, baker's battle to keep the baguettes. A key ingredient, French life and falling victim to rising costs. We'll have a report from Paris in just a few moments.


HARRAK: Travel to and throughout China is picking up ahead of the lunar new year holiday starting next week. Chinese officials say more than 42 million people traveled across the

country on Saturday. They estimate more than two billion journeys will be made before the holiday travel period is over. That's twice as many as last year's celebration.

Well, many fear that the influx of travelers could increase the number of COVID infections across China. Infections and COVID-related deaths already have been surging since the rollback of Beijing's zero-COVID policy.

CNN's Anna Coren joins me now live from Hong Kong with more.

With lunar new year travel fully underway, what impact is it having on the COVID outbreak?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laila, we don't know just yet. No doubt those numbers will come to us in the weeks to come.

But certainly, there's been a great deal of international pressure on China to be more transparent, more forthcoming about the real COVID situation on the mainland.

As you mentioned, you know, China has lived for three years with this zero-COVID policy. That meant harsh lockdowns, quarantine, you know, mass testing on a scale that we had not seen anywhere else in the world, all to control this virus.


Well, the government did an about turn in December, after weeks of protests of people, you know, fed up with these strict COVID policies. Obviously, the strain on the economy also, you know, weighed in on the government's decision.

But it abruptly ended, the COVID, you know, strategy, and -- and now it is ripping across the country. From the 8th of December, which is when they ended the COVID policy, they said that -- that in the month that followed only 37 people had died. Now, no one was believing that.

The World Health Organization sat down with Chinese health officials over the weekend. The number was then revised. The National Health Commission came out and said that the number was more like 60,000 people. Almost 60,000 people had died from COVID.

They said that they were now taking into consideration people with underlying illnesses, something they hadn't done before, and also, quote, "The delay was due to comprehensive examination of hospital reporting."

Now, do we believe that the number is merely 60,000? You know, global health officials, Laila, are saying that the number is far greater than that.

Add Chinese new year, you know, to -- to the equation, and -- and it could drastically rise, that death toll. Health officials are saying that numbers have peaked at fever clinics,

as well as hospitals. They're saying that the wave has effectively passed.

But you mentioned two billion people will be traveling over, you know, the next month. That is taking, you know, people from the cities to the provinces to these rural areas where there is a rather large elderly population with a poor health infrastructure in place. So obviously, the concern, Laila, is that cases could spike.

HARRAK: Two billion journeys in the coming days. Anna Coren, thank you so much.

Let's take a quick look now at the markets as the new trading week begins in Asia. Most Asian shares are trading high in early trading. And Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Seoul's KOSPI all in positive territory right now.

An essential part of life in France is under threat from the rising cost of energy and other daily necessitates. As Melissa Bell reports, some bakers are resorting to desperate measures to save the baguette.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is before dawn that France comes to life. In 33,000 boulangeries across the country, the baguette continuing to rise, despite the soaring costs of flour and butter.

But Julien Pedussel now starts his day in partial darkness, trying to save money. His electricity bill tripled in November. December's was simply too high to pay.

JULIEN PEDUSSEL, MANAGER, LE FOURNIL DE RIEUX (through translator): Can you imagine you lose everything just because there's an energy supplier who's decided to multiply your bill by ten? It's outrageous. It's totally outrageous. It's theft. Literally, theft.

BELL (voice-over): In January, Pedussel did something he never thought he'd have to: taking to the street to draw attention to the plight of bakers across the country.

The French government has ordered modest measures to help bakers deal with the spike in energy costs. But many say it's nowhere near enough.

DOMINIQUE ANRACT, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF FRENCH BAKERIES AND PATISSERIES (through translator): What we are talking about are really small businesses. Eighty percent have fewer than ten employees. They're solid businesses that have never complained. But they are being hit hard.

BELL (voice-over): A cruel irony that the crisis has struck even as UNESCO has given the baguette's culture special status.

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): In these few centimeters of craftsmanship, passed from hand to hand, lies exactly the spirit of French know-how. That is something inevitable. It seems to be just something material. But it's not.

BELL: It isn't just that the baguette is the staple of the French diet. But that the bakery is also such an important part of the social fabric of life here in France. You'll find one on most Parisian street corners.

But, in the countryside, in villages, they're often the only businesses around.

BELL (voice-over): But that ubiquity is also what makes it different for bakers to pass on their costs.

CHARLES YE, CO-OWNER, UNION BAKERY: We prefer to not do that. And, most of the bakeries are not doing that. Just because it's so cultural. It's -- it's like the price of the coffee, like gas. Like a rise by two or three, it would be, like, a revolution.


BELL (voice-over): Which leaves French bakers sandwiched between the soaring costs of baking and the bread that is so much more than a symbol, but rather the way of French life.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


HARRAK: Well, rising prices are also being acutely felt in the United States. Inflation caused Americans to spend, on average, about $370 more in December than a year ago for rent, groceries, utilities and other goods and services.

