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Gaza's Al-Quds Hospital Almost Out of Fuel; Saudi Arabia Hosts Emergency Joint Arab-Islamic Summit; U.S. and Chinese Presidents to Meet in California Next Week; LockBit Claims Ransomware Hack on China's Biggest Lender; Hollywood Strike Ends. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired November 11, 2023 - 03:00   ET




LAILA HARRAK, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to all of our viewers, watching from around the world, I'm Laila Harrak.

Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, Israel continues to pound Gaza as Arabic and Islamic leaders prepare to meet in Saudi Arabia.

U.S. President Joe Biden will see his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in California next week. The White House says they will talk about ways the two countries can work together.

Ukraine says two Russian landing craft have sunk, after a sea drone attack in occupied Crimea.


HARRAK: We begin in the Middle East and a warning from the Al-Quds Hospital in northern Gaza saying it is very close to running out of fuel to power its generators. In a statement earlier, the Palestine Red Crescent said 500 patients are at risk of losing vital medical care. People in the ICU and infants in incubators will likely die.

It is urgently appealing for immediate aid, especially fuel to power the generators.


HARRAK (voice-over): This was the view of northern Gaza overnight, as the IDF continues to pound the enclave. Israel announced on Friday that the death toll from the October 7 terrorist attacks that precipitated this war have been revised downward from 1,400 to 1,200 victims. No explanation for the revision was offered.


HARRAK: The U.N. estimates about 30,000 people fled Northern Gaza on Friday during a so called four-hour safe passage, allowing movement to the south of the Strip. Authorities in the Hamas-run enclave say 11,000 people have been killed since the war began, including 4,000 children.

Clare Sebastian joins us now from London with the latest.

Clare, apocalyptic scenes still streaming out of Gaza.

What is your understanding of what is happening right now?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are about two weeks into what Israel calls the second stage of this conflict, the expanded ground offensive. Fighting has been very intense in several areas, especially concentrated in Gaza City with that ongoing aerial bombardment continuing.

I think it is clear that the IDF's messaging is laser focused on targeting Hamas operatives and infrastructure. They have just said this morning that they have taken control of 11 Hamas military posts. And this slight expansion of their efforts, under pressure from the U.S., to help civilians move out of the most dangerous areas.

The U.S. has committed to these four-hour daily pauses in these safe corridors for civilians to move out of the areas in the north. But of course, there is also unfolding this calamity of Gaza's hospitals, which were already under immense strain, to put it mildly.

The situation around Al-Shifa, the largest in Gaza, worsening; Doctors without Borders saying overnight they were unable to contact their staff in that hospital amid intensifying attacks, saying that the security within the hospital is catastrophic.

Also the Al-Quds Hospital, the Palestinian Red Crescent saying that overnight they were within hours of running out of fuel, meaning ICU patients, babies in incubators, would die. Fuel remains a major problem within the Gaza Strip. And, of course, more calls for intensifying for more aid to come in, raising the diplomatic pressure on Israel.

HARRAK: Clare, Saudi is hosting as we speak a joint Arab-Islamic Gaza summit but a month well into this war.

What took them that long?

SEBASTIAN: It has taken some significant diplomacy to get to this point. We know that Saudi Arabia has been in consultations with both groups, the Arab League and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation. They have decided to combine what would have been two separate extraordinary meetings into one.

That is significant and will make it a very large grouping.


SEBASTIAN: The Organization for Islamic Cooperation is said to be the largest intergovernmental organization, second largest in the world, behind the United Nations. The Arab League has been calling for a full cease-fire, rejecting the idea of these humanitarian pauses. I think we can expect that message to be unified. As for what will

come out of it, it will be interesting to see Iran's president, who is expected to be at this summit, the first time that he will have met with Saudi leadership since the rapprochement earlier this year under the diplomacy of China.

He has put a lot of store in this meeting, saying if the meeting is not effective, I seriously consider either the possibility of the spread of this conflict because nations are disappointed with the ineffectiveness of Muslim government.

I think the U.S. also watching very closely this meeting, because certainly there were diplomatic cables that show the anger in the Arab world toward the U.S. for its support of Israel has been growing.

HARRAK: Clare Sebastian reporting in London, thank you.


HARRAK: Trita Parsi is executive vice president at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He is the author of "Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy," and he joins us from Washington, D.C.

