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Search Operation Resumes For Two Missing People; Life In Bakhmut Upended As Fighting Intensifies; Polish Prime Minister Calls On Germany To Supply Weapons To Ukraine; Hamas Released Purported First Video Of Israeli Hostage; At Least 40 Killed In Strike On Dnipro Apartment Building; Peru Extends State Of Emergency Amid Protests; U.S. Celebrates Life And Legacy Of Civil Rights Leader. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 17, 2023 - 02:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers, joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM;

CHURCH (voice over): New details about the moments leading up to Sunday's deadly plane crash in Nepal, as the search continues for two people still missing.

And Western allies are ramping up support for Ukraine, as the country reels from one of Russia's deadliest attacks yet.

Plus, another after 30 years on the run, one of the world's most notorious mafia bosses is now behind bars.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemarie Church.

CHURCH (on camera): And we begin in Nepal, where search operations have resumed for two people who remain missing after the deadly crash of a Yeti Airlines Flight.

CHURCH (voice over): Authorities say 70 bodies have been recovered so far, and at least 41 of them have been identified.

Many of them will be handed over to their families in Pokhara, while others including those of foreign nationals will be airlifted to the capital Kathmandu.

There were 72 people on board, including four crew members when the plane crashed into a gorge on Sunday.

CHURCH (on camera): And CNN's Paula Hancocks has been following the latest developments. She joins us now live from Seoul.

So, Paula, what more are you learning about the investigation into the cause of this deadly and tragic plane crash, and of course, this search for two missing people?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Rosemary, starting off with the search, we know that they are using drones in this particular area, as the plane did crash in a gorge to try and locate those two final victims.

They have been having to use a crane to lift the bodies from the gorge itself and there are many taken to the hospital. And as you say, then, many will then be airlifted to Kathmandu, to the capital, as well as the 15 foreign nationals who are on board to be handed back to loved ones.

So, at this point, the search is ongoing. And of course, the questions are beginning to be asked, what exactly happened?

There is a five person investing investigative committee that has been created in Nepal. We know that there are also four investigators arriving there today, this Tuesday from France from the aviation safety agency there to help with the investigation.

Now, they have a number of things to look at. They do have the black boxes. We know that the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder have been retrieved from the site and they will be looked at very closely.

We also have seen social media video of the plane as it was coming close to a populated area, and then, banked very substantially to one side. That will be something they'll look at as well.

And we heard today from the Civil Aviation Authority and also the spokesperson for the airport saying that the pilot when coming close to landing actually requested to change the runway just minutes before. And one key quote here, saying, "No distress calls were reported from the pilot to the Pokhara Airport tower controllers."

So, even at the very last minute, there was no distress call. So, this will all be looked at very closely by investigators. It is a challenging region to be flying. And we have seen a number of accidents over the years due to inclement weather, also due to the fact that they have eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world, including Everest, and it is challenging to fly in this -- in this area.

We also heard from some on the ground nearby where the plane actually crashed. And they describe what they saw.


SAPANA KHADKA, EYEWITNESS: I live in the house just next to the crash site. The plane crashed right across my house on a cliff, one of its wings still lies on the edge of the cliff. It came to the side of my house after bouncing back and then burst into flames.

On hearing the sound, we looked out and saw a huge ball of fire in the air. And then we rushed out of our house. We thought the plane was going to crash land over our house when my children and I were inside, but we are lucky that God saved us.


HANCOCKS: And authorities tell us that 41 victims have been identified so far. They are working on identifying the rest and, of course, finding those two final bodies. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. It's such a tragedy for those families. Paula Hancocks, joining us live from Seoul, many thanks.

Well, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is calling a deadly attack on an apartment building Dnipro a war crime, and is vowing to bring those responsible to justice.

CHURCH (voice over): At least 40 people were killed when a Russian missile slammed into the building on Saturday, making one of these single deadliest attacks against civilians since the start of Russia's invasion.


