Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

Five Dead After Vehicle Plows Through Wisconsin Parade; New Zealand Expresses Concern Over China's Treatment of Uyghurs; Protests Continued after Sudan Agreement Signed; Tennis Star's Call Raises more Questions about Well-Being; Two Missionaries Released in Haiti After Group Kidnapping; Fires Destroy California's Majestic Sequoias. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 22, 2021 - 11:00   ET




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

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome back to "Connect the World". I am Becky Anderson.

The sounds of celebration turned into screams of terror in Wisconsin on Sunday. At least five people are dead and 14 more are injured after a

vehicle plowed through the crowd at what was a Christmas Parade. There this terrifying video shows SUV almost hitting a young girl only moments before

it ran into dozens of other people.

Please do have a person of interest as they describe them in custody. CNN's Natasha Chen has been on the scene for several hours now and she joins us

live from the parade route. What do we know about the driver in this incident Natasha?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, the person of interest is in custody, though police have not yet said what role that person played in

this not sure if that is the driver or perhaps someone else in the vehicle.

But they did - investigators have told my colleagues that they do not believe that this person had planned out driving through this Christmas

Parade. In fact, they believe the person may have been fleeing another incident when they drove through this heavily populated area full of

families and children and what you're about to see these videos. Just a warning to the viewers this can be very disturbing to watch.


CHEN (voice over): A Christmas Parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin turned deadly after an SUV plowed into the crowd Sunday afternoon. Watch from another

angle as the red vehicle speeds down the street barely missing a child wearing a pink coat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were a lot of screens and we almost thought maybe it was phantoms but it was a red SUV and it hit a lot of people.

CHEN (voice over): This disturbing video shows the incident from above and the chaos after the car sped into the parade route mowing down performers

and onlookers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw I mean maybe three people right in front of me get hit. I saw people right away run to the people that were hit and start

doing CPR. And it was really bad.

CHEN (voice over): Angela Boyle tells me she just started watching the parade when she filmed this video from her apartment balcony.

ANGELA BOYLE, EYEWITNESS: The next thing I heard was screams and turned my head and saw the car come and plow into the band that was just past my

balcony at that point. It hit at least two people right away rolled over both of them and then continued down the road.

CHEN (voice over): In the cities live stream you can see a marching band playing the red SUV then barrels down the street. Moments later the video

shows a police officer chasing after the vehicle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are vulnerable - people dying on the streets.

CHEN (voice over): According to the City of Waukesha, at least five people are dead and over 40 injured.

DAN THOMPSON, WAUKESHA POLICE CHIEF: The vehicle struck more than 20 individuals. Some of the individuals were children and some fatalities as a

result of this incident.

CHEN (voice over): At least 28 of those hurt or treated at local area hospitals.

STEVE HOWARD, WAUKEHSA FIRE CHIEF: We do not have any specifics on the injuries that at this time. All the patients were transported.

CHEN (voice over): Authorities are investigating the event this morning.

THOMPSON: We're no longer looking for a suspect vehicle. We do have a personal interest in custody at the moment. But this is still a very fluid


CHEN (voice over): The FBI is aware of the incident and President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation. Meanwhile, in Waukesha, the community is

stunned and shaken by how the celebration turned into a tragedy?

SHAWN REILLY, WAUKESHA COUNTY: I'm deeply saddened to know that so many in our community went to a parade but ended up dealing with injury and



CHEN: And again, investigators do not believe this was terror related because right now they are under the belief that this person perhaps was

fleeing another incident. We are starting to hear from organizations that are deeply affected by this. The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted on

Facebook that members of their group are among those killed, saying that those who died were extremely passionate grannies very unfortunate to hear

about those members of the dancing group.

And of course everyone is also very concerned to hear updates about the children who are injured as well. A local children's hospital last night

saying they had at least 15 kids they were treating Becky.

ANDERSON: Shocking and we will hear more from authorities in the next couple of hours. You should stay with CNN for that. With well over 5

million people dead from COVID-19 it is quite unimaginable that we are still seeing scenes like this nearly two years into the pandemic.


ANDERSON: As European nations impose new lockdowns and vaccine mandates a backlash emerging at least seven people were hurt in the Netherlands during

a violent protest against the new lockdown. 20 people were arrested.

While Belgian police used water cannon on thousands of anti-lockdown protesters there protests also gripping Austria over the weekend that

country is going back into what are a strict national lockdown for the fourth time and it became the first nation in Europe to mandate vaccines

for everyone who is eligible.

