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Search Continues After Nepal Plane Crash; Zelenskyy Calls Dnipro Attack a "War Crime"; Ex-Commander of Russian Mercenaries Seeks Asylum in Norway; London Met Officer Admits to Sexual Assault Offenses; World Economic Forum Gets Ready for Opening Remarks; Ukraine Gets Weapons from Allies as War Continues; China's Population and Economy; International Renewable Energy Summit Sets Scene for COP28; State of Emergency in Peru Extended; Anti-Government Protesters in Israel Against Judicial Reform; U.K. Condemns Tehran for Executing Iranian-British Man; Novak Djokovic Returns After Ban. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired January 17, 2023 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I am Rosemary Church. Just ahead here on "CNN Newsroom," new details about the moments leading up to Sunday's deadly plane crash in Nepal as the search continues for two people still missing.
In Dnipro, rescuers comb through the rubble after one of the deadliest attacks on civilians since Russia's war in Ukraine began.
And we are hours away from the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos. We'll bring you a live report on what to expect.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is "CNN Newsroom" with Rosemary Church.
CHURCH: Thanks for joining us. We begin in Nepal where search operations have resumed for two people who remain missing after the deadly crash of a Yeti Airlines flight.
Authorities say rescuers have recovered 70 bodies so far and at least 41 of them have been identified. Many of them will be handed over to their families, while those of foreign nationals will be airlifted to the capital of Kathmandu.
There were 72 people on board, including four crew members, when the plane crashed into a gorge on Sunday.
Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil for all of the victims was held in Kathmandu.
CNN's Ivan Watson has more.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (CRYING AND WAILING)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A family in shock. Their son, Abhishek Kushwaha, was on vacation in Nepal with three of his friends when their plane suddenly crashed on Sunday.
We lost our family's only breadwinner, says his father, in India. He was an accomplished, educated boy.
An eyewitness happened to record the doomed Yeti Airlines plane abruptly banking seconds before it crashed. The aircraft slammed into a deep gorge, carrying 72 passengers and crew.
A difficult search and rescue operation forcing emergency workers to use ropes and cranes. Most of those on board were Nepalis, as well as 15 passengers from India, Russia, Korea, Australia, Argentina, Ireland and France.
Authorities say they lost communication with the plane 18 minutes into what was supposed to be a 25-minute flight from the capital of Kathmandu to Nepal's second largest city, Pokhara.
GEOFFREY THOMAS, AIRLINERATINGS.COM: It was a short flight. The workload is higher on the pilots. You've got to take off, to climb, you and crews, really for a minute or two, and then you are descending.
WATSON (voice-over): Nepal's prime minister announced a national day of mourning on Monday and formed a five-person committee to investigate the cause of the crash.
Experts say the aircraft itself, a French-Italian made ATR 72 twin- engine turboprop, has a decent track record for safety unlike the aviation industry in Nepal.
THOMAS: Since 2000, there have been 33 serious incidents in Nepal of which 21 have been fatal. So, the track record is not good.
WATSON (voice-over): High in the Himalayans, Nepal is home to some of the world's tallest mountains. The country saw deadly plane crashes in 2016, 2018, and as recently as May of last year. Nearly 10 years ago, concern over safety standards prompted the European Union to ban all Nepali airlines from flying to Europe.
Those details, of little concern to family members waiting outside a hospital in Pokhara, waiting for the final return of their loved ones.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
CHURCH: And CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me now live from Seoul. Paula, what more are you learning about the investigation into the cause of this deadly plane crash and, of course, the search for those two missing people? PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary for the search to start with, they are, we understand, using drones at this point to try and locate the last two victims of this air crash. They have been having to use cranes to lift the bodies out of this gorge. So, it has been a challenging operation for the first responders in the area itself.
HANCOCKS: Now, we understand today, this Tuesday, there will also be four investigators arriving at the site from France's Civil Aviation Safety Agency. They are going to helping with this investigation to find out exactly what happened. It will be Nepali-led. We understand there are group of five investigators that have to report back to the government within 45 days to say what they believe happened.
