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Connect the World

CNN Speaks to Kurdistan Official as Iraqi Return Home; Call for More Anti-Coup Protests in Sudan after 15 Killed; Austria Implements Restrictions for Unvaccinated; Concerns over Safety of Chinese Tennis Player Peng Shuai; Oft-Delayed Libyan Presidential Vote Scheduled for December 24; Usain Bolt Continues to Inspire Athletes. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 18, 2021 - 11:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Dubai. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, this hour some Iraqi migrants who've been stuck on Europe's border for days are flying back

home. I am Becky Anderson. This is "Connect the World".

Hundreds of migrants who were still standing their ground at the razor wire border fence between Belarus and Poland who were pleading to get into the

European Union have had their hopes dashed. For now at least border officials say their makeshift camps have been cleared and the remaining

men, women and children moved to a processing center in Belarus.

About 400 other migrants from Iraq boarded a repatriation flight today heading home. The flight was expected to have landed already we are though

hearing from Iraqi officials there was some sort of delayed and while it appears tensions have at least eased at the border crossing itself the

political battle rages on.

President Vladimir Putin the Russian President today accusing Poland of using the migrant crisis to put pressure on its ally Belarus; G7 Foreign

Ministers meanwhile, backing Poland calling on Belarus to end what they describe as an aggressive and exploitative migrant campaign.

Well, Belarus continues to reject claims that it orchestrated the crisis. My colleague Matthew Chance spoke exclusively to the Belarusian Foreign

Minister about the migrants' dire living conditions and what led to the standoff at the border here is part of that conversation.


VLADIMIR MAKEI, BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: This is a dramatic situation. We know that there are more than 600 women more than 200 children, and to

see how they suffer, it's very difficult for normal human being. We are not interested in having this situation here in Belarus. And we think that this

situation as any other crisis can be settled only through the dialog.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We'll come to that in a minute. But you say you don't want to see these scenes, but you're

accused Belarus is accused of orchestrating this whole crisis of encouraging these migrants to come here and of directing them towards that

border, you created these scenes.

MAKEI: Yes, we have had a lot of accusations towards Belarus and saying that we have orchestrated this crisis we have invited people to our

country, et cetera, et cetera. This is false assessment of the situation.


ANDERSON: Which is part of the conversation more than that in the hours to come? Many of these Iraqis are originally from Iraqi Kurdistan. So I want

to bring in the Head of the Kurdistan Regional Governments Department of Foreign Relations Safeen Dizayee.

Firstly, as I understand it, the first repatriation flight back to Iraq, is officially in Iraqi airspace, airspace where and when will it be landing

sir? Is it clear?

SAFEEN DIZAYEE, KRG HEAD OF DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN RELATIONS: Yes, good evening to you. As far as I know, it's due to arrive in about within a half

an hour.

ANDERSON: And where will it land?

DIZAYEE: There are passengers most of the passengers are actually from Kurdistan region, it will land in Erbil. And then there will be several

other passengers will be - the last destination will be Baghdad.

ANDERSON: How many Iraqis is on board, sir?

DIZAYEE: It seems that the ones who have registered to return the numbers are on the increase. But this particular flight has about 420 individuals,

including babies.

ANDERSON: Yes. Well, many of those men, women, children and babies that ended up in Belarus were, as you say, actually coming from Kurdistan. Are

there Iraqi Kurds on that flight that will be returning specifically to Kurdistan? And if so, what will happen to them when they return?

DIZAYEE: I think probably that's probably wrong information that has been spreading around that most of the people is from Kurdistan. We also got

people from Africa, from Afghanistan from Syria. But it seems that for whatever reason, the flight of the Kurds has been highlighted.

But nevertheless, these people have left the country legally with a valid passport and a valid visa that the end of them up in Belarus. So they are

coming back. Most of them they are in possession in travel documents that have been provided by the Iraqi diplomatic mission from Moscow.

They've dispatched that mission to Minsk in order to provide - to those who are not in possession or they have lost it or whatever reason they are no

longer valid.


DIZAYEE: So they are coming back to Iraq and Kurdistan of Iraq legally as their home country, and they will be welcome back.

