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Power Outages Across Cuba Becoming Increasingly Common; Addressing Lebanon's Crippling Power Shortages; U.S. Fed Chair Speaks Amid Inflation, Recession Fears; Protesters Worry Cybercrime Law Enabling Crackdown; Texas Drought Uncovers 110M-Year Old Dinosaur Tracks. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired August 26, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome back to the show, a cautious sigh of relief from the current focal point of Russia's
war on Ukraine and an epicenter for global concern.
Ukraine's nuclear operator now says one reactor at this plant; the Zaporizhzhia plant has been reconnected to Ukraine's electricity grid and
is building up capacity. This comes a day after the Russian oil plant was totally cut off.
When the Ukraine's nuclear operator said the plant is now getting its own electricity from repaired line power it needs to function. President
Volodymyr Zelenskyy says if backup generators hadn't kicked in, during what was this outage, there could have been a catastrophe.
Well, the loss of external power may be the biggest but it's not the only threat to that plan. Sam Kiley explains.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A fireman test for radioactive fallout. It's an essential ritual repeated several
times a day. It's safe for now. But the war and the shelling that puts this city on the frontline of a potential nuclear disaster continue.
KILEY (on camera): The pattern over the last month has been that this city has been hit mostly at night. But in the last week, the locals are telling
us that there's been a regular attack during the daytime more or less at exactly this time of day, around about three o'clock.
KILEY (voice over): While communications have reestablished an officer explains where the shelling is coming from pointing to three locations
close to a Ukrainian nuclear power station captured by Russia in March.
And now Ukraine's top nuclear official is raising fears that Russian trucks which had been parked inside the plant turbine hall could be laden with
explosives or causing accidental fire.
PETRO KOTIN, ENERGOATOM PRESIDENT: And if it happens, then there will be real major fire in a turbine hole and after that, it can actually impact
the reactor building.
KILEY (on camera): Essentially are you saying that that risks and meltdown of the reactor?
KOTIN: Yes could be because you know you cannot stop this fire if it goes.
KILEY (voice over): There's been a renewed exodus of civilians living under Russian occupation in the towns close to Europe's biggest nuclear power
plant. Safely in Ukrainian held Zaporizhzhia, they consistently told CNN that Russian troops were bombarding locations close to the plant shelling
that Russia blames on Ukraine.
The Internet is switched off before it starts, probably so that nobody can film it. But we already know that if the internet is down, we should expect
Russian shelling in half an hour.
Amid international demands that Russia leave the nuclear power plant and demilitarize the area the Russian shelling from the power station has
increased. This is the result of one of 70 artillery and rocket strikes here in the last 24 hours, officials said.
The shelling every day, every day it just happened to hit here. Good thing no one was at home or there would have been casualties, she says. Russia
has responded to international demands to demilitarize the power plant by adding troops inevitably increasing the chances of a disaster whether by
accident or design.
ANDERSON: Sam Kiley reporting from the Zaporizhzhia area. I want to bring in CNN's David McKenzie who was live from Lviv in Western Ukraine. And how
concerning was this development yesterday, this outage to authorities so that way?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it was extremely concerning, you could just see the alarm in the statements and
appearances by the head of the nuclear power utility here in Ukraine, because they said it was only through the swift work of those workers.
They're those technicians that have been effectively hostage by Russian troops since March that avoided potentially a calamity.
Now I do want to put this in perspective though, each one of those reactors has at least three diesel generators that can provide backup power. But
there is this scenario that if things go wrong, and if a cascade of things goes wrong, Becky, you could have a meltdown, which would be potentially
catastrophic. You can't get away from that. This is a nuclear power plant, right smack in the middle of a war zone. Becky?
ANDERSON: That's the point, isn't it? I mean, there was a technical riskier; there is military risk this is not a demilitarized zone, despite
the international community pushing Russia and Ukraine to make it as such.
ANDERSON: There's much talk that Russia is at present weaponizing energy, in this case, electricity. David, from experts that you've been speaking to
what are they telling us about how difficult it would be or not for Russia to divert the power grid away from Ukraine?