So, at this point, they do have the flight data recorder. They do have the cockpit voice recorder as well. The black box has been found, which will help in their investigation. There is also that social media video where you see the plane banking significantly before disappearing behind a populated area and the building, and just a moment later, you hear the explosion. So, all of this will be used as evidence in this investigation.
We also heard from an airport spokesperson saying that the pilot, in the moments just before the crash, requested to land at a different runway. We understand from the Civil Aviation Authority that there are two runways, and they gave that permission, but didn't ask why because they said there was no technical reason not to give the permission.
They also said crucially -- quote -- "No distress calls were reported from the pilot to the Pokhara Airport tower control." So, until the very last moment, there didn't appear to be any kind of distress call. All of this will be taken into consideration when they try and figure out exactly what led to this tragedy.
We have also heard from those on the ground who realized just how lucky they were to have escaped any injury or worse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAPANA KHADKA, EYEWITNESS (through translator): I live in the house just next to the crash site. The plane crashed right across my house in 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 that 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: And a tragic twist of fate. The pilot of Yeti Airlines that crashed on Sunday was actually a widow. Her husband had been a pilot with the same airline and had died in similar circumstances back in 2006. She had used that insurance payout to go to the U.S. and train as a pilot with tragic results. Rosemary?
CHURCH: It is just so heartbreaking. Paula Hancocks, joining us live from Seoul, many thanks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is calling a deadly attack on an apartment building a war crime and is vowing to bring those responsible to justice. At least 40 people were killed when a Russian missile slammed into the building in Dnipro on Saturday, making it one of the single deadliest attacks against civilians since the start of Russia's invasion.
At least 25 people remain missing, and rescue crews continue the 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 and a 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Dnipro with details on the search and rescue operations.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): While rescue crews are still sifting through the debris, the chance of finding any more survivors is virtually zero, a gaping hole where dozens of families once lived.
(On camera): As you can see here, this building was completely annihilated all the way down to the ground floor. The Ukrainians say the reason why the damage is so extensive is that the Russians used a cruise missile called the Kh-22. The is designed to destroy whole aircraft carrier strike groups. And when it hit the building, the building just completely collapsed and buried dozens of people underneath. A miracle not anyone survived at all, Ukrainian authorities say.
Kateryna Zelenska was pulled from the rubble by rescuers hours after the strike, but her husband and one-year-old son remain unaccounted for.
And this video shows happier times for the Korenovskyi family.
[03:10:00] PLEITGEN: Father, Mykhailo Korenovskyi, was killed in their apartment. Their distinctive yellow kitchen, like their family, torn apart by the massive explosion.
Fifteen-year-old Maria was also killed in the blast. Dozens of relatives, classmates and teachers coming to pay their final respects.
She was an incredible child, her class teacher says. (INAUDIBLE) is taking the best of ours. This is what happened.
The Kremlin denies its forces were behind the strike and instead claims a Ukrainian antiaircraft missile hit the building. The Ukrainians say that simply is not true. Dnipro's mayor tells me that his city and the country need more western air defense systems.
Western countries give us air defense systems, he tells me, but unfortunately, it is not enough and it comes with delays. More air defense systems are the only thing that can save our civilians and our cities.
The Ukrainians say they have no chance of stopping this missile that crashed into the residential building, killing scores in an instant.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Dnipro, Ukraine.
CHURCH: The British defense secretary says Ukraine is in a need of a new level of support to expel Russian troops from the country. As the U.K. gears up to send more help, 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WALLACE, BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY: President Putin cannot win but he is equally certain to continue inflicting this wanton violence and human suffering until his forces are ejected from their defense positions and expelled from the country. That requires a new level of support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Meantime, Poland's prime minister traveled to Berlin where he called on Germany to supply -- quote -- "all sorts of weapons to Ukraine." Poland needs permission from Germany to export German- manufactured Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
A former commander in the Russian mercenary group Wagner has fled to Norway seeking asylum. Andrei Medvedev says that he feared for his life after refusing to renew his contract with the private military company.
