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UN Revises Libya Flood Death Toll To 3958, Over 9,000 Injured; Survivors Live In Tents After Homes Destroyed; World Leaders Gathering In New York For Annual Meeting; Ukraine Says It Has Recaptured Key Village Near Bakhmut; North Korea's Kim Heads Home After Successful Visit To Russia; EU Chief Visit Italian Island To Discuss Migrant Crisis; Women in Haiti Seek Support for Children Fathered by U.N. Staff; Hijacked Buildings in Johannesburg; Shaming Shrinkflation; The Museum of Failure Displays Products that Flopped. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired September 18, 2023 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers watching from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton. Ahead right here on CNN Newsroom. A perfect storm how years of conflict and unrest made Libya especially vulnerable during last week's devastating floods.
Kim's Russia tour comes to a close, the North Korean leader now headed back to Pyongyang. After visiting Russia's Far East and broken promises we hear from several Haitian women who say they're now struggling to raise the children left behind by U.N. peacekeepers who sexually exploited them.
At this hour, Libya now faces a full blown humanitarian disaster after deadly flooding that utterly decimated the city of dead now just over a week ago. Now it's still unknown how many people have died but the United Nations has now revised a previous death toll of more than 11,000. They now cite the World Health Organization's figure of nearly 4,000 lives lost.
The portside city looks like it was ravaged by war. But what you're seeing here is a result of heavy rain and flooding. In fact, it was more like a tsunami and that was after two major dams burst during the storm. Surging waters rushed through the city while people slept, killing thousands and washing some out to see.
Search and rescue teams pause their work on Sunday for a moment of prayer. Some 9,000 people are still considered missing and treacherous conditions are making the search even more difficult. But as residents return to their homes, some are having trouble post processing this disaster. Here's how one resident described surviving the floods.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ILAM AL-THILBYANI, DERNA RESIDENT (through translator): Feelings, I don't know what I'm feeling, I cannot express it. I saw death with my own eyes. I saw my family about to die in front of my eyes. I wanted to hold on to anything. But I could only say Dear God, save my children and my husband. I saw people dying in front of me. I saw death, a moment that cannot be described as much as I try.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is on the ground in Derna with the latest on efforts to recover the dead.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Libyan and international teams have been working tirelessly out at sea trying to recover the bodies of the thousands of victims of last week's catastrophic event that hit the city of Derna. And we have seen Libyan teams here trying their best to try and get out to sea to try and reach the bodies of those victims.
But what we're hearing from the international teams that have been working on this for days now is that this has become a near impossible mission. They say that one team told us that they were able to recover more than 60 bodies since they got here.
But right now, they are not able to do this anymore. This one team says they spotted the bodies of about 300 people. But the conditions are so challenging out there for them. They say that they don't have the right equipment to reach these really hard to reach areas coves where these bodies have ended up shallow waters where their boats can go and they just don't have the equipment and the expertise, the manpower to deal with a situation like this.
And what they're telling us is while they did spot these bodies over the past couple of days, right now, those bodies have disintegrated into remains that they just cannot reach they cannot retrieve because of the health hazard and this is absolutely devastating for the so many families, survivors here in Derna who he was speaking to who told us all they want is to find the bodies of their loved ones or their remains to give them a proper burial.
This one international team we were speaking with earlier said that they have dealt with accidents in the past with migrant boats, capsizing they have dealt with search and recovery operations where they've managed to pull dozens of bodies in the past but never had they had to deal with a situation with something on this scale before where they're looking for hundreds and thousands of bodies. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Derna, Libya.
NEWTON: Joining us now is Stephanie Williams. She is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution's Foreign Policy Program and former Special Adviser to the U.N. Secretary General on Libya. And we welcome you to the program. I mean, listen, your extensive resume when it comes to Libya is too
long to list here. Suffice to say you have a lot of experience. And I want to underscore that you led the UN's mediation efforts that did, you know, somehow managed to get a ceasefire in Libya in late 2020.
Since then, though, there's been precious little unity, just political dysfunction. So can you just outline how much you think that actually contributed to this disaster in Libya?
STEPHANIE WILLIAMS, NON-RESIDENT SENIOR FELLOW, FOREIGN POLICY PROGRAM, BROOKINGS INTITUTE: Well, it certainly did not help. And I think we need to stipulate that, you know, this dysfunction and poor governance in Libya goes back to the also to the days of Mr. Qaddafi regime, his regime was not a paragon of good governance.