At least 25 people remain missing and rescue crews have been working around the clock amid a desperate search to find more survivors.

A Kremlin spokesperson suggested the strike was the result of an air defense counter missile, claiming Russia's forces only strike military targets.

Ukraine's president says the attack shows the need for urgent action from its allies.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): What happened in Dnipro, the fact that Russia is preparing a new attempt to seize the initiative in the war, the fact that the nature of hostilities at the front requires new decisions in the defense supply -- all this only emphasizes how important it is to coordinate our efforts, the efforts of all members of the coalition to defend Ukraine and freedom. And to speed up decision making.


CHURCH (on camera): After claiming to have taken the small town of Soledar, the Russian mercenary group Wagner now says it has captured the main train station on the town's outskirts.

It's located 14 kilometers north of Bakhmut, a largest city that Russia has targeted for months now. CNN's Ben Wedeman has a report.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Near Bakhmut's front lines, lost souls wandered the streets. Those who can't leave, won't leave or have given up caring.

I put some food on the fire, I chop some wood, says Svetlana, and decided to go out for some fresh air.

Dimitro (PH), pays no heed to the shelling.

This is my land, he says. I won't leave. The fighting echoes through the fog.

WEDEMAN (on camera): As they run seem to be gaining control of Soledar, north of here, in Bakhmut, the fighting seems to be intensifying.

One local resident told us, whereas, before, mortars were flying over their heads. Now, it's bullets.

WEDEMAN (voice over): Soldiers prepare trenches inside the city. New defensive positions if the Russians push forward.

There will sandbags with wood on top, says Valentin (PH), and three firing positions.

On the ever so slightly safer western side of the city, a makeshift market offers basics.

With no electricity or running water, commerce is conducted in the open.

My two shops were destroyed, says Dennis (PH). So, I'm selling on the street.

But this food is only for those who can afford it, and Serhey (PH) isn't one of them.

I'm living like an effing animal, he says.

Yvonne (PH) returns home after collecting firewood. The bitter cold is deadly as the shelling.

People have frozen to death in their apartments, he says.

On a bluff overlooking Bakhmut is artillery officer nicknamed Paylet (PH), says they're up against troops, many of them convicts, with the private military company Wagner.

We're fighting against soldiers brought to the slaughter, he says. These Wagner guys have no choice. They're sentenced to death.

And then, the order comes to open fire.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Bakhmut Ukraine.


CHURCH: The British defense secretary says Ukraine is in need of a new level of support to expel Russian troops from the country, as the U.K. gears up to send more help.

CHURCH (voice over): And that will come in the form of main battle tanks.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, said the package will help accelerate the end of Russian President Vladimir Putin's brutality and ensure Ukraine retains its momentum.


BEN WALLACE, BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY: President Putin cannot win. But he's equally certain he can continue inflicting this wanton violence and human suffering until his forces are ejected from their defensive positions and expelled from the country.

That requires a new level of support.

CHURCH: Meantime, Poland's prime minister traveled to Berlin where he called on Germany to supply "all sorts of weapons to Ukraine."

Poland needs permission from Germany to export German manufactured Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

CHURCH (on camera): Well, joining me now from London is Vera Michlin- Shapir, a lecturer at the War Studies Department at King's College London.


Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, the U.K. just announced its sending main battle tanks to Ukraine. The British defense secretary explaining that the war torn nation needs a new level of support. How critical is this type of support for Ukraine at this particular time?

MICHLIN-SHAPIR: So, these are conversations that, obviously, the Ukrainian government is having with government that's governments that are allied to Ukraine. And then, the U.K. is obviously one of them -- one of them, and one of the most steadfast allies that Ukraine can rely on.

And Ukraine wants to keep this -- its momentum, the momentum that was created during the counter attack that we saw in -- that we saw before kind of the winter and the conditions for offensive became more difficult.

Obviously, Ukraine wants to continue to push the Russian -- the Russians -- the Russian forces out of its territory, out of the entirety of its territory, and it needs these heavier weapons, it needs these heavier systems to continue this momentum. And this is what the U.K. is trying to create.