The government at least insists the measures are necessary. You can see the dramatic spike in new cases this month on the right of your screen compared

with the rest of the pandemics CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joining us live from Vienna outside Austria's largest vaccine center.

And let's start with where you are specifically outside that vaccine center. Are these rules now for a very, very strict national lockdown

encouraging those who haven't as of yet taken a vaccine to do so.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Well Becky, if you ask the doctors in running these nurses - running the center, they will tell you absolutely

yes. And it's just - it's not just about this nationwide lockdown. This right now feels like the busiest place in Vienna.

I'll tell you that the rest of the streets are quiet but you see the after work crowd here lining up to get that vaccine because Austria is trying a

bold new experiment. It is targeting its restrictions towards the unvaccinated and the medical community says its working take a look.


ABDELAZIZ (voice over): Restrictions met with resistance on the streets of Vienna. COVID cases are on the rise, and so is public anger. An estimated

40,000 people attended this anti-government demonstration.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We say no to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all have a choice. What to do with our body all of us.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): Nearly one in three Australians are unvaccinated. Authorities blame fake news and far right politics for the slow uptake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if something like this is necessary in Austria or in Europe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That people are being treated like children, they are not allowed to make their own decisions.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): As night fell, tensions rose several were arrested and two police officers injured. But Austria's largest vaccination center,

we find restrictions are quietly working. Rules targeting the unvaccinated have forced some to come forward up to 20 percent here are getting their

first shot official said.

I gave into the government's block map he said I wanted to wait but the government had other plans for me.

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): The government here is fed up with the unvaccinated. Austria plans to be the first country in Europe to acquire, mandate all

eligible persons to be immunized and the deadline is soon February 1st.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): Expert Peter Klimek says it's time for desperate measures.

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): Will this vaccine mandates work?

PETER KLIMEK, ADVISER TO AUSTRIAN HEALTH MINISTRY: What we believe is that this is mandatory vaccinations and if this is executed properly, then at

least we should be able to avoid chaos situations in the hospitals.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): For now Vienna's beloved Christmas markets must close. A nationwide lockdown could last up to 20 days. And even when

restrictions are lifted, rules will remain in place for the unvaccinated. The government's message, holiday joy is for the immune.


ABDELAZIZ: I want to give you an idea of the numbers here, Becky because we were speaking to the operating manager of this vaccine center. And they

told me they saw 10 times - 10 times as many people coming forward everyday as they did just a couple of weeks ago.

And again, they credit these tough restrictions that target unvaccinated people that keep unvaccinated people from being able to access social

places like restaurants and bars but also require them to remain under lockdown, even when the restrictions are lifted.

Meanwhile, of course the hospitals here are dealing with a wave of COVID patients, the country's health minister saying that the healthcare system

here is on the brink these restrictions are absolutely necessary. But I think all eyes in Europe right now are on Austria again. This is a pilot

program. It could set an example for the rest of the region Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes. And the question is, is there any evidence at this point that it will do so?

ABDELAZIZ: Becky again if you ask the doctors and nurses that run this center they will tell you there is absolutely evidence that it works.


ABDELAZIZ: Because 20 percent - 20 percent of the people you see behind me here an estimated 20 percent are people coming forward for their very first

shot. These are people who have been eligible for months, but so far have not been vaccinated.

And they say the doctors and nurses I spoke to hear again, that they are being encouraged again, by these restrictions feeling that they cannot

access their normal lives. You heard from that one man that we spoke to inside the vaccine center yesterday who said, yes, I feel blackmailed. But

I'm coming forward. I'm getting my shot, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. We've seen these protests in Austria against these restrictions. And indeed, these protests are happening across much of

Europe, where governments are pushing hard, of course for vaccinations. Thank you Salma!

Germany's Health Minister, just to remind you folks saying earlier that everyone in the country would be vaccinated, recovered or dead by the end

of the winter. Some pretty strong words from Germany's Health Minister there.

Well, while Europe suffers New Zealand is loosening restrictions; the country will move away from lockdown measures in December, restrictions in

New Zealand will be eased for those with vaccine certificates. Those who haven't been jabbed will not be able to access a range of services.

Well, today's announcement comes as around 200 daily cases are being recorded where I recently spoke with New Zealand's Foreign Minister Nanaia

Mahuta. She first explained why the government there so drastically changed its COVID-19 strategy, have a listen.