But since the revolution since his overthrow, Libya has lurched from conflict, to chaos, to poor governance, there have been two civil wars. And in a place like Derna, there has been conflict as recently as 2019, when the city was under siege. And so that just makes the critical work of infrastructure maintenance all the more difficult.
NEWTON: You also point out, though, and we've heard this from survivors that they were told to shelter in place, because the army told them to do that. Civilian authority seem to want to try and get some kind of evacuation underway. You weren't surprised that Libyans were let down by authorities and you call it, you know, that they the responsibility to protect principle that completely collapsed in the situation.
WILLIAMS: Absolutely. So, there were conflicting messages sent by the local authorities, and that contributed to confusion. And then when the dams broke, it was in the middle of the night, everybody was at home, and they had only minutes to try to save themselves in their in their families and prayers to many of them. The thousands, who were swept out to sea, and then, you know, the others, the survivors whose worlds have collapsed.
So, yes, this responsibility to protect, I argue, is something that now the international community has to take this on as they did in 2011, where there -- the moral imperative drove a military intervention. What we need now is a humanitarian and a stabilization and the recovery intervention. It's been good to see the international response. It's been very heartwarming to see the Libyan National Response. Libyans are coming together. There's been a tremendous Libyan civilian response. This has to be sustained.
We have a climate catastrophe that has been now coincided with a governance catastrophe. And so moving forward with -- Libya -- what happened in Libya is the canary in the coal mine. And I think, you know, international leaders need to recognize this moving forward.
NEWTON: And I hear you I also, as we're looking at the images, it's just breathtaking, what we're seeing and what these people went through, what some of them lived through, and unfortunately, others perished whole family's gone. You point out that they've likely lost more people in Derna in a
single day than in all of the conflicts, as you say, large and small in Libya since 2011. And so now, OK, you're asking for an international response.
I guess my question for you is, this hasn't worked out very well, despite a lot of fits and starts in. How confident are you that even international intervention will help here, despite the noted Libyan unity on the ground right now?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think we have a moral obligation to try, so there needs to be two things. One is obviously there needs to be an investigation. And in order to honor the victims of this tragedy. There needs to be some kind of international and Libyan mechanism of moving forward.
Libya doesn't have the capacity to recover from this crisis on its own. It needs the international community. International leaders are meeting now in New York this week.
This is the opportunity. I believe that they should call for an international conference on Libya and put this on the right track now and help the Libyans recover from this catastrophe steer the country towards a better governance encouraged the fragile unity that you're now seeing among Libyans. That's the way forward.
NEWTON: This is a tough question. And I do not have a lot of time left. But I really need your opinion on this. We have seen many international disasters like this. Money is collected international conferences held, and then the money is plundered, either through mismanagement or corruption, how to guard against that?
WILLIAMS: Well, there are all kinds of international mechanisms in place. There are sanctions that you can use to pursue kleptocrats. But you know, organizations like the World Bank have experience in these sorts of post conflict, post tragedy, natural disaster situations. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. You can get the international community into the harnessed now, and you can do this in a way that's transparent, and that restores some confidence in governance mechanisms in this poor benighted country.
NEWTON: Stephanie Williams, everything you're saying reinforced by the images that we've just been seeing as they continue to struggle with everything that has happened in depth and beyond. Stephanie Williams for us. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
NEWTON: Now meantime, to Morocco where food aid is reaching remote villages in the Atlas Mountains even as uncertainty and loss of course haunt the survivors of the September 8 earthquake. Some 1,500 people lined up Sunday at a military kitchen at a camp for the displaced to receive meals. Camp president say the military is also supplying medicine and medical treatment and facilities to sleep. However, it's not clear how long Morocco will continue operating the camp. The government plans to rebuild some 50,000 homes that were destroyed in the magnitude 6.8 earthquake. Residents fear that could take months or even years.
World leaders are gathering for this week's UN General Assembly in New York or some meetings are set to begin in the hours ahead among them and informal gathering between the EU's High Representative for Foreign Ministers with Ukraine and that's expected in fact to top the agenda. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the annual meeting in person and is set to sit down with U.S. President Joe Biden during his visit.
Both presidents are scheduled to address the Assembly on Tuesday. A Senate aide says Zelenskyy will meet with U.S. senators on Thursday.
Ukrainian forces meantime are making headway in the east. That is, according to President Zelenskyy. He says Ukrainian troops liberated a key village southwest of the city of Bakhmut moved on Sunday. That region has been a primary focus of Ukraine's counter-offensive efforts in the past few months.