ANDERSON: How are you coordinating with the Iraqi government to facilitate that safe return? What's been the process?

DIZAYEE: On this particular issue, there has been an extremely good cooperation. And I hope it will set precedence to other issues in future

that there should be more cooperation between Iran Baghdad. The Foreign Ministry in fact that they have been extremely supportive and in fact, due

to the fact that our government or Kurdistan region does not have representation in Minsk, nor does the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, they don't

have all Iraqi opponents have any form of representation.

Therefore, all these efforts were actually operated from the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow. We'll be thankful. So I can say, happily, the level of

cooperation has been very good. And, in fact, a few months ago Baghdad took the first step by banning direct flights from Iraq to Minsk.

But unfortunately, from other countries, there are still flights leaving. And these passengers who have valid visas are actually flying from other

countries are not from Iraq.

ANDERSON: What do you understand to be the reason why so many Iraqi Kurds and other Iraqis left to get to Europe via Belarus? What were they told?

How - what do you understand to have been the messaging? Why did they do it?

DIZAYEE: Well, first, we have to understand migration is nothing new. I mean, since the dawn of history, there has been migration of various type

and various ages and stages. So even despite the fact that this new channel has been opened up in the last three or four months, by Belarus through

land, let's say exit.

There hasn't been other people leaving in the past, through Turkey to Greece, or maybe even through other parts to Italy and of Africa and so on.

But on this particular occasion, unfortunately, the official - visas were official, they were granted officially, and they were direct flights and

the land route was safer. It was directly --

ANDERSON: Yes. Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this, because the accusations are - the accusations are that these, these are men, women and

children who've been weaponized by Minsk by the Belarusian government.

And the accusations are that they've been, you know, in contact with, directly or indirectly with human trafficking organizations, human

smugglers, to get these migrants into Belarus, and then to have them flood, European countries. What do you make of those accusations?

DIZAYEE: Well, I was coming to that, because if you look at the pattern of these people leaving, naturally, all of a sudden, Belarus became quite a

popular destination. And the minutes according to the information, I cannot use anybody, but it's based on information. And that needs to be looked

into very seriously.

But it seems that the human trafficking, which is a major world global problem; it is not only confined to Iraq, and this region, from Asia, from

Africa everywhere. Therefore, it is a lucrative business. And people were shown an alternative route, directly bordering several European Union


Therefore, people feel that well, instead of risking their lives through agency from Turkey to Greece, it's better to use the land route, and then

it will be direct access to EU and of course, through misinformation, and obviously, the human traffickers. We're encouraging people and providing

incentives providing all kinds of support.

And of course, arriving according to some nation, it seems that certain groups or mafia groups or racketeers, were helping these people to move

westwards towards the borders with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. And hence, it created this kind of bottleneck there and we are seeing the bad images

of people being mistreated, and people dying of old and starvation, unfortunately.


ANDERSON: Yes. And you pointed out not all many of these are Iraqi Kurds or Iraqis who are leaving, because they frankly, feel they have no better

options at home now 400 odd or 430 of them are being flown back home. Do you take some responsibility for their desperation in Kurdistan or indeed

in the sort of wider Iraq, and if not, you, not you personally but who is accountable?

DIZAYEE: No, of course, our government is a responsible government that we are taking the responsibility of our people. This is why we have gone to

their help and try to get these people back on voluntary basis.

We are not forcing anybody to come back. Those who have left legally nobody has stopped them. And traveling abroad I think it's one of the rights of

every human being especially UN Charter for them to come back they're free to do so.

Now, if I can say so, when if Kurdistan has been portrayed in such a negative way, we know why this propaganda mechanism machine has been

operating. But how come when we had 2 million refugees and IDPs playing Central South of Iraq and they came to Kurdistan? We certainly are still we

are hosting 1 million IDPs and refugees, the bulk of the Christians and - fled and they came to Kurdistan.

And in terms of economy, people from many parts of the world, they are coming to Kurdistan for work and seeking employment. So much of this

propaganda that has been addressed or to the Kurdistan Regional Government are unfounded.

Of course, we do not claim to be a perfect example of democracy haven, but at least if you compare it to the region for the last few decades, at

least, we have been trying to make something out of it and I think it is important to highlight that.