Good to have you with. Us a lot of summits taking place right now.

And for people trying to decode what this particular moment means, how significant is it that President Raisi is attending in-person in Riyadh?

What will you be paying most attention to?

TRITA PARSI, QUINCY INSTITUTE FOR RESPONSIBLE STATECRAFT: It is quite significant. It has been quite some time since the Iranian president visited Saudi Arabia. The two countries have been deeply at odds with each other over the last couple of years.

There's been a bit of a rapprochement just in the last year or so, partly thanks to the diplomacy of China. It will be interesting to see whether the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and Raisi will be meeting in front of the camera, having a handshake, et cetera.

Those images can become quite symbolic for what this moment means, in terms of how Saudi and Iran are moving closer to each other.

HARRAK: Explain to our viewers, in broad strokes, the Iran-Saudi relationship, in terms of regional leadership and the current war; Iran's ties with Saudi, the tentative process of normalization that was underway.

Is the relationship compromised by what is happening in the region right now?

PARSI: It is certainly complicating that relationship. On the one hand, these are two countries that both claim leadership in the broader Muslim world. The Iranians have been trying to claim that leadership by opposing the United States, taking a much harsher position vis-a-vis Israel.

Saudi Arabia has claimed that leadership partly because it is the home of Islam, its alliance with the United States. And these things are coming to the surface right now. I think from MBS' perspective, it is a bit dangerous for him to have too passive of a voice on Palestinian issues.

He is afraid that he is going to be ceding leadership of that issue to Iran or to Turkiye. Erdogan is another leader in the region that also has claimed leadership.

HARRAK: Let's talk about the United States and its strategy of deterrence, which seems, from the get-go, to have been focused on Iran and Hezbollah.

Is it working, the containment strategy?

Has the risk of regional escalation gone away?

PARSI: No, the risk of escalation has not at all gone away. At the same time we have not seen the degree of escalation that could lead to a broader war. Whether that is because of the deterrence the U.S. is putting in place by moving more troops there or because, at the end of the day, neither Hezbollah nor Iran want a major war. It is not clear at this point.

HARRAK: This joint Arab-Islamic extraordinary Gaza summit and the Arab League coming together, how consequential are these types of meetings in terms of addressing the catastrophe unfolding in Gaza at the moment?

PARSI: It very much depends on whether they manage to come to agreement on some key points. The Arab summit did not. There were several key points, in which numerous countries could not join that consensus that was trying to be formed.

So very much depends on what comes out of it. But what we are seeing, at a minimum, all of them are rejecting the American position, which is to stand in the way of a cease-fire and instead push for humanitarian pauses, which we have not yet seen what they would actually do.


PARSI: And that the region is, by and large, opposing them, because they do not want to see a management and pausing of the killings; they want to see an end of the killings.

HARRAK: Trita Parsi, thank you so much.

PARSI: Thank you for having me.


HARRAK: The Israeli military is denying that it was behind a strike that hit Gaza's largest hospital on Friday. I need to warn you that the images are gruesome.


HARRAK (voice-over): The IDF claims that the explosion at Al-Shifa Hospital was caused by a misfired projectile launched from inside Gaza. Earlier the chief surgeon at the hospital spoke with CNN about the dangerous and chaotic situation.


DR. TOM POTOKAR, CHIEF SURGEON, INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS: There's been lots of internally displaced people in and around the hospital. On top of the huge burden of actual patients in the hospital, on top of that, every day more arrive.

These are not -- I mean, they are coming from all over. And we are getting freshly injured, not just from the north, because there is bombardment in the south as well.


HARRAK: CNN has obtained shocking video from inside the hospital and others in Gaza and the desperate plight of civilians who are sheltered in and around them. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has a report. I caution you again, it's very graphic and disturbing.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Night 34 of this war brought hell to Gaza's hospitals. Death so close for these medics outside Al-Adha(ph) hospital, they recited their final prayers. The hospital says several were injured in these strikes, and two ambulances were completely damaged.

It was one of several hospital struck in what was a night of horror for those sheltering in medical facilities in northern Gaza.

And on Friday, more heartache came with these devastating scenes at Shifa Hospital complex. The haunting screams of those who survived this blast, dazed, confused, searching for loved ones amongst the dead and injured. Images that infuriated humanitarians like Norwegian doctor, Mads Gilbert, who volunteered at Al-Shifa in the past.