This latest victory comes right before Mr. Zelenskyy as we were just saying goes to the United Nations. He's expected to use these gains as evidence that Ukraine is pushing Russian forces back and that it's counter-offensive is in fact on track. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen in for latest now from Kyiv.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The Ukrainian say their forces are consolidating some of the gains that they've been able to make in the east of the country over the past couple of days, especially south of the town of Bakhmut. Of course, we've been speaking about the settlement of Andriivka.
There's been some pretty remarkable video that's now been released by the Ukrainian Armed Forces that shows their troops advancing through Andriivka and it's really is showing the utter destruction that was brought on by months of fighting that was going on there.
In fact, the settlement of Andriivka is pretty much completely destroyed. It wasn't very big to begin with. But you can see on that video, the ruins that those forces are advancing through. The Ukrainians also saying that the Russians now firing a lot of artillery shells at that place seemingly trying to stop the Ukrainians from advancing any further nevertheless, they believe that these are important gains that they're making, especially as they're trying to take back Bakhmut.
But of course, this is also all very important to show that Ukraine has momentum as the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to head to the United States both to go to the U.N. General Assembly, but of course also to meet U.S. President Joe Biden.
Ukrainians once again reiterating that they need more longer range weapons from the U.S. but also immediately they say ammunition, artillery ammunition, HIMARS ammunition, because they say there are areas on the front lines where the Russians are able to fire a lot more than the Ukrainians can because they simply have a lot more ammo.
Nevertheless, the Ukrainians are saying they understand that the counter-offensive is the difficult is going a lot more slowly than they would like and that certainly many others would have thought as well.
At the same time they do say that there is a degree of success as the Ukrainians on pretty much all areas of the frontline are putting pressure on the Russians, while the Russians are on the defensive. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv.
NEWTON: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has wrapped up his rare six- day visit to Russia. Video from Russian state media shows Kim boarding his personal armored train Sunday and waving the officials as a band played on.
Kim made several stops ahead of his departure. He spent much of the trip visiting Russian military sites fueling concerns about a possible weapons deal.
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us now from Hong Kong with more. It was a very long visit kind of took a lot of people by surprise. He's barely left the country at all, nevermind for that long. And yet he did apparently take some souvenirs back to North Korea.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He did indeed, Paula. After almost a week in Russia, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is now returning home by train. He takes with him of course warming military ties between the two neighbors, and also an interesting selection of parting gifts including a bulletproof vest, a set of clothing that's apparently invisible to thermal cameras. And we have imagery of this that just came in drones, including five attack drones. This is according to Russian state media.
Now Russia has gone out of its way to publicize this visit. In fact on Sunday we have video of this Russian state media showed Kim waving goodbye after he walked the red carpet to board that personal green armored train of his.
North Korean state news agency KCNA, meanwhile, has been hailing the visit on a share a quote from them with you KCNA saying this, quote, a fresh hayday of friendship and solidarity and cooperation is being opened up in the history of the development of the relations between the DPRK and Russia unquote.
Now on Saturday, that was when Kim met with the Russian defense minister and with footage of this as well. He met with Sergey Shoigu in Vladivostok and that's where Kim inspected war planes and warships and also discussed military cooperation between North Korea and Russia.
And at the beginning of this visit, we'll bring up these images for you. That was of course when Kim Jong Un met with the leader of Russia at the Vostochny Cosmodrome or spaceport where Vladimir Putin said Kim showed great interest in space and rocketry.
Now, bottom line, we don't know what was discussed behind closed doors but observers say it is very clear what both nations want. Russia wants ammunition especially now as its war with Ukraine drags on. North Korea wants and is desperate for food aid as well as military technology as it continues quite defiantly its missile and weapons program.
Now meanwhile, the United States and its allies in the region have been viewing events that are disturbed by this deepening alliance. Earlier this month, U.S. warned that arms talks between Russia North Korea or actively advancing. Now no deals between these two nations arms deals. No arms deals have been publicly announced.
South Korea and the U.S. did say that military cooperation between North Korea and Russia would violate U.N. sanctions and will be punished. We know that the South Korean president is due to be in New York on Monday for the UN General Assembly. Back to you, Paula.
NWETON: Yes. And Kristie, now that we've had Kim's departure, it now seems that the foreign minister from China's Foreign Minister will pay another visit to Russia. What's that about?
LU STOUT: Paula, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Russia. This week he plans to meet with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today to discuss a wide range of issues including, quote, a settlement in Ukraine as well as quote, stability and security in the Asia Pacific region. This is according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
This follows Wang Yi's weekend meeting in Malta with the U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, those talks are described as constructive and could pave the way for a long anticipated meeting between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden later this year. Paula.