He has accused the group of abusing prisoners who have often been recruited as mercenaries, saying some have been killed for refusing to fight. But Wagner's leader says it is Medvedev who attempted to mistreat prisoners, a claim he denies.
All this comes as a rift is emerging between Wagner and Russia's own defense ministry over who deserves more credit for advances in Ukraine. The kremlin denies that there is a rivalry, saying both are fighting for their homeland.
And CNN's Clare Sebastian joins us now live from London with more on this. So, Clare, the Wagner's group role in this war has been increasing, hasn't it? So, what are we learning from this former fighter's account about this group?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Rosemary, this adds further evidence to a picture that we've been building up of the brutality and, frankly, terror of life within this what was once believed to be an elite fighting force. I think it puts (INAUDIBLE) to any illusions that this was a grouping of professional soldiers who were there to serve out contracts and then go home.
Apparently, this fighter, Andrei Medvedev, said that when his contract came to an end, that he did not want to renew it. He feared for his life. Prigozhin, the head of that Wagner group, apparently ordered all contracts, he says, to be automatically renewed in November. So, there is an element of coercion and threat behind this. He said he felt his life was in danger.
Any allusion as well that this was just professional elite soldiers are also gone. We know that as well from a video that emerged in September of Prigozhin recruiting prisoners from Russian prisons. Andrei Medvedev said that fundamentally changed life in Wagner. He said when the prisoners started arriving, the situation really changed. They stopped treating us like humans. We were just thrown to fight like cannon fodder.
This, of course, matters because, as you say, Wagner is now playing an outsized role in this battle. It has claimed credit for the advances in Soledar.
It seems that Russia, ministry of defense and Kremlin, are not distancing themselves from this. The Kremlin saying on Monday that there is no rift. As you said, they are both fighting for their homeland. The ministry of defense even giving Wagner some credit for the advances in Soledar. So, it is crucial to understand what exactly the tactics are of this group and this adds evidence to that.
CHURCH: All right. Clare Sebastian, joining us live from London, many thanks.
The first lady of Ukraine is getting ready to speak at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
CHURCH: Olena Zelenska will be delivering opening remarks in less than two hours, and we will have much more Davos coverage in a little later in the show. 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 caught at a medical clinic in Palermo, Sicily on Monday. Denaro was considered Italy's most wanted man, yet he had been seemingly hiding in plain sight for the past 30 years.
He is suspected in dozens of mafia-related murders and was convicted in absentia for deadly bombings, which killed two anti-mafia prosecutors in 1992. He was also convicted for the kidnapping and murder of a 12-year-old boy, the son of a former mobster-turned informant. The child's body was dissolved in acid.
Over the years, Italian police have arrested more than 100 alleged accomplices of Denaro, including his brother and sister. They've seized assets worth more than $160 million. Denaro is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Demands for reforms within London's metropolitan police are growing louder after an officer admitted to dozens of sexual assaults. The Crown Prosecution Service is calls the case one of the most shocking it has ever seen. The assistant commissioner says the duration and nature of David Carrick's crimes is unprecedented in policing.
Nina dos Santos reports on why he was not stopped sooner and why we are just hearing about this now.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who is into court behind windows obscured, one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders, finally faced justice. For 20 years, David Carrick used his work at London's metropolitan police as cover to abuse countless women.
On Monday, he pleaded guilty to several offenses, including four counts of rape. Last month, he admitted to 43 charges against 11 women, including 20 counts of rape. The detective in charge of the case said that he was relieved Carrick had acknowledged his crimes for the sake of his victims.
UNKNOWN: It means that we are going to face the ordeal of giving evidence to see justice served.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Yet why Carrick wasn't stopped before looms large over a force, which has pledged to flush out a culture of misogyny, highlighted by the abduction, rape and murder of a young woman, Sarah Everard, at the hands of a Met officer two years ago.
Despite allegations being made against Carrick since the earliest, the year 2000, British media reported that he has been promoted to the same armed unit where Everard's murderer, Wayne Couzens, also served, a pattern which this group said speaks more loudly than empty promises in a country where many women say they frequently face sexual harassment.