Well, that's according to Moody's Analytics. But it says inflation does appear to be easing, and paychecks are starting to catch up.

And, another bright spot: the typical family saved money on gasoline compared to the year before.

Protests have nearly paralyzed Peru since they began a month ago, and now a state of emergency has been declared. I'll speak to an expert about what can help solve the crisis. That's ahead.


HARRAK: Welcome back to all of our viewers around the world. I'm Laila Harrak, and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

State media in Peru report the government has declared another 30-day state of emergency because of the ongoing protests in the country.



(END VIDEO CLIP) HARRAK: The declaration applies to the capital city of Lima, as well

as three other regions. It went into effect on Sunday. At least 49 people have died since the protests began.

This protester blames the police for the violence.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Police are corrupt, because the government pays their salary. And they hit and kill people. That should not happen.


HARRAK: Well, meanwhile, Peruvian President Dina Boluarte has apologized for the deaths but says she will not resign. She has called for general elections.

The state of emergency suspends some constitutional rights, including freedom of transit, freedom of assembly, and personal liberty and security.

Protests broke out last December following the impeachment and removal from office of then-President Pedro Castillo.

Joining me now, to discuss is Michael Shifter the former president and senior fellow for the Inter-American Dialogue think tank. And he joins me now from Washington, D.C.

A very good day sir.

A country in turmoil, what more can you tell us about what -- what is behind this unrest gripping Peru at the moment?


MICHAEL SHIFTER, FORMER PRESIDENT AND SENIOR FELLOW, INTER-AMERICAN DIALOGUE: It was brought about, really, by the -- the attempted coup by the former president, Pedro Castillo, who was elected in 2021, representing some of the poor communities in -- in Peru.

And he was challenged by the Congress, and so he decided to suspend the Congress, to close down the Congress and to take over the justice system. And that provoked a reaction by the Congress to -- to get rid of him, to basically -- to impeach him so that he would leave office.

And the problem is the vice president, who the current -- took over as the president, Dina Boluarte. And she basically said that she would finish Castillo's term, which ends in 2026. And, of course, there are a lot of people that were angry, because she wasn't elected president. And they wanted immediate elections.

Unfortunately, it escalated and spiraled out of control. The protesters are a mix, as usual. Some of them are -- have legitimate concerns and have protested peacefully. Others have engaged in violence, have taken over an airport in Southern Peru. And the -- unfortunately, the police have, in many cases, overreacted to the violence and there have been a lot of abuses and a lot of repression, which has only made matters worse. And there have been almost 50 people killed, which is profoundly worrying and unacceptable.

HARRAK: It is profoundly worrying. To your point, I mean, the death toll, as you point out, is at least 49 after unrest broke out. I mean, how is law enforcement justifying this brutal crackdown? Who -- who orders this type of repression?

SHIFTER: Well, there's an investigation that's underway to see who is responsible for ordering this. The president, Dina Boluarte, says that she is not. She's also -- gave a speech on Friday night, and she said that she has no plans to resign because of her commitment to Peru.

But, there are clearly -- there is clearly some evidence or signs that there -- excessive force was used and -- by the military to repress these poor many indigenous communities in southern Peru.

And of course, their argument, their defense is that they were provoked. They also were the targets of violence. Some of these, there was a police officer who was burned alive.

And so it's a very complicated situation, and they assert that they had a right to defend of themselves. Which they obviously do, and to restore public order. But they need to do so within a democratic framework and respect for human rights. And it's clear that those rights were violated.

HARRAK: Is there a willingness by the Peruvian political establishment to reach out to these marginalized communities that make up Mr. Castillo's supporters?

SHIFTER: Well, unfortunately, we're in a moment in Peru where there's very little of that enlightened political leadership, which is fundamental at a time like this, at a time of crisis like this. There are no figures that are really able to connect and engage and have some credibility with those marginalized groups.

And so that, I think, is the problem. I think that the way to perhaps quell some of this unrest and to destabilize the situation is to bring elections up a lot sooner than is currently planned, which is April 2024. That has been the principal demand of the protesters.

HARRAK: It seems like Peruvian presidents are plagued by protests. A politically unstable Peru, what kind of impact does that have on the region? Has there been a response to the brutal crackdown by regional leaders?

SHIFTER: There was a response when Pedro Castillo was impeached by the Congress, a response of a group of leftist leaders: the president of Mexico, president of Colombia, and the president of Argentina and president of Bolivia really showed solidarity with him and said that he was basically the victim of discrimination of the rich, white elites in Lima, Peru. But the fact is that Castillo did -- there was six investigations

against him of corruption. So he was somebody who engaged in corruption. And that was -- that, I think, was the accusation that was leveled against him.


The former president, Castillo, is now in pretrial detention. And, presumably, he's going to be brought to trial for his attempt to really take over the Congress and control the judiciary, which is really a coup, which failed. And as a result, he was impeached by an overwhelming vote in the Congress. So, it's a very complicated situation.