NANAIA MAHUTA, NEW ZEALAND FOREIGN MINISTER: We had an elimination approach, we're moving towards a protector maintain approach. We're

ensuring that where we can and support the business sector to be buffered in this in this really difficult period of time that we can respond in that


And importantly, we can plan forward around reconnecting and how that happens. Our plan to re-engage and reconnect with the girl - with the world

involves greater confidence around our health response, ensuring that our economic response is one that has set in place messages around resilience,

because people have had to operate differently and they've used the time of COVID to be able to pervert some of the operating practice, understanding

what new normal will start to look like.

We are keen to ensure that not only can New Zealanders have a summer, but playing with greater confidence in vigilance around COVID and certainly,

when we can reopen borders that will be a clear signal that we ready for business.

ANDERSON: Vaccination rates have been good. But the prime minister did say last month that authorities were struggling with vaccine hesitancy, anti

vaxxers, particularly amongst the young married men. Why is that? And what can you do to improve those rates?

MAHUTA: I think several countries have expressed that there is an element of vaccine hesitancy within their own population. For New Zealand that is

you have seen that amongst young people amongst --. In particular, there has certainly been amplified.

But if we look at the vaccination rate of our country, we're sitting at around about 81 percent, which is a positive and progressive move towards

our vaccination, our nationwide target, which is 90 percent of all those eligible 12 and up.

What we're doing for the - community is taking health solutions to the community and explaining to those people who feel hesitant through health

professionals, what the benefits of having a layer of protection through vaccination would provide in terms of protecting families and protecting



ANDERSON: I also spoke with the Foreign Minister about China. New Zealand was one of a number of countries last month that criticized China's

reported treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang joint statement said documentation of quote political reeducation camps was a severe restriction

on freedom of religion.

Well, I asked Foreign Minister whether this and other evidence of human rights abuses puts China's values at odds with those of New Zealand have a



MAHUTA: We express our concerns in a number of levels with China privately and in public, especially on those areas where we cannot agree on the issue

of human rights with the Uyghurs. Also with Hong Kong, you know, we formally launched our position around upholding international law and

respecting and costs for the South China Sea again, a very clear statement about where New Zealand - New Zealand's position is it.


ANDERSON: That was a fascinating discussion you can watch the full interview on the show later on this week. Do stay with us for that. You are

with "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson.


ANDERSON: Still ahead tonight more human rights concerns swirling around China and its tennis star Peng Shuai, even after she spoke to Olympics

officials, then an agreement in Sudan to reinstate the Prime Minister.

I'll talk to him and he played a key role in reaching this deal and we'll look at why some in the country are not happy about it. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Sudan's political crisis easing somewhat today but uncertainty remains after the country's military chief reinstated. Prime Minister

Abdallah Hamdok after a month almost a month after the military sees power.

Now this happened after a weekend meeting between them. Mr. Hamdok once again the leader of the transitional government. The agreement calls for

the restoration of the Council of Ministers which was dissolved during the military takeover.

The release of political detainees jails after the takeover, the creation of a unified army, the formation of a committee to investigate protests

following the takeover and the amendment of Sudan's constitution to outline the partnership between civilians and military in the transitional


Well, Sudanese pro-democracy group calls the agreement treason as Larry Madowo narrow ports protesters showed their anger in and around Sudan's



LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A deal is signed; Sudan's military has reinstated the country's Prime Minister, and

says it will release all political detainees. Moves meant to try to piece together a country torn apart by a coup nearly one month ago.

Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok appeared at a signing ceremony with a man who led the coup that removed him from office. General Abdel Fattah Al-

Burhan flanked by military personnel Hamdok displayed the agreement that once again, put them in charge of a civilian government of technocrats for

a transitional period.

But the agreement inked here was not enough to dispel yet another mass protest in Khartoum, where demonstrators gathered to reject the deal with

the army.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can hear the sound of tear gas and bullets. So we will continue resisting and we won't settle down until all militia groups

are dissolved and until we completely exclude the military from the political process.

MADOWO (voice over): Violent protests of rock the capital to the military declared a state of emergency four weeks ago, dissolve the civilian

government and put him dark under house arrest. The takeovers cuddled the power sharing agreement between the military and civilian groups formed

after former President Omar Al Bashir was offered in 2019.

The transitional government was supposed to lead to elections in 2023. That became a rallying cry for protesters who for weeks have been gathering in

the Capitol and around the country demanding the military step aside and put the country back on the path of civilian rule.