UNKNOWN: I've experienced sexual harassment (INAUDIBLE) it was something quite (INAUDIBLE). DOS SANTOS (voice-over): London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was sickened and appalled by Carrick's truly abhorrent crimes. Assistant Met Commissioner Barbara Gray said the force was committed to rooting out corrupt officers.
BARBARA GRAY, ASSISTANT METROPOLIS POLICE COMMISSIONER: We are committed, and we will continue to do that, to identify as many officers and staff as we can and get them before the court and get them out of this job.
DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Following on from Carrick's guilty plea, Police Commissioner Mark Rowley conceded that the Met would now investigate over 1,000 sexual abuse and misconduct cases involving 800 of its officers.
Carrick's job was to enforce the law, but for years, he acted with total impunity. Until the Met can tackle its other offending officers, questions will continue over whether the UK's most powerful police force can command women's confidence.
Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.
CHURCH: The World Economic Forum starts soon in Switzerland, and there is unease in the air while leaders are preparing for difficult year ahead.
Plus, the zero-COVID policy might have ended, but China's economy has a long way to go before it gets back on track. We are live in Hong Kong next on "CNN Newsroom."
CHURCH: In less than two hours, opening remarks will begin at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Ukrainian first lady, the E.U. Commission president, and the Chinese vice premier are all slated to speak amid growing fears of a global recession.
Let's bring in CNN's Anna Stewart who joins us live from London. Good morning to you, Anna. So, once this gets underway, what can we all expect to come out of this year's World Economic Forum?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: I think it is quite telling. You mentioned the three special addresses we will be getting in the next couple of hours. I think that says a lot about the lead topics for this year. There is the war in Ukraine, there is China's economy and the relations with the west, and there is the big global economic outlook.
And on that latter point, there is a lot to be spoken about (INAUDIBLE) or the economists or the special guests that are gathering in Devos. It has been interesting. At the beginning, in Davos, we will get (INAUDIBLE) polls, statistics, publications from various bodies.
If you kind of sift through them all, here are some key takeaways that we found so far. First of all, according to the World Economic Forum themselves, they've done a survey of economists, they say that the majority in 2023 will hit a global recession, 73% of CEOs, as you can see there, they think the global economic growth is going to be in decline this year, and according to (INAUDIBLE), who have this sort of trust for survey, they are saying that only 40% of people think that we will be better off in five years' time.
Now, the official title for the World Economic Forum this year is cooperation in a fragmented world. Unofficially, Rosemary, I would say that it is (INAUDIBLE).
CHURCH: Thank you very much. Anna Stewart joining us there live from London. Well, not all of the experts seem to think a recession is a sure thing. The head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development appears skeptical. A few months ago, the group downgraded its world growth forecast to a meager 2.2%.
CNN's Richard Quest asked the group's secretary general if that number still holds. Take a listen.
MATHIAS CORMANN, SECRETARY GENERAL, OECD: We have not forecasted a global recession about the significant downside risks which, of course, we recognized and we have pointed to which could still eventuate (ph). What I would say is that since our last outlook, if anything, the environment as far as the energy prices, food prices, and so on, our concern has slightly improved.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Do you believe there is much more monetary tightening that has to take place?
CORMANN: Well, this is not a one size fits all. I mean, I think that in the U.S., we can see that both core inflation as well as headline inflation started to ease. There might be some more monetary policy tightening, I think, but we might be getting toward the end of that.
QUEST: Do you think the cycle is -- I mean, we might not be there yet, but the cycle is gradually coming --
CORMANN: The U.S. Federal Reserve has taken very strong action. I know that the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue to do what needs to be done in order to tackle inflation. We can see that there is an easing of core inflation as well as headline inflation. So, things certainly are now heading in the right direction. But in many other parts of the world, we would expect to see further monetary policy tightening. We think there's quite a bit further to go.
QUEST: Within the OECD membership, the diversity of economies gives strengths and weaknesses, but if you look overall, is there a common thread?
CORMANN: The common thread is the fact that the lower global growth will have an impact on economies all around the world. Thriving nations around the world will sell fewer of their products and services in an economy -- global economy that is growing more slowly. And so, that is certainly a common thread. But there are different challenges in different parts of the world. The energy crisis was particularly acute in Europe because of particularly close exposure to oil and gas from Russia, for example.