NEWTON: Yes, and many wondering, given those substantive talks if Ukraine was discussed and in what context really interesting developments there. Kristie Lu Stout for us in Hong Kong. Thanks so much.
Still to come for us, some new commitments to take on the migrant crisis in European countries like Italy. Details on the latest move by the European Union chief and Italian Prime Minister to help ease the situation.
And later, hear from several women I met with in Haiti. They say they were exploited or abused by U.N. personnel are and are now seeking justice. Those stories ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [01:21:40]
NEWTON: EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni say they are working to try and resolve the migrant crisis that is facing the Italian island of Lampedusa. Von der Leyen visited a migrant reception center on the island with the Prime Minister Sunday.
During her trip, she outlined a 10-point action plan to deal with a surge in migration saying Europe and Italy are both committing more resources. Now this past week, Lampedusa saw a massive uptick in migrant arrivals equivalent to the entire island's population of about 7,000 people, now one resident and town council member says she hopes migrants who've experienced a rough time during the journey get the help they need especially children who are arriving alone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELISA FRAGAPANE, LAMPDEDUSA RESIDENT AND TOWN COUNCIL (through translator): They won't be so gently so free that we saw people suffering children without parents. Maybe this is the part that hurts me the most because you can arrive naked without clothes. And this we can recover. But what a four to five-year-old child arrives alone without parents, this is when the heart really breaks into two.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: CNN's Barbie Nadeau is live for us in Rome with more on this crisis. And Barbie, you know, it's interesting to hear that resident from Lampedusa, I mean, the residents of Lampedusa have done all they can really they really open their hearts to so many people over the years that have come. And yet everyone understands this is unsustainable. We were talking just now about a 10-point plan. I mean, what's outlined there has anything changed?
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN REPORTER: Yes, you know, this 10-point plan is very important visit by the head of the European Commission really were, you know, very much for optics, because in the plan, they're really dealing with these transit countries, trying to stop the problem of the smuggling systems that exist in transit countries, not trying to stop the problem of those countries of origin where so many people are coming from. Let's listen to what Ursula von der Leyen said while she was there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: We have an obligation as part of the international community. We have fulfilled it in the past, and we will do so today and in the future. But we will decide who comes to the European Union and under what circumstances and not the smugglers and traffickers. The most effective measure to counter the smugglers lies are legal pathways and humanitarian corridors.
(END VIDEO CLIP) NADEAU: So when you're talking about legal pathways and humanitarian corridors, there hasn't really been much in that 10-point plan, or really any other plan that deals with exactly what that would look like that would mean going into these countries, many of them troubles up because the, you know, they're causing all these people to want to leave that don't have a solid infrastructure and then somehow putting in place a way for people to apply for asylum and what happens to those people who don't qualify for asylum.
Many people, you know, there's a big difference between migrants and refugees. Many people who come are in that migrant category. They're fleeing poverty, and they're not from countries that produce migrants under the UNHCR and other means that they would be accepted.
So it's very, very complicated, Paula. And, you know, when you're looking at stopping the smuggling networks, you're talking about going into sovereign nations and stuff and criminal organizations, and Europe just doesn't really have the jurisdiction to do that. Paula.
NEWTON: Yeah, and those are all such good points especially as leaders meet at the United Nations this week in New York, I mean, migration is going to be a huge topic for all. Barbie Nadeau for us in Rome. Thanks so much.
The U.S. order Patrol officers are again separating some migrant children from their parents as the number of migrants overcrowded detention facilities. That's the conclusion of a new report which says the overcrowding is forcing officers to put children in separate holding areas from adults.
The report's author says some children were separated from their parents for days and did not know how to request a visit with them. A customs and border protection official separating families is a last resort but it happens for safety reasons. It's important to note those separations are different than the ones that happened during the Trump administration when a zero tolerance policy kept families apart. And in some instances, parents were deported without their children.
Now American dreamers are facing a new legal setback, a federal judge in Texas has ruled against the Biden administration's efforts to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA.
Now it shields undocumented immigrants from deportation who were brought to the U.S. as children. The order doesn't impact those currently protected. The CNN's Camila Bernal explains it's creating new uncertainty for hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The success of this Mexican candy family business is in part thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA.
IGNACIO VIRAMONTES, BUSINESS OWNER AND DACA RECIPIENT: When we got DACA like it was like it was a boost it was like a catalyst. And then things just happen faster. Things were easier.
BERNAL: Licenses, loans, leases, all possible after Ignacio Viramontes begins benefiting from this Obama era program.