U.K. is also trying to create a momentum on the international arena. So, sort of the U.K. -- the U.K. will be first to send this type of tank and heavier tanks into Ukraine. CHURCH: And as we just reported, Poland's prime minister is calling on Germany to supply all sorts of weapons, his words to Ukraine, adding that the defeat of Ukraine may become a prelude to World War III.

Do you agree with that assessment? And why do you think Germany has delayed supporting Kyiv at this point?

MICHLIN-SHAPIR: Yes. So, one of the things that the U.K. is doing for sending these tanks is, is mounting pressure on Germany. Germany has been hesitant to allow to re-export its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

And so, what the U.K. is doing is basically what Secretary Wallace did was saying, I will go first. I will go first. So, you Germany don't have to do it first. So, you don't have to feel like you're crossing some kind of red line, vis-a-vis Russia.

And so, this opens the door for re exporting the German Leopards, which are out there in other allied countries of Ukraine, other countries that are willing to export it, but they can't do so before Germany allows them.

And that would give Ukraine much more support, much needed support that currently the U.K. basically just cannot provide because the numbers are not there.

So, obviously, East European countries, such as Poland are looking at the situation in Ukraine, are looking at this precarious state where the Russians are mounting this war of attrition against Ukraine.

And they're saying, well, if Ukraine -- if Ukraine cannot achieve its goals, then, what happens next, right? Putin is digging in. Russia -- the Russians are digging into this conflict with Ukraine, and which for them is also a conflict with the West. So, this is extremely concerning for them, should be concerning for all of us.

CHURCH: But do you think that Ukraine can win this war with Russia if it's able to build up its military capabilities with critical help from these various Western nations?

MICHLIN-SHAPIR: So, what happens is that the Ukrainians -- and this is very important also with this various weapons that specifically we're speaking about tanks right now.

Is that Ukraine, is -- throughout this war, as the war goes along, its build a western-style military. A NATO style military.

And the Russians, even with their numbers would find it very hard to find this western-style military the Ukrainians are building.

The problem right now to the Ukrainians are facing is the sheer numbers. The Russians are winning by numbers. They're winning by numbers of the force that they can mobilize, and also by numbers of the equipment that they can bring into the battlefield.

So, what do Ukrainians are trying to do, and if they're able to do so, they pour is to -- as the war goes along, to rebuild to modernize their military. So, they will be fighting the Russians, which is relies on Soviet-era technology and weapons, will be fighting a Western native-style military.

And then, it will be incredibly difficult for them, and that gives Ukraine a chance of winning this war.

Vera Michlin-Shapir, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.


CHURCH: Well, the man known as the last godfather of the Sicilian Mafia is finally under arrest after three decades on the run. Matteo Messina Denaro was considered one of the masterminds of deadly bombing attacks carried out by the Cosa Nostra in the 1990s.

And those killings led to a massive government crackdown on organized crime in Italy.


CNN's Barbie Nadeau has more.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voice over): Italy's most wanted mafia kingpin finally arrested after 30 years in hiding.


PASQUALE ANGELOSANTO, MILITARY POLICE MAJOR GENERAL (through translator): As a part of investigations coordinated by the Public Prosecutor's Office of Palermo, we arrested fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro inside the health facility,

NADEAU: Messina Denaro was last seen publicly in 1993, shortly before he went into hiding.

After he was convicted in absentia for the assassinations of anti- mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, both killed in separate targeted bombings in 1992. Police have been searching for him ever since.

Messina, Denaro is thought to have led the Cosa Nostra Mafia in Sicily, since the arrest of his predecessor, Bernardo Provenzano, who was captured near the infamous Sicilian town of Corleone in 2006.

Messina Denaro has multiple convictions for murder, including the kidnapping and death of a 12-year-old boy, whose body was dissolved in acid.

Despite evading police for so long, there was cause for celebration.