QUEST: That is --
CORMANN: -- which is abiding also in the context of a milder winter than anticipated. But Euorope has gone out of its way to diversify supply, to lower demand through demand measures. And if you look at what we thought the situation might be, it is not quite as bad as what was anticipated.
QUEST: All right. It is that moment. There are a lot of worries. You admit it?
QUEST: There is the white board. We've removed climate crisis because everybody faces that. Global recession and inflation, Ukraine and the energy crisis, COVID, China reopening, or you could write something yourself.
QUEST: I know it's not a one size fits all, but --
CORMANN: Well, I do continue to worry about inflation and the impact of measures to --
COEMANN: -- tackle inflation. That could have --
QUEST: Something tells me you aren't finished.
CORMANN: No. I mean, I don't think this is -- I don't think it is fair to single out the U.S. political system. I think democracy is under pressure all around the world. The need to strengthen democracies is acute everywhere.
QUEST: I think that is -- I think (INAUDIBLE). You might change that for democracies. You've already had an impact, sir.
CHURCH: And CNN, of course, will be covering all the events in Davos. Join Richard Quest and Julia Chatterley as they talk to world leaders and CEOs throughout the week.
And coming up next, more military aid is headed to Ukraine as the U.K. pledges to intensify its support for the country. We will dive deeper into that just ahead.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has announced what he called the most significant package of combat power to date to boost Ukraine's success on the battlefield.
That package will include main battle tanks. What was said the aim is to help accelerate the end of Russian President Vladimir Putin's brutality and ensure Ukraine retains its momentum. He also said Ukraine is in need of a new level of support to expel Russian troops from the country.
Meantime, Poland's prime minister traveled to Berlin where he called on Germany to supply, quote, all sorts of weapons to Ukraine.
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.
VERA MICHLIN-SHAPIR, LECTURER WAR STUDIES DEPARTMENT, KING'S COLLEGE LONDON: Yeah, good morning.
CHURCH: So, the U.K. just announced it sending main battle tanks to Ukraine. The British defense secretary explaining that the war-torn nation needs a new level support. How critical is this type of support for Ukraine at this particular time?
MICHLIN-SHAPIR: So, these are conversations that always the Ukrainian government is having with governments that are allied to Ukraine and then U.K. is obviously one of them and one of the most steadfast allies that Ukraine can rely on. And Ukraine wants to keep its momentum, the momentum that was created during the counterattack that we saw in the -- that we saw before kind of the winter and the conditions for an offensive became more difficult.
Obviously, Ukraine wants to continue to push the Russian forces out of its territory, out of the entirety of its territory, and it needs this heavier weapon. It needs these heavier systems to continue this momentum. And this is what the U.K. is trying to create. U.K. will also try to create a momentum on international arena. So, sort of that the U.K. will be first to send this type of tank, a heavier tank to 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 might 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,
they are sending these thanks, is mounting pressure on Germany. Germany has been hesitant to allow to re-export and it's left two tanks to Ukraine. And so, what U.K. is doing is basically what Secretary Wallace 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 are crossing some kind of red line vis-a-vis Russia.
And so, this opens the door for re-exporting the German Leopard's which are out there in other allied countries of Ukraine, other countries that are willing to re-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, and looking at this precarious state where Russians are mounting this war of attrition against Ukraine and they are saying, well, if Ukraine -- if Ukraine cannot achieve its goals, then what happens next, right?
Putin is digging in. The Russians are digging into this conflict with Ukraine and which for them is also a conflict for the west. So, this is extremely concerning for them. It 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 these various weapons that specifically we're speaking about the tanks right now, is that Ukraine is -- throughout this war, as the war goes along, it's built a western style military, a NATO style military.
And the Russians, even with their numbers, we'd find it very hard to find this western style military that Ukrainians are building. The problem right now that the Ukrainian are facing is the sheer numbers. The Russians are winning by numbers. They are winning with numbers of force that they can mobilize, and also by numbers of the equipment that they can bring into the battlefield.