DR. MADS GILBERT, PHYSICIAN AND FORMER VOLUNTEER, AL-SHIFA HOSPITAL: : President Biden, President Biden, President Biden; Mr. Blinken, Mr. Blinken, can you hear me?

Prime ministers and presidents of the European countries, can you hear me?

Can you hear the screams from Shifa hospital? From Al-Awda Hospital?

Can you hear the screams from innocent people, refugees sheltering, trying to find a safe place, being bombed by the Israeli attack forces, hospitals that are the temples of humanity and protection?


KARADSHEH: But this is a war with no red lines and hospitals are no sanctuary for the tens of thousands crammed into these hospitals, desperate to be protected from a war like no other Gaza has ever seen. For weeks, the Israeli military has been calling on civilians to move south, to get out of harm's way, they say.

But so many have been reluctant to heed these calls. Airstrikes and deaths have followed Gazans to the south. Nowhere is safe in this besieged territory. But as Israeli military opened up a humanitarian corridor amid intense fighting in the north, tens of thousands had no choice but to run, and seems it evoked dark memories for Palestinians of an exodus from decades past, one from which there has been no return.

But not everyone can leave, the fighting has dropped some of the most vulnerable at two pediatric hospitals where hundreds are sheltering, and doctors are calling on the ICRC to evacuate them. Israeli troops are right outside the Al Nasr and Rantisi Hospitals.

"The hospital is surrounded by Israeli tanks from all directions", this young woman says. "We were asked to evacuate now." She and others with this cry for international protection and a safe passage out.

Back inside Al- Shifa, there's no stopping, no pauses for those on a mission to save lives. A father anxiously looks to doctors for good news, only to be told his little boy is gone.

Never have Gazans felt so abandoned, alone in this land of death and despair -- Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.


HARRAK: Leaders of the U.S. and China are set to meet face to face next week for only the second time in three years.


HARRAK: What the White House hopes to see happen, when President Biden and Xi Jinping sit down together. That is next.

And the latest on two Russian ships that Ukraine says it hit with sea drones. That is still ahead.




HARRAK: U.S. President Joe Biden will meet next week with Chinese president Xi Jinping. White House officials are hopeful that the two men can slow a downward spiral in relations between the U.S. and China. David Culver has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's worth noting nothing fundamentally has changed between the U.S. and China. This is still a very fraught relationship. Still there are a couple of places where we could see agreements from this meeting.

One being climate, the other being enhanced communication efforts between the two country's militaries, which help defuse tensions and prevent conflict. This would president Xi Jinping's first visit to the U.S. since 2017.

And since that time U.S.-China relations have been in a freefall. It's compounded by the pandemic, China's cozy relationship with Russia amid its war in Ukraine as well as tensions in the South China Sea, mounting pressure over Taiwan, not to mention concerns over U.S. national security.

The suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down earlier this year, that only made things worse. So this is really a test to see if these two leaders can stop the downward spiral. China needs this, too.

Its economy is suffering. They've got a housing market that's in crisis, youth unemployment at record highs, so much so they've stopped releasing official figures, and for the first time in 25 years a deficit in foreign direct investment.

International companies now uneasy about putting money into China. So these are major concerns for an authoritarian leader, whose Communist Party's unofficial agreement with its people's is financial opportunity in exchange for social stability.

The fact that Xi Jinping is traveling to U.S. soil, that's also really significant. This has taken months to pull off. While the summit is slated to happen on the sidelines of APEC in San Francisco next week, there have been multiple subnational visits and meetings to make this happen.

Biden's cabinet secretaries from State, Treasury and Commerce have all traveled to Beijing in recent months. China's foreign minister Wang Yi visiting D.C. last month. And even California governor Gavin Newsom in Beijing a few weeks ago and met with president Xi.

So there is no way that this is going to settle all the issues between the U.S. and China but this is happening at a time when the world is in desperate need of stability, particularly between the two global superpowers -- David Culver, CNN, Los Angeles.


HARRAK: A powerful cybercriminal group called LockBit is confirming it hacked into the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's biggest lender by assets.

[03:20:00] HARRAK: The attack hit a U.S. based unit of the bank earlier this week, reportedly impacting liquidity in U.S. Treasuries that may have led to a brief market selloff on Thursday.