Therefore, those who have fled or those who have traveled, they traveled at their own will through the airport with an exit stamp, they will come back

with an entry staff and they can go back to their normal lives.

We do have certain rules, we have problems. We have grievances, we have ISIS threat. We have disputes, disputed territories, and there are demons

with Baghdad that has not been settled and has not been honored. And maybe some people feel uncertainties with what happened in Afghanistan, what's

happening in Syria?

People think of the future of their kids. It's a natural thing for them to do so but it is not KRG, who they are running away from. As I said, people

are actually coming to this region for job opportunities. Therefore, that argument totally is not valid.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Sir thank you for joining us tonight and thank you for getting us as up to date as you can on exactly what is going on with

those who are being returned or be on a voluntary basis we are told to Iraq. Thank you.

Protests against a military coup in Sudan are escalating. Pro-democracy activists are calling for more people to shut down the streets boycott work

and avoid paying government bills. This is in response to security forces killing at least 15 protesters on Wednesday in the Sudanese Capital of


It's the deadliest crackdown by military since the takeover last month. The EU is strongly condemning the violence and is threatening to cut financial

supportive constitutional audit is not restored.

Well, Larry Madowo is following the story from Nairobi, in Kenya. Cutting off more aid or money clearly is not going to help the people of Sudan at

this point? What do we know about what is going on the ground at this point, Larry?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do we know, Becky, is that the military appears to be cracking down quite heavily, violently so on

protesters who have said that they are called for civil disobedience will continue until the military leave the scene and Sudan returns to this

democratic transition that was led by civilians.

And the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Molly McAfee has recently been in Khartoum meeting with the military and meeting with key figures in this

military rule. And she says according to a Senior State Department official who briefed the travel pool traveling with the U.S, Secretary Blinken in

Africa that the military leaders came from saying Former Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok is gone that his government failed.

But at the end of the meeting, that we're closer to agreeing that maybe he should return because he's such a key figure in the legitimacy. And you've

seen how much international condemnation Becky there has been of these Wednesday's protests when more than 100 people were killed wounded.

15 people killed the international condemnation is so great, but also calling the Senior State Department Official. There civilian movement in

Sudan is so strong that even the military understands that it has its limits and they eventually have to find a way to work together and bring

civilians back into the discussion.


MADOWO: The UN, for instance, the UN Human Rights Chief is calling this opening of live fire on unarmed demonstrators as shameful that it should

not be happening. And the whole international community is joined in this the African Union, the European Union, the U.S. and other partners say they

should not be using force on civilians.

That they should be releasing everybody who was arrested during the October 25th coup and that they should be returned to that civilian led democratic


ANDERSON: There are many who say that the removal of Bashir, back in 2019 was an incomplete coup and that what we are seeing now two years on, is the

process effectively, sort of winding its way through. How do you feel about that sort of narrative?

MADOWO: So the removal of Omar Al Bashir after nearly 30 years in power was a significant moment. But that happened in April 2019. The military tried

to hang on to power and it is popular protests that led them to go into this power sharing agreement.

This was always meant to be temporary Becky. It was supposed to lead into a complete civilian government and elections in 2023. That hole got aborted

on October 25th when General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, who is now the Military Ruler of Sudan essentially went against everything he had told

U.S. about his commitment to the democratic transition. So Sudan has had a troubled past, but this past few weeks, especially very problematic.

ANDERSON: Larry Madowo on the story, thank you, Larry. Well, as Europe grapples with the migrant crisis, it's also seeing a disturbing uptick in

new COVID cases. Ahead on this show, which countries have decided to ramp up restrictions and which ones are taking more, well let's call it a

different approach?

And we'll hear from the Austrian Economic Minister about her country's highly contentious strategy to contain the virus. You're watching "Connect

the World" stay with us.


ANDERSON: Data from global health experts exposing disturbing pandemic trends I'm afraid. On Tuesday, the W.H.O. warned that new cases of COVID-19

increased from the week before in three regions the Americas in Europe and in the Western Pacific.