So, what the Ukrainians are trying to do, and if they are able to do so, they've -- is to -- as the war goes along, to rebuild, to modernize their military. So, they will be fighting the Russians which relies on Soviet-era technology and weapons. We'll be fighting a western, NATO style military.
And then it will be incredibly difficult for them and that gives Ukraine a chance to winning this war.
CHURCH: Vera Michlin-Shapir, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it. MICHLIN-SHAPIR: Thank you.
CHURCH: 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 joins us live from Hong Kong with more on all of this. Good to see you, Kristie. So, what does the data reveal about COVID's impact on China's economy and its population and what's the country's long term economic outlook as it transitions out of zero- COVID?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary, last year was a brutal year for China. First it was because of COVID zero at the very end of the year. It was because of COVID basically everywhere. For the year 2022, China posted a GDP growth of only 3 percent. It posted for the fourth quarter of last year GDP growth of only 2.9 percent year- on-year.
And on top of that, China has revealed that its population is shrinking for the first time since the 1960s. And that means not just the entire population, but it's working age population as well. Right now, China is dealing with double whammy economically of a slowing property market. And on top of that, the after effects of its zero COVID policy which absolutely wrecked its economy last year.
In fact, it caused provincial governments billions of dollars. For example, Guangdong province was forced to pay $22 billion throughout the pandemic on zero-COVID related expenses like mandatory mass testing, vaccination drives, et cetera. And that is one of the factors why China had that sudden reversal in policy. It abruptly ended zero- COVID in December.
Since then, it's been gripped by this exit wave of runaway infection. But when you talk to economists, they say that the economic pain being caused by this exit wave is short lived. I want you to look at this, Aidan Yao, AXA Investment, and he's a senior economist there, tells CNN, quote, "Q4 has likely marked the darkest before the dawn." He goes on to say, "With the reopening timeline now significantly frontloaded, the economic outlook had brightened beyond the near- term."
Now, looking ahead, China's economic growth is expected to rebound in 2023 because China will learn to live with COVID because China's authorities are now easing the regulatory crackdown on the property sector, the tech sector as well, and that's where we're anticipating a broader year ahead. Back to you.
CHURCH: Of course, Kristie, we don't know how reliable these numbers are. But can China's economic recovery, if that's what we're going to see, can it help lift the global economy in 2023?
LU STOUT: Well, a number of international analyst and economist do anticipate China's economic rebound ahead. And that economic growth with top 5 percent in 2023. But -- and that will outpace the economic growth that is anticipated for economies like the U.S., the European Union and Japan. But is it enough to lift the global economy out of what is feared and anticipated to be and could be a global recession coming this next year?
First, that's a very heavy lift. Secondly, it all depends on how quickly we can see the Chinese consumer rebound to start buying again, start buying products, start buying services, to start traveling and take part in domestic and international tourism. A lot remains to be seen, but that domestic spending cannot happen until after this brutal exit wave of infection. Back to you, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yeah. Absolutely. Kristie Lu Stout joining us live from Hong Kong. Many thanks.
LU STOUT: Thank you.
CHURCH: The UAE is getting ready to host the Global Climate Summit, COP28, later this year. But first up is the International Renewable Energy Assembly. CNN's Becky Anderson is there and has this report from Abu Dhabi.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're here at IRENA's general assembly surrounded by some of the biggest players in the global energy transition. Now, this is setting the scene for the United Arab Emirates hosting COP28 which will provide a critical status update on our battle to fight climate change.
SULTAN AL JABER, COP28 PRESIDENT: COP28 will be a milestone moment as the world conducts the first global stock take to assess progress, again, as the goal of the Paris Agreement. We don't need to wait until the global stock take to know just how much work there is ahead of us.
ANDERSON (voice-over): These leaders say they are working towards the same goal, limiting the Earth's warming to 1.5 degrees.
But despite some progress at last year's COP27 in Egypt, the world is still not on track to meet those goals.