Now, Ignacio and his two siblings benefit from DACA. They make part of the more than 580,000 so called Dreamers in the US. Undocumented immigrants, often arriving to the U.S. at a young age, eligible for work authorization and shielded from deportation. But a federal judge in Texas this week ruled that a regulation intended to preserve DACA is unlawful.
JEAN REISZ, CO-DIRECTOR, USC IMMIGRATION CLINIC: The time is running out. And I think that even if the Biden administration appeals, which I believe they will, and I think it'll go all the way up to the Supreme Court. Looking at our Supreme Court and looking at the law, I think it's likely the Supreme Court would find it unlawful, and then it's over.
BERNAL: Jean Reisz, professor and co-director of the Immigration Clinic at USC's law school says the ruling could force a more permanent solution.
REISZ: People are reminded of the uncertainty how many how much time do they have left years maybe. And I think it really puts pressure on reform.
BERNAL: At the center of the issue is the scope of the President's authority, which is why for years congressional leaders have tried to come to an agreement over immigration reform and failed.
ALEX GALVEZ, IMMIGARATION ATTORNEY: I think the agreement is there. But I think because certain factions of Congress have taken such a position against DACA that it's very hard to come back to the middle and say face.
BERNAL: Immigration Attorney Alex Galvez says that at the end of the day, it's the beneficiaries of the program that suffer.
GALVEZ: The Dreamers are in limbo once again. It's a political ping pong. Yes DACA, No DACA, Yes DACA, No DACA.
BERNAL: The Texas ruling does not impact current beneficiaries. But it does prohibit new applications. Yet the reality is that Ignacio does feel.
VIRAMONTES: Even though I'm living like comfortably right now. And always in the back of my head it's like, what if one day somebody decides to come in and DACA.
NEWTON: And our thanks to Camila Bernal for that report. Still to come for us. Dozens of women say the U.N. isn't properly supporting them after they were exploited or abused by U.N. personnel and gave birth to their children. Those details from Haiti ahead.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: In Haiti, a heartbreaking story of abuse of power where U.N. peacekeepers have left behind communities traumatized in the wake of their reported misconduct.
Now, I met with several families who say they were exploited or abused by U.N. personnel while peacekeepers were stationed in the country between 2004 and 2017. Now, some fathered children and left the mothers behind, who are now struggling with poverty and stigma and that is long after they have left. Years later, some of the women say they are still fighting for financial support, both from the fathers and the U.N.
Here is CNN's "As Equals" report from Western Haiti.
NEWTON: The U.N. promises weigh heavily in Haiti at its long-abandoned compound at the coastal outpost of Port Salut, there is barely a trace of the peacekeepers that served here. And yet much has been left behind.
This woman, who asked to be referred to as Roselen (ph), due to the stigma of her situation, says she has been cast aside.
ROSELEN: How can you abandon a child like this. She's without a father. I am raising her alone.
NEWTON: Roselen has a teenage daughter, who was fathered by a Uruguayan peacekeeper. The U.N. says she is one of at least 35 women who were in exploitative or abusive relationships with U.N. personnel.
Peace is something this mother says she has never known. She has filed a paternity claim, but argues the U.N. should be held accountable as well. She says she has been left to raise a daughter on paltry sums authorized by the U.N.
ROSEMINA: They know the kids. They did DNA tests and everything. They know the situation of the kids.
NEWTON: Rose Mina Joseph (ph) says she was a child when she was lured into a relationship with another Uruguayan peacekeeper and became pregnant. He was sent home and served a sentence for abuse, that is according to a U.N. document.
Rose Mina wanted us to see her home. A place where, she says, dreams once stood, a plot for a house. Still, a barren foundation. She has no money to build here. She lives on this patch of land in nothing more than a tent, clinging to proof and staking her claim that the U.N. is also responsible for the harm done to her and her 12-year-old son.
Do you think he understood that you were a child?
ROSE MINA JOSEPH: Yes. He knew I was a minor. It started when I was 16. I became pregnant in January. I was 17.
NEWTON: Rose Mina says while her abuser was punished, that does not absolve the U.N. of its responsibility.
JOSEPH: It would be much better if they had worked directly with us. They know they can help they're just not doing it.
NEWTON: We sat down with a half dozen families of whom have received money, mostly for schooling. But all have the same complaint. That they were made to feel like beggars, not victims of exploitation made to wait years for little money that does not meet the needs of their children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know what hurts me the most? Every time you call them, the way they treat us like we're nobody.
NEWTON: (INAUDIBLE) Jean Baptiste says she and her son have been victimized all over again. First fighting for paternity tests, then financial support, submitting receipts for expenses to the U.N., waiting months or years for money that arrives sporadically or not at all.