MAURIZIO BELLACOSA, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN CRIMINAL LAW, LUISS UNIVERSITY: The arrest is a very, very important event. Obviously, Mr. Matteo Messina Denaro is the keeper of fundamental secrets in very delicate matter.

As for example, the reasons of the most serious mafia crimes or the possible connivance between political subjects and mafia leaders.

NADEAU: Italy's new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was in Palermo to celebrate the spectacular arrest.

She said, the war against the mafia is not over. But this was a battle that was fundamental to win, and it's a hard hit to organize crime.

Now, the so-called Boss of Bosses will be held in a high security prison. And authorities fear, his replacement is likely already on the job. Barbie Nadeau, CNN, Rome.

CHURCH: Time for a short break. When we come back, a new report on the strength of China's economy.

CHURCH (voice over): How the country fared under strict COVID lockdowns and now that it's easing restrictions.

Plus, the government in Peru has extended its state of emergency as protesters from throughout the country head to the capital. Back in just a moment.


CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back, everyone.

Well, the Palestinian militant group Hamas has released what it claims is a video of an Israeli man held prisoner in Gaza since 2014.

But his family and the Israeli government have questions about the videos authenticity. CNN's Hadas Gold has details.

HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS, MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: This video released by the Palestinian militant group is the first image of Avera Mengitsu since he was taken hostage in 2014 by Hamas after crossing into Gaza on foot.


The video is undated and appears to show Mengitsu sitting in a buttoned up purple shirt against a white wall. Asking things like how long he will remain in captivity, and where his country and people are.

He appears for about 11 seconds. Now, CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the video or confirm when it was filmed, and it is likely that Mengitsu made the statement under duress.

Now, the timing of this video is also notable because it comes on the same day that the new Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, took over from the outgoing Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi.

And actually a message at the beginning and end of the video address both men.

Now, both Mengitsu's brother and his mother have spoken on Israeli television. His brothers saying he was excited and scared at the same time, but that he could not be 100 percent sure that the man in the video was his brother.

Mengitsu's mother, though told channel 12 -- Israeli channel 12 that she was sure it was her son.

His family and the Israeli government have both said that Mengitsu is mentally ill.

Now, the office of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not confirm the authenticity of the video, saying only in a statement, the State of Israel invest all its resources and efforts to return its captive and missing son's home to the State of Israel.

Along with Mengitsu, Hamas is also holding another Israeli civilian who crossed into Gaza, Hisham al-Sayed. As well as the bodies shot all said as well as the bodies of two soldiers killed during the 2014 war with Hamas: Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.

Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.

CHURCH: Travel is in full swing in China, ahead of the Lunar New Year.

CHURCH (voice over): And that's raising fears of another possible surge in COVID cases. Infections have been on the rise for weeks with an official reporting Saturday that nearly 60,000 people have died of COVID since early December, when China abruptly abandoned its strict- zero-COVID policy.

Meanwhile, we are getting a better idea of how expensive it's been for regional governments to fight the pandemic.

Guangdong Province reports it spent $22 billion on prevention and control in the past three years.

CHURCH (on camera): Well, for the first time in six decades, China's population has actually decreased falling by 850,000 last year. The National Bureau of Statistics is out with a slew of new information, including data that shows the economy grew by 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, and fell well short of Beijing's official annual target of 5.5 percent.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joined us now live from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Kristie. So, what all does this latest data reveal about the impact COVID has had on China's economy, and of course, its population?

And what's the country's long term economic outlook as it transitions out of zero-COVID?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): You know, the data is extremely revealing. It reveals a very depressing end for what was a challenging year for China.

China posted economic growth for last year, 2022 of three percent. It posted economic growth for the fourth quarter of 2.9 percent year on year. And additional data has come out, showing that China's population is shrinking for the first time since the 1960s. You know, right now, China is dealing with multiple headwinds. It has its ongoing historic property slump. But it's also counting the cost of its zero-COVID policy, which as, you know, and our viewers know absolutely wrecked China's economy last year.