You can see that uptick here in data from Johns Hopkins marked in red and in orange. Also concerning the W.H.O. said is that Europe saw a 5 percent

uptick in deaths compared with the week before. Well, Europe may be emerging as a new global hotspot.

Germany has just broken its record with over 65,000 new daily infections reported in the last day alone. The Chancellor there warning of a dramatic

situation; today the three political parties negotiating a coalition voted in favor of a new draft law that would tighten Coronavirus restrictions.


ANDERSON: The Czech Republic and Slovakia also setting record highs for new daily cases as you see on the right hand side of this graphic. The Czech

government now imposes tougher restrictions against those who are unvaccinated. And Poland's reporting 20,000 new infections for the first

time since April.

Melissa Bell is in Paris. She joins me now, with more. We are looking at restrictions that certainly may be tightened in Germany, what do we know

about what's going on there?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT PARIS: Well, what we know of those restrictions that have been approved by those three parties negotiating to

form the next coalition. So once Angela Merkel steps down, is that they will target again, those who haven't been vaccinated since what they've

decided as a national framework?

And then of course, decisions will be made at local levels where there are particular spikes in the number of cases is that people are going to have

to show either that they've been vaccinated or are PCR negative or have recently recovered from COVID to take public transport to go to work, as

well as wearing masks that had been the case so far.

And I think that's something that we've been seeing across Europe is we've been seeing these tightened restrictions, Becky. You're right, we've been

here before, very false surges and numbers since this is how it happens, especially with the Delta variant that we know to be more contagious now.

We know that it can rise very quickly. It's what we're seeing in many different European countries, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the

Netherlands, Germany, France, very fast spikes in cases that have rather taken everyone by surprise.

This time, though, I think what European governments are doing is looking at much more targeted restrictions. And perhaps we'd seen in some of the

previous ways, certainly when the pandemic first hit Europe in February, nearly two years ago.

So for instance, many countries looking at targeting the unvaccinated; Austria going so far as putting them under lockdown, essentially partial

lockdown since they can leave home for a very few reasons. But also we're seeing an emphasis on getting booster shot campaigns up and running.

Because in so many countries, of course, here in Europe, people had had those who had been vaccinated had access to their two doses. It is the need

now to get those booster shots available to a wider proportion of the population that is priority of so many governments here in Europe, Becky.

ANDERSON: Melissa Bell is in Paris. Well, earlier I spoke with Austria's Economy Minister and I also what she believes is behind this latest surge

in her country, take a listen.


MARGARETE SCHRAMBOCK, AUSTRIAN MINISTER FOR DIGITAL AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: What is important is that we need more people to get vaccinated. We do have

a party FBU in Austria, who is not supporting our general program and this is one of our key topics and key problems that we have.

So we need to convince people and I'm asking really everybody to get vaccinated. This is the only thing which helps in the medium and the long

run. And we're working on that.

ANDERSON: Since November 8th, Austria introduced what's called 2G rule. Let me explain that that excludes unvaccinated people from large parts of

public life and under the incremental government plan, as I understand it once 30 percent of intensive care beds are occupied by COVID patients,

unvaccinated people will be placed under lockdown. The current level is around 21 percent at the moment, and just how much longer before it reaches


SCHRAMBOCK: Well, it is important that unvaccinated people are protected. And so therefore we launched this program and this measure, it is important

that we make a difference between those who are vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated.

And it will help us so we have just launched this method and this action and now we need to look at the results. And of course, again, we need to

ask everybody to take the opportunity and it's for free. It is available. It's broadly available and numbers are rising in vaccination. This is a

good sign, but still a lot has to be done.

ANDERSON: Why has though Austria been so slow in comparison to other parts of Europe to vaccinate its population?

SCHRAMBOCK: Well, as I mentioned before, we do have one party FBU Austria, who is opposing the vaccination actively and this differs Austria from

other countries like Denmark, Italy or France. And this is one on for me as a Minister for Economy one of the key reasons why you have these issues?

And it's then not only health issue which is caused by this but it's also economic issues.


SCHRAMBOCK: And therefore I need to insist also to this party, to change their mind and to cooperate and to convince people who are following them

and not to use fake news. But to use the real knowledge of scientists and doctors who are saying are telling us that vaccination is helping this is

proved everywhere also in Austria.