MCKENZIE: Well, look, I'm not a nuclear physicist or electrician. But based on the conversations I've had with the Head of a Neuro Atom, the nuclear
power company here, he did say that it's a very dangerous exercise.
It's not really like turning off your lights and then going to the board and flipping off the power and then turning back on again, this is a very
complex issue that needs very trained people, a lot of the staff in that site had been working under terrible conditions.
They did confirm that there were at least several Russian experts from the Russian power utility working there, Becky. So the idea would be I guess,
you'd have to turn off the power and then rerouted through to the Russian grid, or at least areas of Ukraine that is controlled by Russia.
But the other thing you'd need to do is ensure that power is coming back in because that, as we've been discussing is very important for safety. So
it's a very complex procedure.
And as the UN Secretary General put it, it's completely unacceptable. He said that this is Ukraine's power and it should be for Ukrainians.
ANDERSON: David McKenzie is in Lviv in Ukraine. Thank you. Let's get you to Moscow because meantime, Russia is reportedly burning $10 million worth of
natural gas a day at a plant being built near the Finnish border.
Energy Research Company, Rystad Energy, has monitored large flares at this specific facility. Rystad says this could be from a lack of coordination
between operating segments or testing ahead of the startup later this year, it could also be an indication that gas is ready and waiting to flow into
So let's bring in our Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen from Moscow, who's been monitoring this story. What have you learned?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there Becky, well, this station is actually really important the port to buy a station
because it's the station that actually feeds into the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that we've been speaking so much about over the past couple of
weeks, the past couple of months.
And this energy research company Rystad, they say that these flares have been observed by the satellite pictures, but also by local residents in
that area. We could see there, and if we can bring the map up again, that the area where that Portrovaya station is actually very close to the border
with Finland and appears as though people in Finland just saw this massive flare up there at that station.
Of course, the Germans have been saying, and the Russians have been saying that there's very little gas going through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline,
which we can see goes into the Baltic Sea right off the coast there.
And, and this research company believes that there could be several reasons for these flares coming up. It could be the Russians testing the Portrovaya
facility before maybe using it to a greater extent.
But they did also say that there could be political reasons behind it as well, because of course, the Russians are putting very little gas into the
Nord Stream 1 pipeline. We've spoken about the big standoff between Germany and Russia about a turbine that's currently in Germany, which the Russians
say they need in that Portrovaya facility, in order to get more gas to go through that pipeline.
The Germans believe it's a political reason. And that that is indeed not the case. What we've done so far is we've asked Gazprom, the big Russian
gas company for a comment on all of this. So far, we've gotten no reply from them yet, but certainly quite intriguing to see those flares or have
the research companies say that those flares have been coming up at that Portrovaya station, Becky.
ANDERSON: No acknowledgement by Russia, that of the allegations by so many in the West that are present, they are weaponizing energy, correct?
PLEITGEN: No, absolutely not the Russians, if you look, for instance, at the Nord Stream, 1 pipeline, the Russians are saying there that, you know,
it's technical reasons. They don't have that turbine.
They say the reason they can't get that turbine back to Russia, is because of the international sanctions, they need additional paperwork for the
Germans. And until that happens, the pipeline is simply going to operate at a much lower capacity than it actually can.
And that's of course, been done in stages, but at the beginning, it was 40 percent. Then it came down to 20 percent. Because the Russians are saying
that other turbines are also at least needed more maintenance and those turbines the maintenance for them is usually conducted in Western
So that's one of the reasons. And as far as the Zaporizhzhia power plant is concerned Russians also saying that they're not weaponizing the energy
there. They say that it's the Ukrainians that are shelling that area, that's the reason why the fires broke out near a power line that leads to
the Zaporizhzhia reactor.
PLEITGEN: So in general, the Russians are saying that they are not weaponizing energy. They say that it's mostly western sanctions that are
stopping them from getting more gas into Europe.
And they say it's the fighting, which they blame on the Ukrainians around the Zaporizhzhia power plant that is causing the situation there, Becky.
ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow Thank you. As the continent reduces its dependency on Russian energy, the French president has praised Algeria
for increasing gas exports to Europe.