You just cited the data that came out from one provincial government, a number of provincial governments were forced to pay billions of dollars in anti-pandemic controls.

Guangdong Province, the economic powerhouse in the south of the country paid some $22 billion U.S .dollars throughout the course of the pandemic on anti-COVID measures like mass testing campaigns and vaccination campaigns.

And it was because of that mounting cost that along with the anti-zero COVID protests, which prompted the government to make that dramatic u turn in December to suddenly end its zero COVID policy.

And that is why now China is dealing with a runaway COVID 19 outbreak. But when you talk to economists, they say that the economic pain being caused by the current outbreak is only short term.

I want you to see this. It's a statement that we got earlier today from Aidan Yao, a senior economist at AXA.

LU STOUT (voice over): And he said, basically, Q4 has likely marked the darkest before the dawn. He goes on to say that with the reopening timeline, now significantly frontloaded, the economic outlook has brightened beyond the near-term."

So, looking ahead economic growth in China is expected to rebound due to a number of factors, China, its people, the government finally learning how to live with COVID-19.

They're also the signs that Beijing is easing up on its harsh regulatory crackdown to the property sector and at the tech sector, but also strong signals from Beijing that policymakers are serious about passing policies that will stabilize this multi trillion dollar economy.


LU STOUT: So, that's why a lot of economist, analyst, are saying that they expect the Chinese economy to top five percent growth in 2023. Back to you Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Our thanks to Kristie Lu Stout, joining us live from Hong Kong. Appreciate it.

Well, still to come this hour, much more on the deadly missiles striking Dnipro, Ukraine.

CHURCH (voice over): And what the U.S. is doing to help the country defend itself from further attacks.

And many powerful people are gathering in the Swiss resort of Davos to tackle global problems as fears of a recession loom large.

Back with that and more in just a moment.


CHURCH (on camera): And just a reminder of one of the top stories we are following this hour, at least 40 people are now confirmed to have died from Russia strike on a Ukrainian apartment building.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Saturday's attack was a war crime and those responsible will be brought to justice.

Is urging allies to make faster decisions about their defense shipments to Ukraine.

The U.S. says Ukrainian troops are now in America to learn how to use the Patriot missile system. It's a highly effective air defense battery that could help Kyiv intercept Russian missiles.

CHURCH (on camera): And CNN's Clare Sebastian is following developments for us. She joins us now from London.

So, Clare, talk to us about the latest information on Dnipro. What is happening there? And, of course, a reaction from the Kremlin.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, Rosemary. The Ukrainian regional head, they are saying that 90 percent of the wreckage has now -- of that building has now been dismantled.

That wreckage revealing the scale of this attack. Eight and a half 1000 tons, they say, of debris has been removed.

41 vehicles were damaged. And that on top of the death toll, which is now around 4,077 injured and 25 people still missing. You get the sense of the density of that building when the missile hit it.

The Kremlin, meanwhile, came out on Monday and blamed Ukrainian Missile Defense for that strike. Saying that it wasn't one of their missiles, it was Ukraine's attempt to defend against their missiles.

Well, that Ukraine's Air Force has said that they have high confidence that this was a Russian cruise missile designed to take out aircraft carriers, a very blunt instrument to use on a civilian area like this.

Russia has said that it does not target civilian targets, only military targets. Although, of course, the months of efforts to exhaust Ukraine's population would tell a different story.

I think this speaks to potentially Russia's strategy going forward.


This attack coming just two days after the head of all of Russia's armed forces was installed as the head of operations in Ukraine. That, in itself, pointed to a potential escalation. And this attack, one of the deadliest on civilians in the entire 10- month-plus war, speaks to the fact that Russia is going to continue in its efforts and potentially even escalate towards a new offensive, Rosemary.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: All right, our thanks to Clare Sebastian joining us live from London. Anti-government protesters from across Peru have been converging on the capital Lima and calling for the resignation of the country's current president.