What money is granted the U.N. decides how she should spend it.
JEAN-BAPTISTE: If you get the money to pay for school, and the child dies of hunger when he's back from school, what would you do?
NEWTON: Buy the U.N.'s own admission allegations of exploitation and abuse have been a predictable problem in U.N. missions around the world. In 2017, the U.N. Secretary General launched what he called a new approach, pledging zero tolerance for future abusers.
And he appointed Jane Connors as the U.N.'s first victims' rights advocate. Her expertise is matched by a fierce will to help. But she acknowledges the limitations of the U.N.'s system.
JANE CONNORS, U.N. VICTIMS' RIGHTS ADVOCATE: The U.N. doesn't provide compensation. And the U.N. is in a position to, essentially, create cooperation with the member state in order to reach the desired objective.
I would love to see more progress. I think you can't argue that there has been no progress.
NEWTON: Connors says the U.N. has helped with school fees, some medical expenses, and assisted with some fraternity claims at the behest of an initiative from the secretary general.
CONNORS: I think we have made some progress. With regard to the children going to school, with regard to some of the paternity claims that have been resolved. Some are ongoing. But we have much more to do.
NEWTON: It has been six years since the United Nations and the secretary general himself pledged to make a rights and dignity of victims a priority. That was 2017. How far do you think you have gotten?
CONNORS: The commitment is there. We are improving but it is -- it remains his imperative and, I think as I say, more needs to be done.
NEWTON: What needs to be done, these women say, is simple. No strings attached financial support. They say that will restore their dignity and allow their children a measure of accountability that the U.N. has so far failed to provide.
NEWTON: Jacqueline Charles is the Caribbean correspondent at the Miami Herald. She joins me now. And it's really good to have you on the program given all of your experience in the region.
You know, the security and economic picture in Haiti remains dire. We had the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021. How much worse have conditions gotten since that happened? And especially now that, you know, games, essentially run huge portions of not just the capital, but other parts of the country as well?
JACQUELINE CHARLES, CARIBBEAN CORRESPONDENT, MIAMI HERALD: I think what we have to remember is that the situation was already deteriorating prior to President Jovenel Moise's death and his assassination, which remains unsolved, accelerated this crisis that we are seeing in terms of gangs, with the kidnapping and with violence.
We had a little bit of a law right before the summer. And now, what we have seen is an escalation of that where, you know, just in the last couple of weeks, thousands of people, I mean I've seen numbers over 25,000 have been forced out of their homes and one particular neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, serves as a geographical, you know, strategic location because it will allow gangs to be able to cross through and take their kidnapping victims.
And if they were to take complete control of Castle Bay with the neighborhood, then they basically get within a mile of the presidential palace, a mile and a half of the national penitentiary. And those are, you know, two things that you do not want the gangs to take control of.
NEWTON: And I will say even in my time in western Haiti, I noticed that the gangs control -- they basically have a lock on so many of the roads and the transportation routes that even if you are not in dire need in that area where you are in Haiti, you can't even get basics to even get to the roads there.
I want to talk about how, you know, this might -- this situation might improve. We've talked for months about a multinational force possibly stepping in. Kenya is apparently willing to go in and essentially support the Haitian police force there.
Do you believe that could still come together? And if it does, does it really have the capacity to transform the security situation?
CHARLES: Well, you have a police force there. According to the United Nations mission in Haiti, on any given day, you just have 3,300 police officers throughout this entire country that are on public safety duty.
I recently reported that at least 100 police officers have left the force in just the six months of this year. So any additional bodies is going to help.
What you're looking at in terms of the offer from Kenya is a non- United Nations security force. But they want the support of the United Nations in order to go in.
The U.S. has told us that this will not solely be Kenyans but this will be other countries. There are a number of countries that have raised their hands that we understand. But they are waiting for this resolution.
As of this week, those negotiations have basically been put on pause. We understand that Russia and China, in particular, have raised some concerns. One asking, why do you need a U.N. resolution? Why can't Kenya go in on its own zone?
But also, they we want to hear from the Haitian and the Kenyan governments themselves, in terms of, you know, what this assistance looks like and what exactly they are asking for.
NEWTON: You would not blame the people of Haiti. I certainly heard from many of them who are nervous about any multinational force coming in. Not just because of the exploitation and abuse that we saw from my report. But there was the issue of bringing cholera to Haiti. Nearly 10,000 killed. How do you think any kind of multinational force would be received now in Haiti?
CHARLES: I have to tell you that we are getting at the Miami Herald a very different read on this. And there has been at least two surveys where there is overwhelming support for outside assistance.