ANDERSON: This system that you have does raise ethical questions, of course, especially because many young Austrians don't believe in getting

vaccinated. This is what one protester in Vienna had to say.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA PROTESTER: I think it's very discriminating because I'm allowed to go to work. But the rest of the day I have to stay at home.

ANDERSON: They feel discriminated against to which you say what?

SCHRAMBOCK: Well, it is important that everybody contributes to the current situation and is contributing that so that we get out of this vicious

circle. And this is what I'm telling them. It's not about discriminating anybody.

It's about helping those elderly people which need to be protected. It's about those who cannot take a vaccination because of health reasons. It is

also about the future jobs of next generations. And this is what we need to think about now.


ANDERSON: Well, that was the Economy Minister for Austria speaking to me earlier. Well, after months of encouraging numbers showing a decline in

cases in Israel, the country here now seeing some signs that COVID could be ready to search, again, the R rates, which is you know, measures how many

people are infected by each COVID carrier has risen to its highest level in two months.

And officials say the vast majority of new cases are once again, among the unvaccinated. CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen tracking

all of these numbers for us, you just heard from the Austrians there, we were talking earlier to Melissa Bell about what's going on in Germany and

how these restrictions are getting tightened there? Give us a bigger picture, just what's going on, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What's going on, Becky is that we may be seeing we are seeing an uptick of COVID places in various

parts of the world and you know, we we've been here before.

And we know that what happens in Europe, or what happens in Israel, or what's happening in the U.S.? We will see that happen in other places, we

are all sort of on the same boat here. And when the sea raises we all rise when it goes down; we all go down because we all live sort of on one planet


And so let's take it-- let's talk a little bit about this finding in Israel. So the R number, as you mentioned, is an indication of how many

people get COVID from a single person? So R number one means that one person with COVID spreads it to one other person.

Now at the height of the pandemic that R number was greater than one in Israel it's been below one for quite some time and now it's approaching

1.97. So it's getting very close. So let's take a look at case numbers in Israel.

So currently, there are about 435 new cases a day in Israel. And I should note, the vast majority of those are unvaccinated in early September, there

were nearly 10,000 new cases. So things are way better now than they were in early September. But they're not quite as good as they were in late May

when they got down to as many as just 14th new cases.

So you can see the ups and the downs here. The trick is to sort of stem this tide to that 435 number to keep that from going up any more Becky.

ANDERSON: So it's always a pleasure having you on Elizabeth, thank you very much indeed for joining us. Coming up, where is Peng Shuai that's the

question on the lips of many in the tennis world and beyond but nobody in China seems to want to give any answers? Also ahead tonight --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've clearly been training right?



ANDERSON: I'll go head to head with one of the world's fastest humans stick around to see who won?



ANDERSON: We are watching hundreds of men, women and children returning home from Belarus. They were on a flight that just landed in Erbil in

Iraq's Kurdistan region. These are just some of the thousands who were stopped from trying to make their way to Europe.

I was hoping to get you some images of those migrants returning to Erbil. Can we get these images for you? And he's just coming into CNN. This flight

was due in Erbil slightly earlier today. We were told that it was delayed for some reason, in minutes, but as you can see, they're tired and pretty


I would suggest men women; you can see the kids there. They have been on that border in freezing conditions for some days eventually being returned

home, we are told on a voluntary basis.

I hasten to add to Erbil not everybody we are told by the regional government there is actually from Kurdistan. But there will be some Iraqi

Kurds and others on that flight. Well, as we get more on that we will bring it to you.

Well, China is continuing to avoid questions about the whereabouts of Peng Shuai. The Chinese tennis star has not been since - seen since she accused

a powerful politician of sexual assault. Top International Tennis officials and players have called for China to be transparent but the country's

foreign ministry has refused to comment on the matter.

An email presented by a state broadcaster claims to have been sent by Peng, it says she's fine and even rolled back her original allegations of sexual

assault. The Chinese government has not been afraid to censor dissenting views on this with more. Here's CNN's Ivan Watson.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (VOICE OVER): The royalty of professional tennis expressing concern about the welfare of one

of their own.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC, TENNIS PLAYER: Honestly, it's shocking you know that she's missing.