Protests began last month when the former president was removed from office and then detained after illegally trying to dissolve Congress. Over the weekend, the government extended its state of emergency in some regions and suspended certain constitutional rights such as freedom of movement and assembly. Well, now protesters are demanding new elections and a change to the Constitution among other things.

And for more on this story, we want to bring in Christopher Sabatini. He is a senior research fellow for Latin America at Chatham House. Thank you so much for joining us.


CHURCH: So, Peru has been at the center of these violent, and deadly protests for weeks now since the ousting of former President Pedro Castillo who is still popular with many voters. But this has been simmering for years, hasn't it? What -- what's behind this political crisis that is playing out in Peru right now?

SABATINI: You're right, there are a number of issues that are driving this. Some of them are historical, basically proves always been divided between the capital Lima, and the vast interior of the country in the jungles of the North, and the mountains to the East and the South. And those are largely indigenous populations, rural populations, where a lot of the mining and real basic economic activity of Peru takes place. But those populations haven't benefited from a real mining boom in the country. And so, more and more of the political class had become discredited, the political system had become very fractured, political parties that basically ceased to exist.

And what happened was, basically is this population in the rural areas just felt sort of disenfranchised, left out of the national politics. So, when they elected Castillo, who is a completely -- complete unknown, he had never held elected office before. He was from the rural area, he's indigenous. He had been a teacher who headed the teacher's union locally. It was sort of seen as giving them a representative voice for the first time in the country. Now, of course, what happened was it has been sort of a standoff between the Congress, and the -- and the -- and the executive.

The country's had six presidents in five years because of impeachment processes and resignations. They attempted for the third time to impeach him. He basically tried, as you said, to illegally dissolve the Congress, was removed, and now those populations that back him, those indigenous populations, the rural populations are rising up and demanding he be returned to office.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, as we reported that 30-day state of emergency has now been extended in the capital, and into other areas. But protesters are calling for political change in Peru, how far might they go? And how bad do you think this could get for the country?

SABATINI: Again, this has -- as you mentioned, this has been long- standing, and we're looking at really sort of for the first time this upsurge of historical tensions within the country, institutional weaknesses. It's going to be difficult to resolve a standoff. Again, it's historic, it's racial, it's geographic. But what they're demanding really is impossible in the short term, they want to have new elections, they want the president to be returned.

Well, first of all, he had attempted a coup d'etat, so he's in prison right now. Second, to amend the constitution, to bring up new elections is going to require the Congress voting that to happen, and the Congress is really dead set against Castillo, and that will -- can't even happen for about another year or so according to election authorities in Peru, they can't prepare for the election. So, their demands are not actually feasible. But by the same token, they're sort of activity, their protests are ramping up. And it's come at a really high cost. The crackdown and the state of emergency that's now been extended, as you said, Rosemary, has come at the cost of more than 50 lives. 50 people have been killed largely by security forces. And it looks like it's going to continue on for the indefinite future with no real resolution or exit insight.

CHURCH: Right. And interestingly, Peru's new president, Dina Boluarte, is feeling the pressure now with the country's top prosecutor's office, launching an inquiry into her handling of this unrest, and several of her ministers resigning. So, what will it take to resolve this political crisis, do you think?

SABATINI: It's a good question. I think really what has to happen is first of all, the State Security Forces have to pull back. There has to be some investigation. There has to be some effort. I wouldn't -- they have some very good human rights activists and human rights organizations.


I think what they need to do is form a truth, and reconciliation commission that can begin to talk to somebody like some of these protesters, and these populations that are -- that are, you know, basically seizing cities and sealing off highways. And try to, first of all, come to some accountability on the human rights abuses and the deaths and the repression. But second of all, begin to sort of tamp down a little bit constructively sort of expectations, and what can be done in the short term in terms of getting out of this political standoff. Because right now, the country is effectively paralyzed.

CHURCH: All right, our thanks to Christopher Sabatini joining us with that perspective. Appreciate it.