(On camera): John Kerry, let me bring you in at this point. You know, collectively, the (inaudible) is not all tracked the whole temperature rise at 1.5. And have we moved past that target, at this point? And what policy and measures is the U.S. putting in place to increase your own ambition?
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE: Well, thank you, Becky. Theoretically, yes, we can. But there is nothing in the current activities of countries all around the world, mine included, that indicates that we are prepared to do what we need to do in order to meet the 1.5. Even if we want to zero, even if China went to zero, we don't solve the problem. Every country has to step up. And that's the virtue of the stock take. ANDERSON (voice-over): The United Nations chief, Antonio Guterres,
addressed the assembly, emphatically outlining his solution. Renewables, which he says are the only safeguard to our future and can ensure energy security.
Today, he, says renewables account for about 30 percent of global electricity. Guterres says this must double to over 60 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050. To make a reasonable future a reality, its critical developing nations have the resources and tools to transition. But where would the required investment come from?
KERRY: No government in the world has enough money to do what we need to do. We are talking about trillions. Who has the trillions? The private sector has the trillions.
ANDERSON (voice-over): The message from this meeting then, renewables where the wind, solar or hydro are key to saving the planet. But unless private investment is ramped up and is universally accessible, it is the most vulnerable nations who will continue to suffer the most no matter their own climate policies.
SIAOSI SOVALENI, PRIME MINISTER OF TONGA: We are a very small economies, but we are trying to do what we can to actually help, trying to fight climate change. And rightly so, I mean, for the Pacific climate change is an existential freight to us. And, we will do whatever we can to actually keep it to 1.5 degrees celsius.
ANDERSON (on camera): We know that we are not on track to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Frankly, many instances, we are regressing. And that is unlikely to change by COP28, which will be held at the end of the year, up the road from here in Dubai.
(Voice-over): But that doesn't mean the world can't correct its course before 2030. Ahead of this year's COP event, the panel's message is clear. Further private investment in renewables is vital.
UNKNOWN: Climate change has already started.
ANDERSON (voice-over): But that takes not just a willingness to change but a real roadmap for action. And that starts right here.
Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
CHURCH: Still to come, the government in Peru has extended its state of emergency as protesters head to the capital city of Lima. Details of the political tensions in the country, that's next.
CHURCH: Anti-government protesters from across Peru have been converging on the capital city of Lima and calling for the resignation of the country's current president. (VIDEO PLAYING)
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.
Now, protesters are demanding new elections and a change to the constitution among other things. And for more on this story, well, I 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.
CHRISTOPHER SABATINI, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW FOR LATIN AMERICA, CHATHAM HOUSE: Thanks, Rosemary.
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's behind this political crisis that is playing out in Peru right now?
SABATINI: You're right, there are number of issues that are driving this. Some of them are historical. Basically, Peru has always been divided between the capital, Lima, and the vast interior of the country. I mean, jungles to 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 the real basic economic activity in Peru takes place.
But those populations haven't benefited from a real mining boom in the country. And so more and more, the political class have become discredited. The political system had become very fractured. Political parties basically ceased to exist.
And what happened was basically is this population in a rural area just felt so disenfranchised. Left out of the national politics. So, when they elected Castillo, who was a completely -- complete unknown. He never held elected office before. He was from the rural area. He's indigenous. He'd been a teacher. He headed the teacher's union locally.
It was sort as seen as giving them a representative voice for the first time in the country. Now, of course what happened was it's been a sort of a standoff between the congress and the executive. The country has 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 legally dissolve the congress.
It was removed and now those populations are back in with some indigenous populations, of rural populations, or rising up and demanding he be returned to office.
CHURCH: Right. (Inaudible) 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 is, as you mentioned, this has been long- standing. And we're looking really 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.
What they're demanding really isn't impossible in the short term. They want to have new elections. They want the president to return. Well, first of all, he 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 congress is really dead set against Castillo.
And that can't even happen for about another year or so according to election authorities in Peru. They can't prepare for the elections. So, they're demands are not actually feasible. But at the same token, their -- so activity, their protests are ramping up and it's come at a really high cost. The crackdown, the state of emergency has now been extended as you said, Rosemary, has come to cost more than 50 lives. Fifty 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 in sight.