During his three day visit to the North African country, Emmanuel Macron also said that Russia's war on Ukraine has destabilized the world,
especially Africa. He pledged to reinforce French support to Algeria and its neighbors and spoke about France's complex history with the country.
Melissa Bell reports.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Becky, this was always going to be a delicate balance a delicate trip for the French president to manage. It is
of course, Algeria, that the French president was visiting never simple for a French president, given the history given the relations that remain
But in the context, of course, where one of the world's top natural gas suppliers was receiving one of the European leaders in desperate need of
natural gas. - Sources - down speculation that any major announcement would be made.
But Emmanuel Macron did answer questions from journalists as he left one of the main cemeteries in Algiers today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: There are countries that are much more dependent on gas and in particular on Russian gas. And this is where we
need to make a collective effort, a plan for sobriety, diversification of gas and acceleration of other projects. This is not just about France.
So that is why we are not at all in competition with Italy. I thank Algeria, for increasing the volumes that passed through the pipeline
between Algeria and Italy. Because the pipeline is not full, there is a margin of increase, and we can increase it by a little more than 50 percent
of the capacity used today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: Emmanuel Macron answering questions from journalists there, but really, the point of this trip according to --sources, as the French
President set out was much more to look at the common and difficult history of the two countries going back of course to France's colonial period in
But also to the very brutal Algerian war for independence, and how those histories can finally be looked at together and reconciled, Becky.
ANDERSON: Well, a reminder if ever we need one that the war in Ukraine extends far beyond Ukraine and Russia's borders. On our website, we've got
an in depth look at how the war has affected the Middle East. That is cnn.com/MideastNewsletter to read the article and to subscribe to our
Meanwhile, in the Middle East, it's cnn.com/release newsletter. Well, blackouts are an old sad story in Lebanon, but the current power shortages
are so bad, and hospitals are really struggling to cope.
I'm going to talk to a doctor about that up next. And Cuba is struggling with more and more power outages how the blackouts are disrupting the lives
of thousands there across the island.
ANDERSON: Well, it may only be late summer across Europe. But the continent already bracing for what could be a winter of discontent and discomfort
over the global energy crisis.
The EU says it will convene an urgent energy meeting as soon as possible over what it calls its energy war with Russia. Politicians are under real
pressure now to do more.
Natural gas prices on the global markets were already raising post pandemic, this is a daily rise. But these numbers have just been going
higher and higher since Russia's war in Ukraine.
And that's translating into more household hardship in Britain for example. The UK energy regulator today announcing the price cap on household energy
costs will now rise by 80 percent.
Well, Cuba has also been left in the dark a lot lately because the global energy crunch making life much harder on the island there to explain how
CNN's Patrick Oppmann live for us from Havana, Patrick.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You need to talk about the impacts of the same global forces in European countries. And of course, people there
are very, very hard hit, but when you come to much poor region, a much poorer country like Cuba that already suffers under U.S. sanctions and the
dysfunctional communist run economy.
It really hits us so much more, Becky because even before all these factors came into play the war in Ukraine, the pandemic runaway inflation, Cubans
are barely getting by.
And now when you add those factors on top of the challenges they face, for many here, they say they just cannot envision continuing to live in their
OPPMANN (voice over): For many Cubans, this is now their life, waiting in the sweltering heat for the lights to come back on. In this neighborhood,
people say the power is regularly cut by the government amid growing energy shortages for up to 16 hours each day. It's very difficult, really
uncomfortable when it's time to go to bed, you can't he says, the mosquitoes eat you alive. The heat doesn't let you sleep.
Power cuts are nothing new here. But Cubans are now dealing with the worst outages in decades as a perfect storm of economic calamity have dropped
tourism and skyrocketing inflation batters the island.
The Cuban government blames increased U.S. government sanctions for the outages that lack of investment in the state controlled energy sector and a
massive fire that destroyed Cuba's main oil storage facility had brought the crisis to the brink.
As the lights go out more frequently, Cubans fed up with the outages have taken to the streets in rare protests that the government usually does not
allow. Cuba's president says protesters need to be patient.