In the past three years, LockBit has become the top ransomware threat in the world. On Friday, a group leaked a cachet (sic) of internal data from the aerospace giant Boeing. LockBit claims to be located in the Netherlands and says it is completely apolitical and only interested in money.

Now to the latest on the war in Ukraine, president Volodymyr Zelenskyy says continued support from NATO and the U.S. is crucial. Take a listen.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: I think that the next year, with the challenges -- because this is the year of your elections -- and now again we see the (INAUDIBLE) in the Middle East.

So I think your help is very important for the next year. And that is crucial. And I think, even if we manage all the thing that I said, the gap will be minimized in our budget.


HARRAK: Ukraine claims two Russian landing craft have sunk after a sea drone attack in occupied Crimea. This video is from the Ukrainian ministry of defense. Officials say it shows the overnight strikes on two Russian assault vessels. CNN cannot independently verify the video date or location.

Russia has not officially commented on this but it did say it shot down two Ukrainian drones over Moscow and Smolensk on Saturday.

They say the devil is in the details. Now after months on the picket lines, Hollywood actors are learning the details of the deal their union reached with the major studios. We will have some of those details after the break.




HARRAK: Officials have declared a state of emergency in a part of Iceland over fears of a possible volcanic eruption. Police are telling residents to leave a southwestern town. Authorities say it is because nearly 800 earthquakes were recorded in the area on Friday alone. And they are getting more intense.

Iceland's civil protection agency says a magma tunnel is taking shape underground. Still there are no signs it is near the surface, and it is unclear whether and where lava could break through. The Hollywood actors' union says its members will start voting on

Tuesday on the tentative agreement that ended the four-month strike against the major film and television studios. On Friday, the SAG- AFTRA union revealed details of the deal. Camila Bernal has more now from Los Angeles.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The SAG-AFTRA national board approved this tentative contract with an 86 percent vote. Members of the board and the president saying they did not get everything they wanted.

But they do say that this is historic, and they are extremely happy about what they were able to gain from these negotiations. There were two points that they say were negotiated until the very last moment, one of them being artificial intelligence.


BERNAL: What they say they were able to accomplish here was to have consent when it comes to artificial intelligence so that actors, actresses, performers can make an informed decision in terms of whether they allow creators of artificial intelligence to use their image, voice and performance.

What they say here is not only do you have consent, you also have the possibility of getting paid. So compensation is their (INAUDIBLE) creation when it comes to artificial intelligence.

The other issue that they said was another sticking point that they negotiated until the very end of this deal was what they are calling a fund concept. This is success-based bonuses, when it comes to streaming.

The president of the union, Fran Drescher, described it as a new pocket of money. What happens here is this bonus will go to a fund administered by the union. A percentage of that money will go to shows or the actors on the shows that were successful. The rest of the money will then go and be distributed to other members of the union.

Again, this is success-based bonuses coming from streaming revenues. Other accomplishments in this contract that were described by the union, among them, of course, higher wages, specifically gaining an 11 percent increase for those that are the lowest paid.

They also say they were able to accomplish things like sexual harassment provisions and other provisions that many members of the union were very passionate about; for example hair and makeup, take a listen.


MICHELLE HURD, ACTOR: Every single actors of color you could talk to, I'm sure at this moment, will tell you that there has not been one time that they have not brought their own base, done their hair. So this is empowering our artists. It's also empowering the hair and makeup (INAUDIBLE) because it gives them more skills.


BERNAL: Now that this has been approved by the board, members will get to see a lot of the details and ask questions. The vote to ratify this contract will begin on Tuesday and continue until the first week of December.

Now actors, actresses, performers can begin to work, many of them ready to go back to work after very difficult months -- Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.


HARRAK: It's a homecoming for three giant pandas, who, just days ago, called the D.C. National Zoo their home. The trio are back in China and quarantined for a bit. That's after they were packed up this week and FedExed back to southwest China earlier than scheduled.

The D.C. zoo now say this will mean a pause in the popular panda program. There is no word right now from Chinese officials about whether the bears will ever return. Amid tense relations with the United States, Beijing is busy sharing its pandas with some new friends. Russia and Qatar receiving their own during the last few years.

Thank you so much, for joining us. I'm Laila Harrak. "INSIDE AFRICA" is next.