SABATINI: Thank you. CHURCH: Well, coming up, he's still not vaccinated, but Novak Djokovic is getting ready to step on court a year after Australia deported him over his vaccine status. We'll take a look at that.


CHURCH: In just a few hours from now, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland will begin in earnest with opening remarks from the Ukrainian First Lady, the E.U. Commission President, and the Chinese Vice Premier. And that, of course, indicates the big themes will include fallout from the war in Ukraine and China's slow economic growth.

Leaders are preparing for a tough year ahead. And a new warning is adding to the anxiety. The World Economic Forum found that nearly two- thirds of chief economists surveyed, believe a global recession is likely this year. The number who say it's extremely likely is 18 percent, 1-8. Well, for many descending on the mountain resort of Davos, the track involves planes and trains and maybe even a sprint. Richard Quest shows us the complicated journey to get there, and how that ties into the theme of this year's conference.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Cooperation in a fragmented world, the first aspect of this is making sure you get your bags back, and that's before we get to the really complicated bit, getting up the mountain. That horrible moment when you think, is it, or isn't it? Will it, or won't it? The anxiety has begun, and we haven't even left the airport.

(voiceover) The journey begins in Zurich, on the train to Landquart. Taking the train to Davos is a rite of passage. Never mind those expensive gas-guzzling electric limos. The train is the way to go. From Zurich to Landquart, and then a transfer to Davos Platz. It's not the most time efficient, but as many policymakers know, sometimes the most efficient are not always the most practical. I love taking the train.


(on camera) As I make my way up to Davos, the exciting bit is known as the Landquart dash (PH). Being Swiss railways, of course, one train arrives quite tightly on time, and you've got a couple of minutes to get across the station to the next. It's a bit like sort of cooperation in a fragmented world. When it all goes according to plan, it's fine, but missed the connection. So, the wise traveler gets themselves ready for the Landquart dash.

(voiceover) Many of the delegates here have had to move quickly in the past year, as Russia's war in Ukraine, and persistent effects of the pandemic have led to unexpected economic outcomes. Inflation, slow growth, the prospect of global recession has left money out of breath.

(on camera) The real wait (PH), people are still struggling on but they never really want to take the risk. There's such a great analogy here between just getting to Davos and this coordinated and a fragmented world. And also, the sheer number of people who make this schlep up to Davos for WEF, it's quite amazing. I think I'm ready for a strong drink.

(voiceover) Davos has lived through lots of changes in its 53 years, where 2,700 leaders from 130 countries, all descending on the mountain village, their work is cut out. Now, we just need some snow.

(on camera) And it -- this was indeed a fragmented journey. But there was lots of cooperation, which hopefully sets the tone for the discussions, the meetings on the WEF for the rest of the week. Now, I'm committed to improving the state of the world or something like that. Richard Question, CNN Davos.

CHURCH: And CNN will, of course, be covering all the events in Davos. Join Richard Quest and Julia Chatterley as they talk to world leaders and CEOs throughout the week. Well, Monday marked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the United States. A celebration of the civil rights leader. Marching bands, dancers, first responders and more participated in a parade through the streets of Washington D.C. to commemorate Dr. King's legacy of fighting racism and segregation. U.S. President Joe Biden addressed a civil rights breakfast in the nation's capital, where he credited Dr. King's life as a guide for the future of America.


PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We face another inflection point in our nation's history. One that's going to determine what this country looks like several decades from now. You know, this is a time for choosing. Will we choose democracy over autocracy, or community over chaos, love over hate? These are the questions of our time. Dr. King's life and legacy, in my view, show us the way forward.


CHURCH: Well, just a couple of hours from now, well now until the eagerly anticipated return of Novak Djokovic and his first match at the Australian Open 12 months after he was deported for his refusal to be vaccinated for COVID-19, the 35-year-old Serbian as a nine-time champion down under and comes into the event as one of the favorites to claim his 22nd major title, which would tie the record currently held by his rival Rafael Nadal. And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. Then, I'll be back in 15 minutes with more CNN NEWSROOM. Do stick around.