WATSON (voice over): Warnings echoed by other champions past and present. I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe into OK writes Naomi Osaka adding

#whereispengshuai? I've known Peng since she was 14 writes Chris Evert. Where is she? Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis champion?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peng Shuai moves into the quarterfinals.

WATSON (voice over): Hasn't been seen or heard from in weeks.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: This is really extraordinary. A top athlete 35 years old a name that a lot of people know formerly number one

ranked doubles player in the world just goes missing.

WATSON (voice over): Gone. In early November Peng published this bombshell post on her Chinese social media account. And open letter to a former top

communist leader named Zhang Gaoli now aged 75, who Pang accuses of sexually assaulting her after the two had an affair. Why did you have to

come back to me? Take me to your home to force me to have sex with you the post reads.

Yes, I did not have any evidence and it was simply impossible to have evidence. CNN cannot independently confirm these allegations and we reached

out to Peng as well as Zhang and his wife through the Chinese government for further comment with no results.


WATSON (on camera): Shortly after the controversial post - online profile more or less disappeared. Until recently, Peng Shuai was one of the biggest

tennis stars in China. But look what happens when you try to search for people with her name in the Chinese internet. You get the message, no

results found; censors have all but scrubbed this woman from the Chinese internet.

WATSON (voice over): On Thursday, Chinese state media released this email purportedly written by Peng to the head of the Women's Tennis Association.

It completely disavows the previous allegations of sexual assault, adding I'm not missing nor am I unsafe, and I hope Chinese tennis will become

better and better.

WTA Chairman Steve Simon responded in writing saying the statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns

as to her safety and whereabouts.

I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received. Unable to communicate directly with Peng despite multiple

attempts, he's calling for independent and verifiable proof that this Chinese tennis star is safe. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: Well, my colleague, Don Riddell is with us now. Do we know any more at this point? I mean, China regularly host WTA tournament, so don't

they the only reason it hasn't recently is the pandemic? They this isn't going to go down well with a WTA, I guess?

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Well, clearly not. And Ivan summarizes that very well, in his report. It was an extraordinary sort of 30, 45 minute

window yesterday afternoon, when we received word that this email had been sent, of course, we received word from China state broadcaster.

And the WTA responded very, very quickly with that statement from Steve Simon, essentially saying, I don't think she wrote it, or hinting that if

she did write it isn't really what she believes.

So the ball would now appear to be back in China's court with regards to the relationship between China and the WTA. And what is fascinating from a

purely sports business perspective here is the amount of investment that China has made in women's tennis, which from a purely financial point of

view, is actually great news for the game.

It's great news for women's tennis. But I'll show you here kind of what is at stake if you consider that this relationship might now be in some kind

of jeopardy. In 2018, the WTA, which is the professional women's tour, signed a 10 year deal to host the end of season finals in Shenzhen.

And that doubled the prize money in those finals to $14 million, which is more than what the men's get the men get for their ATP to our finals. And

next year, this supposed to be 10 events played in China, it is going to be really, really interesting to see what happens next, on this regard.

But of course of greater concern is the fate of Peng Shuai? And it is now several weeks since we have heard from her. The original post on social

media in China was only up for about 30 minutes before it completely disappeared.

And there is a great deal of concern people were saying yesterday that that email was almost worse than not hearing from her at all. Given that it

doesn't seem as though she wrote it at least that's the opinion of the WTA.

ANDERSON: Yes, extremely, extremely worrying. Stay on it made any more. You get on that, of course our viewers will get as soon as you do. Thank you.

RIDDELL: All right.

ANDERSON: Well, U.S. President Joe Biden is not expected to attend the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year. A senior administration official

tells CNN the White House may implement a diplomatic boycott as it's known of the games, which of course starts in February. That means no government

officials would attend. Mr. Biden hasn't yet signed off on that the main issue behind the possible boycott is China's human rights record.

Well, the number of U.S. troops based in Taiwan has doubled since last year, Taiwan boosting its own defense capability to counter Chinese

Military aggression. And the latest data from the Pentagon confirms what CNN reported last week that there are now a total of 39 U.S. troops

stationed on the islands in 2020. That was that number was 18.