Some people take advantage of the situation to shout antirevolutionary slogans, he says. Others take part in vandalism and throw rocks and brick
windows. And that doesn't resolve the situation. But government officials admit there is no quick solution to the outages.
OPPMANN (on camera): The power outages have a major impact on people's lives. When the lights go out, food spoils more quickly in the summer heat.
People can't go to work or to school.
And they often have to sleep outside on the streets where they're exposed to mosquitoes that carry diseases like dengue. At this point, there's no
indication that the energy crisis is going to get better anytime soon.
OPPMANN (voice over): Wendy is nearly nine months pregnant and most nights have to sleep on the ground outside her house. She says out loud what many
here are thinking, the food spoils and there's no food in the stores. There's nothing she says, this is going from bad to worse. I want to leave.
Already a record number of Cubans have left the island in the last year. For those that remain, they know there are more long nights like this one
OPPMANN: And Becky, it's not all dire news here. Russia has sent a huge tanker of crude oil than as well as promised to help rebuild those damaged
oil tanks which are causing even more issues with energy distribution.
But for many Cubans, they have made up their mind and it's time to leave like that young women saying that she just dreams of going and already this
year arriving just at the southern border with Mexico going to the United States.
OPPMANN: The U.S. has registered some 175,000 Cubans who have arrived at the southern border, many of them asking for asylum, and many of them will
get to stay. So that's about 1 percent of the population of this island.
Thousands more have left by boat, and really is having not unpacked just in Cuba. But in neighboring countries, as you see this, Exodus of Cubans put
them in context; it's more than the Mariel Boatlift and the 1990s Boleros rafters' crisis.
So it really is an Exodus that has never been seen here before. And as these power cuts continue, you hear this more and more people just say that
they cannot deal with it anymore.
It's just so unpleasant, it's so difficult, and that they are selling everything they can do everything they can to try and leave.
ANDERSON: Thank you, Patrick's in Havana. Well, millions of people in Lebanon, also grappling with crippling power shortages. And that started
long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
And of course, that's now exacerbated the problem since the country's economic crisis in 2019. And Beirut's deadly port blast two years ago, this
month, the energy crisis has been putting Lebanese hospitals and essential services under immense pressure.
My next guest says, and I'm quoting him now, people are literally dying every day from avoidable matters here in Lebanon, adding the power
shortages have forced some intensive care units to shut down completely, because they simply cannot provide adequate services anymore.
Well Dr. Anwar Shayya is an Oncologist, he administers chemotherapy, and he's been forced to make some tough calls, changing chemo schedules, as I
understand it, so and there's no power available.
You're joining me now out of Beirut. Just explain if you will describe the current scale of the problem for patients and, of course, health
professionals in Lebanon today.
DR. ANWAR SHAYYA, ONCOLOGIST: Of course, thank you first for having me. Actually, it's getting quite sad here because the current situation is
divided mainly into two big groups if you'd like to put it that way.
Once that get treated in the private sectors and the other ones that get treated in the public sectors, and the public sector is the one that's
actually struggling the most, because of the inadequate power supply and the power shortages, whether it is in the hospitals themselves, or as an --
on an outpatient basis with the patient's daily living.
I unfortunately have a lot of sad stories just within this last week of things that people had to struggle with, because of maintaining their
medications, getting their medications, suffering from spoiled foods, because of power cuts in their houses, not being able to administer oxygen
to them because of power shortages and stuff like that. Maybe it's quite sad.
ANDERSON: What is the government trying to do or in response, and let me caveat this by saying there's a World Bank only recently who have
identified Lebanon as a system collapsed, not collapsing, but collapsed. Just if you can give us a sense of what kind of support if any, that the
government is providing at this point?
DR. SHAYYA: Well, we're trying to get some disaster control, because it's, it's happening quickly, and we're doing the best that we can do to maintain
things or try to get them a little bit better.
They're trying to get certain generators in certain hospitals. But of course, this cannot be run continuously due to the fuel shortages. Not
every hospital is capable of doing that some hospitals had to some hospitals and some care units had to shut down because of that.