MADOWO (voice over): A medical group says dozens of civilians have died in violent crackdowns on the crowds. Some protesters now turning against the

Prime Minister, saying he sold them out by accepting the new deal. Hamdok says he did it to stop the bloodshed.

ABDALLA HAMDOK, SUDANESE PRIME MINISTER: Sudanese blood is precious, let us stop the bloodshed and direct the use energy into construction and


MADOWO (voice over): The military says the deal will be inclusive, except for Bashir's former ruling party.

GENERAL ABDEL FATTAH-AL-BURHAN, SUDANESE ARMY CHIEF: We are proud today that by signing this political decree, we are able to lay a real foundation

for our transitional period like we envisioned it and like the Sudanese people wanted it.

MADOWO (voice over): But the civilian coalition the shared power of the military before the coup says it does not recognize the agreement. Some

people questioning if the deal doesn't satisfy protesters, and those who are working to a democracy, that it may only be paper thin. Larry Madowo,



ANDERSON: Well, it's certainly been a chaotic month in Sudan and seeing Prime Minister Hamdok sitting shoulder to shoulder with the man who

arrested him and dissolved his government was startling, if not shocking to many.

But only I spoke to a prominent official in the National Forces Initiative who helped mediate the talks that led to this deal. Mudawi Ibrahim told me

there was significant pushback from Sudan's military against bringing back the Prime Minister.

But he said they realized the country was going down a very dark path, risking sanctions, further squeezing the economy and bringing or becoming

isolated from the rest of the world. He spoke to me by phone from Khartoum, as our conversation reveals, he's clear Ibrahim believes this deal is not

going to fix Sudan's problems anytime soon, have a listen.


MUDAWI IBRAHIM, SUDAN'S NATIONAL FORCES INITIATIVE: We're in a transition and we have to continue on this transition. The person is from inside. We

have not broken a good agreement.

This is not a good agreement is very limited to the prime minister to the person who has predicted the crew are the first to come and say that we are

correcting things which have been claimed by the military.

It's very stimulating, but it is for the sake of the country where there are so many people dying on the streets being killed by - initiative by

suffocation by --. So the prime minister has to take this step that he accepts this, humiliation.

ANDERSON: So, you talk about this being humiliated, so I just want to push you on this. You talk about this being very humiliating for the Prime

Minister, several major pro-democracy groups have come out against this deal, opposing any new political partnership with the military and saying

that the perpetrators of this coup should be brought to justice. What's your response to that?

IBRAHIM: You know, this is a door is being opened the doors open because even the Prime Minister accepting that this is a conviction. It doesn't

close illegal legal goals. But what will happen if we if you wish to proceed to seal this threat?

If you go on this track, it might be very dangerous for us because we have to admit that you have a problem that this military, the military is a

problem for our democracy. And you need to have a lot of work to be done so that we can ensure that the military is deploying even after the election

to take over --.

ANDERSON: How confident are you that the military will stick to their promises with this new agreement? This is the same military that dismantled

the previous agreement. They dissolve the government. They arrested government officials and they've killed scores of protesters killing 116

year old boy million hours after the agreement was signed.

I mean, do you truly believe they will hand over power peacefully and securely to a new civilian government when it's time?

IBRAHIM: That issues which if not resolved, and choose are not going to deliver the power. If they deliver the store they hadn't been forced to

civilian native elements are going to get approved the next day. So that issues we have to resolve.


IBRAHIM: We have to find issues, issues of justice in a test we discussed between the people who have to bargain of democracy with people who are

seeking justice.

ANDERSON: I wonder what the bargaining chips are for the people on the street. I mean, what is your message to the protesters on the streets

today, the ones calling for an end to the military rule? Some are even calling your move a betrayal.

IBRAHIM: Yes, I know that. But you know that how can you move the military? Yes, in, we have a partnership between the military and civilians now. We,

if there is a way to remove the military, we can or could have done this.

We don't have the power to remove the military. We don't have arms. We don't have tanks. We don't have - we're only having the strength of the -

voices of the people on the street. And you know that we need to give concessions on this issue, we need to discuss with them. How can we do a

transition - how can we make forgiveness?

ANDERSON: So with respect to - Sudan's future is looking pretty bleak at the moment, isn't it? And there seems to be no progress effectively, since

the original removal of Bashir back in 2019. Do you agree with that? I mean, the future is looking pretty bleak at present, isn't it?