CHURCH: Right. And interestingly, Peru's new president, Dina Boluarte, is feeling the pressure now with the country's top prosecutor 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. They have some very good human rights activists, human rights organizations. I think what they need to is form a truth and reconciliation commission that could begin to talk to some of these protesters in these populations that are basically seizing cities and sealing off highways.
And try to first of all come to some accountability on human rights abuses and the deaths and repressions. Second of all, the (inaudible) constructively so expectations of 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: Protesters are turning out in the thousands to speak out against planned changes in the Israeli judicial system. But the right- wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu claims that the reforms are meant to provide a balance of power. CNN's Hadas Gold has details.
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Tel Aviv's Habima Square, a left- wing battle cry for Democracy. "Israel will not be a dictatorship" they chant. As more than 80,000 braved pouring rain to send a message to Benjamin Netanyahu's newly formed right-wing government. In its proposed reforms to Israel judicial system. Reforms that would give the Israeli parliament the ability to overturn -- most drastic changes to Israel's legal system since the country's founding.
BERNARD ATTALLI, PROTESTER: The government under Benjamin Netanyahu tries to change the system in such a way that there will be no control of the government decisions, so which is a loss of democracy.
GOLD (on camera): Now, the protesters here are telling me that they see these changes as threatening their way of life, threatening the rule of law, threatening minorities. And they also see these proposed changes as a way for Benjamin Netanyahu to ultimately get out of its ongoing corruption trial.
YAEL KATZ, PROTESTERS: Our equality and our democracy are really situations that it can be no democracy anymore and that's why I'm afraid.
GOLD (voice-over): But Netanyahu denies the judicial reforms are for his benefit and says these are long needed changes. The will of the people who voted for his right-wing government in the November elections. And that the parliament will hear oppositions before implementing changes.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (through translation): We are not weakening the judicial system. We're strengthening all our systems, democracy, and the rule of law, that are all dependent on the correct balance between the three institutions.
GOLD: But the president of the Israeli Supreme Court attacked the proposed reforms in an unusually fiery speech.
ESTHER HAYUT, PRESIDENT, ISRAELI SUPREME COURT (through translation): Unfortunately, as the presented program comes into being, Israel's 75th year will be remembered as the year the democratic identity of this country was fatally harmed.
GOLD: Opponents of these changes say that without a majority in parliament and without a written constitution, the best way of fighting back is a constant drumbeat of public outcry. That they hope will stop what they as ruin not reform. Hadas Gold, CNN, Tel Aviv.
CHURCH: Britain is warning Iran that it will be held to account over the execution of British Iranian national, Alireza Akbari. In a speech to parliament, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said, "Our message to that regime is clear. The world is watching you." He also called on Monday for Britain to consider further steps alongside its allies to counter the escalating threat from Tehran.
Meantime, the German foreign office has summoned the Iranian ambassador to Berlin over Akbari's execution. Akbari was a former Iranian deputy defense minister. Iranian state media reported on Saturday he was killed by hanging after being charged with spying for the U.K. And we'll be right back.
CHURCH: Monday marked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 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.
We're about an hour away from 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 is a nine-time champion down under and comes into the event is one of the favorites to claim his 22nd major title, which would tie the record currently held by his rival, Rafael Nadal.
Well, the Dallas Cowboys are moving on after a convincing win in the NFL wildcard game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott connected with tight end Dalton Schultz for the game's first touchdown. And there was no looking back from there. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay offense struggled throughout the game. Brady, throwing this interception in the end zone. Final score, Dallas 31, Tampa Bay 14. The Cowboys head to San Francisco to take on 49ers on Sunday.
Well, the general public is invited to a memorial service for Lisa Marie Presley this Sunday at Graceland. The only child of Elvis Presley died last week at age 54 after an apparent cardiac arrest. She will be laid to rest at the Memphis Tennessee Mansion next to her son, Benjamin, who took his own life in 2020. The family is encouraging donations to the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation instead of sending flowers.
And thank you so much for your company, I'm Rosemary Church. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Max Foster, next.