Taiwan was a major topic and talks between the leaders of China and the U.S. this week with President Joe Biden latest saying the U.S. has not

changed its policy on the island. Well, Taiwan has deployed new advanced versions of F-16 fighter jets as tensions remain high with Beijing. CNN's

Will Ripley was there for the ceremony and gives us an inside look.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A spectacle of Military might here at Chiayi Airbase on Taiwan's western coast facing China. We flew here by

Military plane from Taipei. It's about a 40 minute flight. And we're getting pretty unique access to Taiwan's newly upgraded fighter fleet.

These are F-16 V's they're older F-16s upgraded with new radar new computer systems kind of like upgrading your iPhone to the latest model. Taiwan is

also ordering a new batch of brand new F-16 V's that are expected to arrive beginning in 2023.

Nonetheless, the reality is Taiwan is facing a widening Military gap with the Mainland. Even these highly sophisticated Pfizer - showed us their top

gun style moves, they would have a hard time competing in direct aerial combat with some of the fighter jets that the People's Liberation Air Force

has unveiled.

And some of those fighter planes have been flying near Taiwan in record numbers including 150 in just five days at the beginning of October.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-Wen is here. She was waving to the troops waving to the planes as they flew by inspecting these new aircraft.

And even handing out pay bonuses to the pilots because one of the reason that Taiwan's Military is having a hard time finding recruits is because

the salaries just aren't competitive when you compare them with civilian pilots.

You also have the Director of the de-facto U.S. Embassy, the American Institute of Taiwan here showing that there is a U.S. presence albeit not

an official diplomatic presence on the ground in Taiwan.

But we know that there has been increasing Military cooperation between the United States and Taiwan just over the last couple of years. Hundreds of

Military exchanges have taken place with personnel from the United States coming here to train the Taiwanese Military and also Taiwanese personnel

going and training in the United States as well.

All of this to try to guard against what many analysts see as an increasingly assertive Mainland with an increasingly powerful Military that

President Xi Jinping of China has said repeatedly could be used to retake this island, which it claims as its own territory, by force if necessary.

Will Ripley, CNN at Chiayi Airbase in Taiwan.

ANDERSON: Well, as Libya prepares for its chance at democracy a new face with an old but familiar name has entered the fray, the story of the

controversial candidate is after this.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching "Connect the World". One African nation struggling to find democracy is Libya. Voters have been registering

for December's presidential election an election that was originally scheduled for 2018 and then for 2019.

With just weeks to go some Libyan leaders say the election laws need to be updated, and there are fears the vote could lead to another civil war. Well

the field for the presidential election is still being sorted out.

But two major names threw their hats in the ring in just the past couple of day's controversial candidates who have already attracted international

attention. The prodigal son returns Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi, some former Libyan Dictator Moammar Gadhafi spent the last decade largely out of the

public eye. But now he is stepping back into the limelight his father once held, announcing his candidacy to run for president.


SAIF AL-ISLAM GADHAFI, MOAMMAR GADHAFI'S SON: May God brings truth between us and our people and elects the honorable. God makes the decision even if

the infidels hated.


ANDERSON: A calculated appearance, designed to remind Libyans of his father, mimicking both his style and mannerisms. For years Saif was

regarded as the Western educated reformer, who could bring about change to a country his father ruled for over 40 years.

But when Libyans revolted against the Gaddafi regime in 2011 Saif remained loyal. He was captured by rebel forces in Libya's southern desert just

weeks after Moammar Gaddafi was brutally murdered. The Militia holding him released him six years later, under a general amnesty law.

He was still wanted by authorities in Tripoli, where a court sentenced him to death in Absentia in 2015. And today, the International Criminal Court

accuses him of crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in his father's bloody crackdown on protesters.

Libya's been divided ever since Gaddafi's fall with multiple parties vying for power. Chief among them is this man, Renegade General Khalifa Haftar.

He wants led a 10 month Military campaign to capture Tripoli from the U.N. backed government and laid siege on the Capital. Now he joined Saif Gaddafi

in a contentious presidential race.