IBRAHIM: Yes, it is. It is up to the political parties or the society if they wanted to go for the land from the past, we had experience and to -

the Prime Minister and to come together actually to make a chapter for the execution of the program of the transition.


ANDERSON: That was Sudanese negotiator Mudawi Ibrahim talking to me about Sudan's future after the reinstatement of the Prime Minister. U.S.

President Joe Biden has announced that he wants to keep the head of the Federal Reserve in his post.

Mr. Biden will nominate Jerome Powell to a second term as Federal Reserve Chairman; Former President Donald Trump first nominated Powell to the post.

He's guided the U.S. through the COVID pandemic, but now he faces pretty tough challenge with what is high inflation.

The U.S. Senate will vote on Powell's nomination. Up next, the International Olympic Committee says a Chinese tennis star is safe and well

so why are there still so many questions about her wellbeing, that's coming up after this.



ANDERSON: Amid a wave of global concern about her wellbeing and whereabouts Chinese tennis star, Peng Shuai has taken action, making a video call to

the International Olympic Committee.

Now the IOC says Peng in its words, was very clear in confirming she is safe and well. The Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry addressed the issue in

its daily briefing. Have a listen?


ZHAO LIJIAN, SPOKESMAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY: I want to tell you that this is indeed not a diplomatic issue. I believe you have seen her attend

some public event in recent days.


ANDERSON: Oh, critics voicing their skepticism. Keep in mind; Peng disappeared from public view nearly three weeks ago after accusing a former

Chinese official of sexual assault. CNN's Will Ripley with more now on what is this latest development.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Olympics organizers trying to calm the controversy over Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. Less than three

months before the Beijing Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee releasing a statement appearing to support the Chinese government narrative

that the three time Olympian is doing just fine, despite growing concern for her freedom.

30 minute videos call Peng IOC President Thomas Bach and two other officials, CNN not allowed to see the video. And IOC statement summarizing

the call with Peng saying she is safe and well living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time.

No mention of Peng's explosive allegations three weeks ago that one of China's most senior communist leaders sexually assaulted her, claims

quickly scrubbed from Chinese social media.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: The IOC seems to be so mean taking an incredibly make and frankly, pathetic path to dealing with China when of

course the IOC holds this great gift to see Olympic Games. And they have power. There is leverage in the IOC.

RIPLEY (voice over): That leverage apparently being used to bolster the communist party line, China under growing pressure from the White House.

The United Nations International Tennis stars, Beijing seeking to quickly turn the page.

State media releasing these videos of Peng over the weekend out and about in Beijing at a youth tennis tournament at a famous Sichuan restaurant,

where the conversation just happens to mention the date November 21, repeatedly, CNN has no way to verify the videos we can't confirm when they

were taken.

These videos shared on Twitter, a platform blocked inside China, Chinese state media eagerly tweeting updates and images upon totally ignoring the

story in their own country. Unlike the IOC, the Women's Tennis Association taking a much harder stance demanding direct communication with Peng

unmonitored uncensored.

This WTA statement to CNN says this video does not change our call for a full fair and transparent investigation. Without Censorship, the WTA

prepared to pull its billion dollar business out of China.

BRENNAN: When the history books look back at this time, they will say the WTA what an incredible master class and humanitarian leadership, the right

way to do it to call China on its abuses. And the International Olympic Committee sitting there, as they always do, basically doing nothing.

RIPLEY (voice over): Which makes some say the IOC is complicit in the apparent silencing of a tennis icon, who dared to speak out against a

Chinese leader. Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


ANDERSON: Well, my next guest tweeted, "let's hope the tidal wave of concern about where is Peng Shuai carrier's over to other cases issues

erasing allegations of sexual assault is grotesque".

Well, that tweets from the China Director of Human Rights Watch Sophie Richardson, who joins me now from Washington. You must have seen the video

call between Peng and the IOC President declaring her safety, were you convinced?

SOPHIE RICHARDSON, CHINA DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: All I needed to see was the photograph of IOC President Thomas Bach and Peng Shuai to be

horrified. You know, the IOC has done an appalling job giving Beijing Games when it breaks its human rights promises and staying silent in the face of

crimes against humanity.

But it has hit a new law and who knows that there was lower go - in actually participating in this outreach to a person whose suffered sexual

assault or who alleges sexual assault and has only been able to communicate with the outside world as mediated by Chinese government media. And now the

IOC, you know, this is not a reassuring situation, and the IOC's judgment is just gone.