So the main control from the government now is being to get a little bit of control over the medications, because this is another an entirely different
problem. But another manner some individuals are working on that basis, some NGOs are trying to help like the initiative run by a logy - to
maintain some sort of transparent power supply, and so on and so forth.
And we as doctors and the healthcare system, of course, and nurses and everybody that works there, we're just trying to decrease the amount of
terrible things happening so that we can find some way to get on a safe shore for our patients.
ANDERSON: Yep, look, let's talk about the bottom line here because you know, you administer cancer care and cancer medication. How is this current
situation affecting the care that you can provide your patients?
ANDERSON: I mean, the fact that you are still there is a good thing. So many medical professionals have just decided that Lebanon is no longer for
them, you're still there. But what sort of impact is it having on this on the work that you can actually do?
DR. SHAYYA: Well, it's very sad because in 2022, we look at the world administering up to date medications and up to date care for their
patients. We see survival rates climbing through the roof with diseases that we didn't use to even have the chance to cure or get patients into a
better place with it.
Now we find ourselves falling backwards. We have to find alternative chemotherapeutic regimens, not the best ones, because we don't have the
best ones to give our patients. We can store some of the medications in certain places because of the power cuts.
I mean, we used to pride ourselves in Lebanon. And we still do, because of the medical treatment that we give relative to the region. We will do very
well, compared to what we used to do. Now we're currently falling short on that.
It's a daily struggle for patients to begin with, and then for their families, because they know some of them have to actually wait for
medications that might not arrive. Others, others for example, I had a patient a few days ago that called me and we started looking at different
sectors in different hospitals so that we can store her medications because she doesn't have any power supply at her home.
And the hospital that she was getting treated in had to turn off its generator due to power cut shortages. I mean, these things are really
archaic. And it's fortunate for people to have for cancer patients specifically who have to struggle with their disease to begin with.
And this by itself is a problem. So they have to think of such small things that they don't need, they simply just don't need.
ANDERSON: Dr. Anwar Shayya, thank you very much indeed for coming on and explaining what's going on. We wish you and your patients of course; the
best and we hope things will improve --.
DR. SHAYYA: Thank you so much.
ANDERSON: Up next on "Connect the World" at any minute, we could get more information about the search of Donald Trump's Florida home. I'll be
speaking to CNN's Justice Department Correspondent about that after this. And later the violent crackdown on protesters in Sierra Leone and the
controversial law behind that crackdown, I'll speak live to one of the government ministers behind that law.
ANDERSON: All right, you're watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson. Back to our top story this hour, crisis averted, at least for
now, Europe's largest nuclear power plant.
Ukraine's nuclear operator now says one reactor at the Zaporizhzhia plant in Ukraine has been reconnected to the country's electric grid. The Russian
occupied plant was totally disconnected on Thursday for the first time in its history. The Ukrainian president said the world was on the brink of a
radiation disaster and only the backup generators kicking in helped avoid it.
Ukraine's Energy Minister is calling for demilitarization of the plant. Whatever it is that the U.S. Justice Department have when they asked for a
search warrant of Donald Trump's home, well, we should learn more about that.
Any minute now when the affidavit behind the surge is released, a judge has ordered the Justice Department to produce a redacted version of that
affidavit with portions removed to protect witnesses.
Released document will also conceal the scope of the investigation into the former U.S. president and his handling of classified documents. CNN's
Jessica Schneider covers U.S. Justice Department for us, and joins us now. We are still waiting for the release of that document. What can we expect
at this point?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's really interesting here, Becky, that the DOJ seems to be waiting till the very last minute
here. And what's interesting about this is that it was just about 24 hours ago that they made their submission to the judge.
They said to the judge, these are the redactions we are recommending, and the judge pretty much seems satisfied by that when yesterday just before 4
p.m. Eastern Time, the judge said OK, DOJ, now release this to the public.
So the Department of Justice really didn't have to do anything else. All they have to do right now is to put into the court docket that our team is
watching every second, put into that docket, what they had previously submitted to the judge just about 24 hours ago.