I announced my candidacy for the presidential election, not for power or in search of status but to lead our people in a defining stage towards

prosperity, progress and success.


ANDERSON: The elections are set to take place on December the 24th. But that date may change. And despite public backing from the international

community, many Libyans fear they will be neither free nor fair.

And with these two divisive figures seen by many as the front runners, the elections might do little to calm the political instability and infighting

that has wreaked havoc in the country for the past 10 years.

Well, those elections as I said scheduled at least for December the 24th. Coming up next, Usain Bolt tells me about his work with special needs

athletes. And he shows me some of his favorite warm ups, that is after this.


ANDERSON: Usain Bolt known of course for being one of the fastest men in the world, the now retired Jamaican sprinter recently took part in a

charity race for athletes with special needs at Expo 2020 Dubai where it is inclusivity week. Well, I sat down with Bolt and well I even had little

race with him. Have a look at this.


ANDERSON (voice over): He was once the fastest man in the world. Usain Bolt won eight Olympic gold medals before retiring in 2017. But that hasn't

stopped the legendary Jamaican sprinter from inspiring fans around the world. And now he's raising awareness for athletes with special needs.

ANDERSON (on camera): What do you hope your legacy as the world's fastest man you are for athlete with special needs and others?

USAIN BOLT, EIGHT-TIME OPLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: For me is just all about to show determination. And I mean, and for me, it's to see them go out and

work as hard as they do. It also inspires me you know, I mean to know that they have a disability but then never give up. They want to be great

athletes also.

ANDERSON (on camera): Are you going to join me in Dubai?


Bolt recently invited Emirati sprinter Hamda Al Hosani to run with him in a charity race at Expo 2020 Dubai. Hamda has more than 15 Special Olympics

medals to her name.

BOLT: When I met her she was very nervous. But for me was a big deal to see somebody who overcomes and push them to be one of the best in the world.

ANDERSON (on camera): Hamda, what is Usain Bolt mean to you?

HAMDA AL HOSANI, EMIRATI SPRINTER: Usain Bolt is my favorite hero because he's the source of my inspiration. Watching him as he broke the records in

the 100, 200 meter and others pushed me to achieve more in my sports career.

BOLT: For me, just to leave a legacy to prove to people that anything is possible. Don't take them. It's all about his hard work and determination.

ANDERSON (on camera): Tell me what you're going to give me a couple of ideas about what I might do to get myself into shape.


ANDERSON (on camera): To be an Olympic athlete. Is that right?

BOLT: First, stretching is very important.

ANDERSON (on camera): Yes.

BOLT: I mean, if you don't want to pull anything, just keep pulling the muscles. It's no joke.

ANDERSON (on camera): I can't even stand on one leg.

BOLT: Next thing you do, you do - jobs and I mean some skipping - like you like this I'm skipping --.


ANDERSON (on camera): Very good.

BOLT: --warm up. Then after you feel a little bit one and you can do some light sprinted.

ANDERSON (on camera): Oh yes, oh yes a little bit like sprinting.

BOLT: Your right goal.

ANDERSON (on camera): You've clearly been training, right?

BOLT: --it's - yes.

ANDERSON (on camera): Usain Bolt inspiring and connecting athletes on and off the track. All we need really to end this is a big old --. Thank you.


ANDERSON: What a really nice play! Now winning hand in Vegas a big winning hand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he is the main event champion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He does make the call just kings to pair and that is it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow! Just like that.


ANDERSON: German professional Koray Aldemir won the World Series of Poker main event on Wednesday night outlasting more than 6600 other players to

pocket the $8 million dollar first prize. He beat George Holmes who's an amateur who plays most of his poker at home against his maids but doesn't

feel too bad for homes. He took home a $4 million pot for coming in second.

And it is mating season for millions of red crabs on Australia's Christmas Island. Just take a look at this spectacular scene. This is part of their

annual migration from the forest towards the sea. These crabs are crawling up a special bridge that was helped or built to help them cross the road


The migration happens all across the island during the wet season. And fun fact, when it's all said and done, each female crab can produce up to

100,000 eggs. "One World" with my colleague Zain Asher is next.