ANDERSON: Let's just stick with what's going on here. The Beijing Winter Olympics, of course, are just three months away; your organization has

actually called on top sponsors to urge the IOC to adopt human rights.

In response, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson accused Human Rights Watch of lying in order to undermine the Chinese game saying and I quote

them here, "to politicize sports by fabricating lies and rumors and undermining the Olympic causes unpopular and will never succeed". What's

your response to that statement?

RICHARDSON: Well, I think you're given the Chinese Communist Party's heavy presence on the Beijing Organizing Committee, the fact that it itself

injects itself into the organization of games, winning the games, seeking political legitimacy from the games.

Look, I mean, sports and politics and human rights are inextricably linked. And the key here was to see whether the sponsors and the IOC would live up

to commitments that they have made either under guiding principles or binding obligations. And they're all not even making this to the finish

line they're really feeling in these performances.

ANDERSON: And we've yet to see any response, of course, from corporate sponsors are by pulling out of the Beijing Olympics, or indeed calling for

reform. I mean what does that tell you?

You're suggesting you know, I guess it's safe to say that it's disappointing or best; most people are likely to put their commercial

interests in the end above human rights. Is that what you're saying at this point?

RICHARDSON: I think it's not just that, you know, we're living in the age of "Me Too". And some of these companies have taken very tough positions in

support of women's rights and against sexual violence.

And their silence, among other things suggests that women across China who make these kinds of allegations are at best a secondary consideration, that

they are not worthy of the same kind of concern these companies will express elsewhere. And that too, is appalling.

ANDERSON: You said in a recent interview, and I quote here, "the pathology of these cases, and you were referring to Peng Shuai at this point. And

across people who are famous for different reasons, even people who are long-time party, CCP figures, they have encountered the same treatment,

they literally disappear, they can't be reached.

Can you just expand on what you mean here for the purposes of our viewers who may be relatively new to this story; it may just be coming to terms

with what's happening here with Peng Shuai?

RICHARDSON: Sure, let's take for example, the former head of the Chinese public security bureau, which was then made the President of Interpol, the

International policing organization, he was disappeared on a visit back to China.

And after several months in the Party's internal disciplinary system finally turned up being prosecuted on corruption charges. But in the

meantime, nobody knew where he was his family didn't know, be sure didn't seem to have access to a lawyer.

You know, in a way, he was fortunate to turn up in court where at least people could ascertain that he was still alive and be prosecuted with some

- not have due process, but at least have some procedures. But it just doesn't matter.

You know, Nobel laureate of the - was taken off the grid, the artist Ai Weiwei, the enormously famous actress Fan Bingbing, Jack Ma of Alibaba, all

of these people, at one point or another, have gone silent, clearly not of their own will, because they'd worked somebody in power.

ANDERSON: So you are identifying a pattern here. And I wonder whether you believe things are getting worse? I mean, what's your relationship like

with the Chinese? Are you able to freely and comfortably report your findings on any of the concerns that you have in the country?

RICHARDSON: As long as we can protect our sources and verify our facts, yes, and we're going to keep doing that, as you know, for as long as we

can. But, you know one of the real changes since the 2008, Beijing Summer Games, are that the Chinese government has, for the last several years,

been committing and continues to commit crimes against humanity, targeting leaguers.

And reconciling that with its hosting of another Olympic Games is extremely difficult, not least for all the millions of people who are affected by

that crisis.

And so in a way, Peng Shuai's case, sort of summarizes or almost crystallizes this phenomenon whereby people who annoy the government just

disappear until the authorities decide they want to trot them out for whatever the propaganda purposes are.


RICHARDSON: And to watch the International Olympic Committee voluntarily participate in that is just is really, I think devastating, particularly

for athletes and others who rely on that body to conduct itself with some good judgment, respect, human rights.

ANDERSON: You'll be aware of the WTA's very staunch response, as it were, to what they've seen out of the IOC. What's your message to the

International Olympic Committee tonight?

RICHARDSON: Well, that, you know, it needs to explain the context in which this call took place. You know why it had access to Pend Shuai when nobody

else has, you know, why we should believe it.

I mean, this is a body that keeps telling us, when we talk about crimes against humanity, it talks about a celebration of humanity; it continues to

insist the games are a force for good even in the face of facts to the contrary.

And I think it really is time for the IOC. First of all, to admit it's made a terrible mistake here and to refocus its energies on ensuring that

publicize allegations of sexual assault are properly investigated and prosecuted.