So no clear indication at this point, why DOJ seems to be waiting to the last minute except, of course, that the judge's orders was were that they
be submitted by noon. So less than 30 minutes from now.
The big question is, you know how much of this will be redacted? There's a lot of speculation that most of it will be blacked out. The DOJ has already
previously said that this is a lengthy affidavit, it goes into detail about the investigation sources and methods and the witnesses they've been
talking to all of that will not be available, available publicly.
And the judge has acknowledged that the DOJ has every right and necessity to keep that information completely blocked. He wrote in his two page order
that information about the witnesses about any uncharged parties, people who might be targets of this investigation who have not yet been charged,
none of that information will be public.
And of course, Becky, you know, really this is unprecedented, typically affidavits to an underlying criminal investigation that provide the basis
for a search warrant as was executed at Mar-a-Lago on August 8, those typically are kept under wraps under seal not available to the public until
people have been charged.
So we're going in reverse order here. So you can imagine why the DOJ has kept such pains to keep this under wraps, but we should see more in the
next half hour. ANDERSON: Yes. OK. Well back here to my colleagues in the U.S. as and when that affidavit drops. Thank you. Well, economists have
been listening closely to a big speech in the U.S. State of Wyoming where the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has been addressing an
annual economic summit.
A big question going into that speech, will the American Central Bank Governor Raise interest rates even higher as the bank tries to get
inflation under control. Powell speech is coming on the heels of a new report showing that prices did actually cool down somewhat in July.
Business Correspondent, Rahel Solomon joining us now from New York.
Some very blunt comments about the U.S. economic future in what was a much shorter than anticipated speech Rahel, what did he say?
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Becky, it was much blunter and it was very short. In fact, it was eight minutes and Powell addressing
that from the very beginning saying look, my focus is narrower.
My message is more direct, essentially saying let me be clear, and we must raise rates to lower inflation. He mentioned several times Becky that we
must keep at it until the job is done.
He talked about the fact that we're going to see a loosening labor market here in the U.S., i.e. less demand for American workers i.e. joblessness.
He talked about the fact that borrowing costs will continue to rise for American consumers as the Fed raises its benchmark interest rate.
SOLOMON: And the reason why this matters, this aggressive tone, this aggressive language, and certainly the path ahead is because the more
aggressive the Fed is in terms of raising rates, that increases the likelihood of overdoing it that increases the likelihood of a recession.
And that's exactly why you're seeing the markets respond the way they are the DOW off 530 points, essentially. And you also have to wonder, Becky,
with a more aggressive fed, when might we start to see other central banks around the world follow the Feds lead.
And as just as we were starting to feel like we were getting these inflation reports that indicated that inflation was easing even, in fact,
today, we got a report that suggested the same.
Just when we started to feel like or at least some people started to feel like, well, maybe the Fed will take its foot off the brake and gently pull
back on raising rates. Powell coming up very clearly today saying my message is clear. We are not done. And actually referring to some of those
reports saying that it falls far short of what they are looking for what they need to be confident that inflation is moving in the right direction,
essentially saying it's still too soon.
ANDERSON: Yes, it's fascinating, isn't it? Owe to be a central banker at this point in the global economic cycle? No thanks. But we will be
reporting on what they do. Thank you.
Well, up next on "Connect the World", I'll be speaking to one of Sierra Leone's leading government ministers about the violent crackdown on
protesters in his country, more on that after this.
ANDERSON: Yesterday we told you about a crackdown in Sierra Leone, where the government is accused of using a law against cybercrime as an excuse to
suppress free speech and political dissent.
The law was supported by the UK and the European Union, but no one envisaged it that it would be used like this. In just a moment I'll be
speaking to one of the government ministers behind that law.
But first a reminder on what we're talking about here. Here's an excerpt from a report by CNN's Katie Polglase on this story. And we have to warn
you some of this video will be disturbing for some of you to watch.
KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER (voice over): But it was the severe police crackdown both on the street and online that has revealed
worrying signs of a government suppressing freedom of speech.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't destroy the cars please. Move from here.