Haitians recognize that the Haitian national police cannot address security system by themselves. And they want help. I mean they're basically in a situation where today you cannot go from point A to point B without the fear of being kidnapped or being killed. You cannot send your kids to school even if they are in schools, the gangs have taken over.
You know, Individual schools and classrooms -- I mean Haitians basically want, you know, a moment to breathe. They want a moment to be able to say that, I can move. I can do just basic things that we need, you know, as Americans and others take for granted.
And so when you talk, when I talk to people, I'm not talking about politicians who have the mic but the average Haitian. You know they're basically saying, we need help. At this point, they want that help from anywhere they can get it. NEWTON: Yes. Once again, it's a measure of the desperation even though
they are circumspect about, you know, what kind of help and in what form and what good they can do. I take your point though.
I have to ask you about the U.S. position on this. It's has been curious. You know, they've been asking for weeks for Americans to immediately leave Haiti because of the security situation. And yet at the same time, the U.S. continues to deport Haitians in the thousands.
Why is the United States so politically and diplomatically impotent here?
CHARLES: I don't know why the U.S. is impotent. What I can tell you is that we asked the head of DHS, the Department of Homeland Security, last week, why is it that they continue to deport Haitians when the State Department basically asked Americans to leave that country as soon as possible? And what Mayorkas -- Alejandro Mayorkas told the Miami Herald in the flat sheet is that basically Americans were targeted.
We do know that there was an increase in gang violence around the U.S. embassy. People basically were given sort of a shelter in place order. They were told that they should not move between the compounds, between the U.S. housing compounds and the U.S. Embassy itself.
We also know at the end of July, the United States basically ordered the evacuation of non-emergency personnel. But this issue, in terms of deportation, this is something that remains of concern to Haitians immigration advocates. And then when you ask the U.S. government, the response of the Biden administration is basically that given this new humanitarian parole program that they have approved over 16,000 Haitians since January and they have also had more than 53,000 who come into the United States.
But this remains a concern that on the one hand, you're telling Americans to leave. But on the other, you are basically returning Haitians who have been deported from the United States.
NEWTON: Yes, to a situation where we all have seen is dire.
Jacqueline Charles, we will leave it there for now. Thank you so much, we appreciate it.
CHARLES: Thank you for having me.
NEWTON: Hijacked buildings are a growing concern in South Africa after a fire last month in Johannesburg killed more than 70 people. These are buildings abandoned by landlords and taken over by gangs or other groups who lease space to lower-income tenants.
CNN's David McKenzie got a glimpse of what it's like to be living one of these spaces.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Syabonga Mahlangu (ph) takes us inside a notorious target. In a city infamous for crime, hijackers often steal cars, they also steal entire buildings. When that happens, the victims call Mahlangu first.
SYABONGA MAHLANGU, INNER CITY FEDERATION: You can see the situation of the property.
MCKENZIE: But this is the only home they have.
What is a hijacked building?
MAHLANGU: A hijacked building is where someone will come in and came to be the owner of the property and start collecting rentals from the residents of the particular building.
MCKENZIE: Like a gangster?
MAHLANGU: Yes. They're hijacking -- hijacked properties.
MCKENZIE: And Mahlangu says hijackers with fake papers have targeted the building four times. In one case, even having these women arrested and evicted until his organization beat the hijackers in court.
Are people afraid of the hijackers?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are afraid.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are afraid of hijackers. Because what they do --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They put their security during the night. Not just during the day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are threatening. It's not easy. They are threatening us, beating us.
MCKENZIE: Stealing buildings in Johannesburg aren't new. As the city crumbled, building owners abandon their properties. Gangs have taken over apartments or hijacked entire buildings like this one.
In the world's most unequal country, the desperate will live wherever and however they can.
If you look how tightly packed this is, and each one of these little partitions houses a family. It's like an informal settlement squashed inside a building.
How many people would live in a building like this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Close to 500 people in this building?
MCKENZIE: 500 people. Like Nqobile Zulu that share just one tap.
She lives in this tiny space. But she said she can't afford anywhere else. NQOBILE ZULU: I'm scared.
MCKENZIE: Why are you scared?
ZULU: Because I am staying with my children and if here is making fire, I don't know where we are going to -- because I don't have money to pay rent.
MCKENZIE: It is a building just like this one that was consumed by an inferno late last month. 77 people died, many of them burned beyond recognition.
It's provoked a reckoning in this country. A reminder of democracy's broken promises.
ZULU: When they find that the building is weak, then that one is gold. However (ph), they find that every time they come here, we are so strong.