And then to sit down particularly with the athletes it's meant to represent and you know, reformulate itself according to their demands for respect and

safety and protection.

ANDERSON: With that we'll leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us, Sophie Richardson. Let's get you up to speed on some of the

other stories that we are following in our regional radar right now.

Lebanon's president says there are "positive signs" he can reach a deal with Israel, about gas fields and a seaboard area that is rich in natural

resources. Now Lebanon needs a deal to allow it to resume oil and gas exploration in the area as the country tries to prevent total economic


The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is headed to Iran. He's trying to revive talks on resuming nuclear monitoring inside Iran. Next

week, Iran and the U.S. are set to meet in Vienna to renegotiate or negotiate a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Well, that visit comes against the backdrop of dramatic protests over a water shortage. Hundreds of thousands in Esfahan are demanding a

sustainable solution to droughts in the region.

Well, new restrictions go into force in Afghanistan, the Taliban are banning all TV dramas and - operas that feature women. But the government

says female journalists can still present the news provided they wear a headscarf on screen.

Afghan women and girls freedoms have been increasingly limited since the Taliban seize power back in mid-August. Well, tensions are high in Israel

after a series of attacks in recent days, including a deadly shooting in Jerusalem; here is Hadas Gold with the details.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A 26 year old Israeli is dead and four others are injured after Hamas gunmen carried out a shooting attack in

Jerusalem's old city. The attack took place Sunday morning near the chain gate entrance to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound which is also known as Temple


Police say the attacker who used an improvised automatic weapon was shot dead by police officers on the scene. The victim has been named as Eliyahu

David Kaye, a recent immigrant from South Africa, who worked as a guide at the Western Wall.

The militant group Hamas issued a statement describing the attacker as a local leader of its movement, calling him a heroic martyr. The group said

the attack was a response to the attempts to desecrate the Al Aqsa Mosque.

A few hours later in a separate incident, Police are now also describing us possibly terrorist related a 67 year old man was moderately wounded after

being stabbed by an unknown person in Jaffa near Tel Aviv.

Sunday's attacks come just four days after a 16 year old Palestinian was shot dead after carrying out a stabbing attack on two Israeli border police

officers also in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he was praying for the recovery of the wounded and had instructed security forces to prepare for

possible copycat attacks. Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.


ANDERSON: Well, still ahead on "Connect the World" Venezuelan voters set the tone in local elections as the opposition joins the process after years

of boycotts, that is up next.



ANDERSON: Well, authorities say to missionaries held captive in Haiti have been freed. Now they were among the 17 American and Canadian missionaries

who were kidnapped back in October. A gang abducted the mall traveling by car northeast of the capital of Port-au-Prince.

U.S. and Haitian authorities have kept largely quiet about the release; the gang had demanded a $1 million ransom per hostage. Venezuelan President

Nicolas Maduro is celebrating a victory for his party after local elections.

Turnout was low for the vote on Sunday and Preliminary results show Mr. Maduro's socialist party won 21 out of 24 contests across the country,

including in the capital Caracas. It was the first time the opposition candidates have taken part since they started boycotting elections in 2018.

Journalist Stefano Pozzebon joining me live from Caracas with the very latest. What are the implications for the rest of the region here?

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Unfortunately, Becky, these are very somber implications about what happened yesterday in Caracas. You probably

remember when I first moved to Venezuela in 2016, Venezuela was an exception in a region that was a thriving democracy, a region of thriving

democracy Latin America, and the Venezuela was walking back towards that authoritarianism.

Five years later today Venezuela is no longer the exception. We have alarms and warnings for the state of democracy across the rest of Latin America,

in San Salvador, in Brazil, in other countries in the region.

And that's why, for example, the election from yesterday did not surprise anybody. The opposition has been depressed. That is depressed because most

of its leaders have left the country, they have been put under jail or house arrest there and Maduro is firmly in control of the country.

You probably see right now as I'm speaking the opposition leader Juan Guaido just holding a press conference, only a few kilometers away from the

scene and Bureau here in Caracas. Guaido has said that nothing has changed because of these elections, where the opposition decided to participate for

the first time since 2018.

Exactly to highlight how polarized, how difficult and how uneven the competition is for them facing up against an authoritarian government at

the polls, but still, not many people are listening because frankly, this is no longer the exemption, the exemption here in Latin America, many other

countries are warning or issuing warnings for the state of democracy. Becky.