HARRAK: Very intricate, indeed. And, we're so happy that you talked to us and clarified some of it. Michael Shifter, thanks for joining us.

SHIFTER: Thank you.

HARRAK: And still ahead, the government of Indonesia plans an ambitious project to relocate its capital city. Why some environmentalists are worried. That's ahead.

And Novak Djokovic readies for his return for the Australian Open after being deported from Down Under 12 months ago.


HARRAK: The government of Indonesia is planning to relocate its capital city as Jakarta rapidly sinks into the Java Sea.

The proposed new location is a jungle-covered area on the East of Borneo. However, some environmentalists are warning the move could endanger the wildlife and rainforest there.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has the details.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jakarta is a sinking city. Scientists say that the sprawling capital of Indonesia, home to more than 10 million people, is dropping below sea level at alarming rates, mainly due to excessive groundwater extraction.

The government of Indonesia has a plan to carve a new capital city, called Nusantara, out of the dense jungles of Eastern Borneo. At an estimated cost of more than $30 billion, it's being designed as a futuristic smart city and touted by government officials as the world's most sustainable.

JOKO WIDODO, INDONESIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The development of the new capital has to become a move towards building cities that are healthy, efficient and productive; that are designed to be a place where the people are close from any destination; where they can bike and walk everywhere, because there are zero emissions. STOUT (voice-over): Officials describe the new capital as a sort of

garden of Eden, built along the contours of the natural landscape. Nusantara is expected to be completed in 2045, and the government says it will be more than three and a half times the size of Singapore and home to nearly 2 million people. Officials and developers claim it will have minimal impact on surrounding rainforests that are some of the oldest in the world.

SOFIAN SIBARANI, NUSANTARA ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNER: We have, in our -- in our guidelines, is all the buildings, especially key buildings or government buildings, needs to be green. Green building. It needs to be sensitive to the environment. It's also futuristic. It's a future smart city, smart government, smart society, smart infrastructure.


STOUT (voice-over): But some environmentalists disagree, warning of a potential habitat destruction.

AGUS BEI, MANGROVE ACTIVIST (through translator): The area is unique, with its national habitats and native species. And if its mangrove forests are destroyed, all the native species will be gone, too. And the next generations can only hear the stories about the species, because they don't exist anymore.

STOUT (voice-over): There is another concern about the project: the potential displacement of indigenous tribes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The land and the farms are inherited from our ancestors. The land is the biggest asset of our tribe. For us, the farm is the source of life. If our land is taken away, how can we farm? How can we live?

STOUT (voice-over): To that, the government has said it will compensate landowners.

And there are also some critics who say, Indonesia should concentrate on fixing the problems in Jakarta, arguing millions of residents will remain in the current capital, struggling to cope with pollution, traffic and worsening floods.

DORINA POJANI, URBAN PLANNING EXPERT, UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND: Will it relieve congestion in Jakarta? Will it make whoever is left behind in Jakarta get to live a bit better? Well, I don't think so.

STOUT (voice-over): As construction ramps up this year, many questions remain. But one thing is clear: the road to creating Nusantara, Indonesia's shining city on a hill, will likely be an uphill climb.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN.


HARRAK: And I'll be speaking with Tiza Mafira, the director for the Climate Policy Initiative, Indonesia, in the next hour, to discuss the consequences of Indonesia's move to relocate its capital city. The Australian Open is underway, with one of the biggest names in the

draw-outs of the tournament before hitting a ball.

Wimbledon runner-up and Aussie favorite Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn with a knee injury.

The 27-year-old fan favorite was coming off the best season of his career, having lost to Novak Djokovic in the final of Wimbledon and winning the Australian Open doubles title.

The Aussie came into this year's tournament as one of the favorites to win the title.

Well, meanwhile, defending champ Rafael Nadal is currently on court in his opening match. The Spaniard took the first set, seven games to five, against the young Brit, Jack Draper, but has just dropped a second set, 6 to 2.

Well, Nadal's archnemesis, Novak Djokovic, will begin his campaign on Tuesday after missing out on last year's Aussie Open, when he was deported for not being vaccinated against COVID-19. But despite the events of last year, the Serbian isn't holding any grudges.


NOVAK DJOKOVIC, MEN'S WORLD #5 IN TENNIS: If I do hold grudges, and probably if I'm not able to move on, I wouldn't be here, you know. And also, I have to say that the amount of positive experiences I had in Australia overwhelm the negative experience, maybe, of last year.

So, you know, my impression of Australia and my, you know, vision of Australia has always been very positive, and that has reflected on my performance. And my results are a testament to how I feel here.


HARRAK: And we have plenty more sports action ahead, including a roundup of Sunday's NFL playoff action, coming up next in WORLD SPORT.

For now, thank you so much for joining us. I'm Laila Harrak. I'll be back in 15 minutes with more CNN NEWSROOM.