MCKENZIE: The women of this building fought back. They say their secret weapon is Elsie Mafu (ph).
"I told the hijackers that this building belongs to us," she says. But they still face a constant threat, still feel abandoned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will all die without seeing any change. We will all die. I can assure you that and promise that.
MCKENZIE: David McKenzie, CNN -- Johannesburg.
NEWTON: Food manufacturers who shrink their sizes without lowering prices are now facing public shaming. We'll show you how a French supermarket chain is fighting back against shrinkflation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need clean air.
CROWD: Not another billionaire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need clean air.
CROWD: Not another billionaire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Chanting as you heard from there, we need clean air, not another billionaire. Thousands of climate activists made their presence felt and their voices heard ahead of this week's U.N. General Assembly in New York. They hit the streets of Manhattan Sunday as part of a week-long international effort encouraging world leaders to end the use of fossil fuels. They even had support from Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): What we are here to do today is tell our leaders from President Biden to the U.N. General Assembly, to all of our elected officials that we demand a change. It will happen now. It begins today. It is occurring today, and that is because of you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Climate activists have demonstrations planned in more than 50 countries this week. Organizers expect a million people to participate around the world.
Now the climate crisis is also front and center in Germany. Activists took their message at one of Berlin's famous landmarks -- spraying the Vandenberg gate with orange paint on Sunday. More than a dozen protesters were arrested. The group Last General took responsibility, saying it's time for a turnaround away from fossil fuels.
So, you make food and want to raise the price, but you're afraid you'll alienate shoppers. So, what do you do? You shrink the size, right. Consumers say they are seeing it more and more and now a French supermarket chain has started shaming some of those shrinkers.
CNN's Anna Stewart explains.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You may have wondered if some of your groceries are getting smaller. And you're probably not imagining it. It is a phenomenon known as shrinkflation where food companies reduce the size of their products while keeping prices the same or even raising them.
It is perhaps not surprising, given current inflation levels, major food brands are experiencing higher prices for raw materials and, of course, they want to protect their profit margins.
Well, in France, shrinkflation will be made abundantly clear if you do your shop at a Carrefour Supermarket. The company says it has added signs to 26 products, including Lipton Iced Tea, Lays Chips, and Lindt Chocolate.
According to the supermarket director of client communications, Stefen Bompais who spoke to CNN affiliate GSM TV (ph), a 300-gram bag of Lays Chips is now 250 grams and its price has increased 25 percent.
The French government has made clear it wants to curb rising food prices and the number of products with price caps in French supermarkets recently doubled to 5,000. The French finance minister has even shamed big multinationals,
including Nestle, Unilever, and PepsiCo, for not doing enough to help French consumers.
Anna Stewart, CNN -- London.
NEWTON: Still ahead for us, we will show you in museum where failure is an option and the lessons you can learn from it.
NEWTON: Ok, have you ever heard of the Hulu chair or fish-flavored water? No? There might be a good reason for that. Both products are in the Museum of Failure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Not all ideas are winners. Those duds, flops, losers and never made it to the marketing world are the stars of the new exhibit in Washington, D.C., called the Museum of Failure.
And despite the soul-crushing nature of its theme, organizers say it's a fun experience that shows how failure can lead to success.
JOHANNA GUTTMANN, MUSEUM OF FAILURE, EXHIBITION ORGANIZER: Failures are actually a much better teacher than success. We learn a lot from failure. I have seen that as part of the journey and part of our path to innovation and success.
NEWTON: Visitors are invited to take a spin on the hula chair designed to work out your abs while sitting at a desk. That is, if you stay still long enough to get any work done.
There is also fish-flavored water for cats but the fussy felines turned their noses up at it.
Or, spray on condoms in peppermint and banana varieties but those didn't catch on like the more than 150 other products displayed in the exhibit, which has successfully toured the world for the past six years.
Here, visitors can appreciate the endless combinations of Oreo cookies, some of which just didn't dunk well with consumers.
Then there is the former board game about a former president that didn't gain much of the following. And then there's new addition, the Starbucks oleato drink (ph) -- an olive-oil infused coffee that is getting mixed reviews and still on the market, but is definitely a no for some customers who complained it took them straight to the bathroom.
The event organizers says deciding what to include in the show is not exactly an exact science.
GUTTMANN: The products that we are saying that they're failures are subjective, debatable. But it is about that conversation, so we are sort of having fun with it. We want to take away the stigma from it, so I think the fun factor makes it much more attractive to people.
NEWTON: And that does it for us. I'm Paula Newton.
Our coverage continues with my friend and colleague Laila Harrak.