ANDERSON: Stefano Pozzebon is in Venezuela for you. Thank you. We've stood the test of time, but they're no match for the rapid pace of our planets

warming. Details are just ahead.



ANDERSON: Right, we are covered in minutes before the end of the show before we go look at one of the devastating consequences of extreme weather

brought on by climate change. Now experts say up to a fifth of California's Majestic acquire trees have been lost to wildfires in the past two years.

My colleague Stephanie Elam speaks to officials there about the damage and about what's been done to prevent it in the future. Have a look at this.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): We're on a hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. But this is a tour of Sequoia destruction.

CHRISTY BRINGHAM, SEQUOIA & KING'S CANYON NATIONAL PARKS: I'm not happy about 2000 to 3000 more dead large sequoias; it's a big number to me.

ELAM (voice over): That's three to 5 percent of the remaining monarch's - in the world. According to a preliminary report by the National Park

Service, killed in the KMP Complex Fire that turned through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and the windy fire further south.

And that big number is on top of an even larger loss of mature Sequoia as last year in the castle fire parts of the Sequoia complex that wildfire

eviscerating 10 to 14 percent of the world's giant sequoia population. Bringham says this means in just the last two years, up to a fifth of

mature sequoias trees that have stood for at least 1000 years, if not more, have been lost to wildfire.

BRINGHAM: That's not sustainable, that is not getting wildfire and climate change resilient forests.

ELAM (voice over): It's a conflict of concerns these scientists never thought they would see, the threat made worse by another year of drought,

leaving the sequoias dry and vulnerable.

GARRETT DICKMAN, BOTANIST, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK: That means its water source has been there for over 2000 years. That that water is not there

means that the climate and the world around it has changed.

ELAM (voice over): But lessons learned last year help save some Sequoia this year.

BRINGHAM: Before the castle fire we had never seen losses of large trees like we had in that fire 7500 to 10,600 large, Sequoia has lost in a single

fire event. And that really changed what we decided we were willing to do to protect trees if we could.

ELAM (voice over): And what they were willing to do call for innovation in the face of fire. From literally throwing what they could at the threat

like sprinkler systems that spray trees 35 to 40 feet in the air and dropping fire retardant gel from aircraft into hard to reach groves to

extreme tree hugging swaddling some of the world's largest trees like General Sherman and General Grant and structure wrap.

BRINGHAM: We had hand crews going in and doing this kind of raking and fuel removal around individual trees. In groves we did backfiring operations to

change fire behavior.

ELAM (voice over): But the loss of any Sequoia such rare and majestic beauties is one too many to lose.

BRINGHAM: It is dead that tree is dead. It is not coming back. This tree that is at a minimum thousands years old and has survived many previous

fires and should have lived another 1000 to 2000 years is dead, is gone.

ELAM (voice over): Stephanie Elam, CNN, the Sierra Nevada Mountains.



ANDERSON: Finally, if you've ever watched calm and cool politicians who can command the attention of a roomful of people and wonder, did they ever mess

up? Just look like they've sort of lost it while speaking.

Well, Boris Johnson has the answer for you. You are about see the British Prime Minister delivering an address to the Confederation of British

Industry. Not only does he get lost in his notes, he then decides to go on to regale the crowd about his thoughts on a trip to a children's theme

park. Have a listen to this.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: So with safer streets with great local schools with fantastic broadband, forgive me, forgive me, forgive me

people will have the confidence to stay near that place they grew up. Yesterday I went as we all must to Peppa Pig World and if you've been to

Peppa Pig World who's been depends I've always been a Peppa Pig World, not enough.

I was - I was a bit hazy when I would find it Peppa Pig World. But I loved it and Peppa Pig World is very much my kind of place. It has a very safe

streets discipline in schools. Heavy emphasis on new mass transit systems, I noticed even if they're a bit stereotypical about Daddy Pig.

But the real lesson for me day to Peppa Pig World, I'm surprised you haven't been there, was about the power of UK creativity. Who would have

believed Tony that a pig that looks like a hairdryer or possibly what sort of Picasso like hairdryer?

A pig that was rejected by the BBC would not be exported to 180 countries with theme parks both in America and in China as well as in - as well as in

the New Forest.


ANDERSON: Mr. Johnson's opposition wasted no time pouncing on that speech. The leader of the Liberal Democrats said that Peppa Pig is a perfect

metaphor for Johnson's chaotic, incompetent government. Thank you for watching. One World" with Zain Asher is next.