POLGLASE (voice over): The voice you're hearing is a 20 year old Gibrilla Kojo (Ph) sitting on his balcony. He calls for those running past to be
careful and not damage the cars parked below. Just over an hour later Gabriella would be dead. His friend David, whose name we've changed to
protect his identity, witnessed the shooting and says Gibrilla was shot in the neck by Sierra Leone's Police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was totally harmless; he was not even part of the protest. He was at the balcony, watching the protestors.
POLGLASE (voice over): David's videos of the events are rare and risky. He told CNN he believes it was the sight of him and his friend filming that
made them a target for police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The moment before Gibrilla dies, I told him that they were firing live rounds, we need to back off, and we need to get inside.
But he insisted he said they were firing rubber bullets. But it was live rounds.
POLGLASE (voice over): CNN analyzed a bullet casing found at the scene which was confirmed by weapons experts to be from live ammunition. The
police have made no comment on whether they did use live bullets during the protests.
David's filming two hours before Gibrilla's death reveals armed police standing on the streets below. You can see the red hats indicating is the
Operational Support Division, an armed unit of the police, which according to Amnesty International has a track record for shooting on protesters
dating back to 2007.
As other scenes of injured and bloody protesters across Freetown began to be shared on social media, the internet was cut off. By midday just half an
hour after Gibrilla's death, net blocks recorded a total shutdown of the internet activity net blocks identified as an intentional disruption.
The next day a statement was issued by the Government's Department for cybersecurity warning that anyone spreading incendiary information online
could be punished with up to 20 years in prison. And the basis for this threat was a new cybersecurity law introduced in 2021 and backed by the EU,
UK and the Council of Europe.
ANDERSON: I'm joined now by Sierra Leone's Minister of Information and Communication Mohamed Rahman Swaray. Good to have you, sir. This relates to
protests that took place in Freetown on August the 10th.
Several protesters told CNN that the government cracked down on those who posted content on social media and detain them that are the allegation.
What is your response to that allegation?
MOHAMED RAHMAN SWARAY, SIERRA LEONEAN MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION: That is not true. Like you are very well aware on August,
August 10 in - who claim to be protesters will have self-loading machine guns, pistols and all kinds of projectiles.
So, on the contrary, people who were taking video shots of the Insurrection is, were not arrested, there is no evidence anyone's arrested. What we have
is that the bloody insurrection is the incentives to wear gleeful pictures, while they were busy smashing the heads of - slim police officers and
posted them on Facebook and other social media outlets.
ANDERSON: So why is it that the government didn't respond to CNN's requests for information? And I'm sitting here with these emails now, the 19th of
August, the 19th of August, the 22nd of August, before this report was aired.
You had more than enough time when CNN requested comment and a statement on these allegations which were put by a number of protesters. So let me put
this to you.
The day after the Ministry of Information and Communication put out a statement saying and I quote here that the spreading of incendiary
information on social media platforms to destabilize the state could result in 10 to 20 years in prison, that reference the cyber security and Crime
Act of 2021.
This additional mention of spreading of incendiary information is not in the act signed in November 2021. You know that and I know that. What's the
reason for the late addition, sir?
SWARAY: OK, first, the emails you reference were not sent to personal addresses. If I had any notification that you wanted to get government side
of story, I would have readily obliged you. I have never - an interview whether locally or internationally. So that was an unfortunate event. But
here we are--
ANDERSON: I'm sitting on those emails and they've gotten --they have gone to state house.gov.sl and they have gone to - they've gone to all of the
places that we would normally send requests for information. I mean for this year, has anyone been arrested under this act since the August 11
statement was made?
SWARAY: Like I mentioned, those were not personal email addresses, they were generic and it could have been fallen between the cracks. If we saw it
would readily responded and in a very timely fashion.
Like I said this cyber security and crime bill was benchmark against suppose most seminar legislations. You're talking about the Budapest
convention; you're talking about the AU Malabo convention and - ECOWAS directives. We also took into consideration local realities current and
local challenges in the excellent legislation.
SWARAY: There are also references made to the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2012. So there is not an extraneous that was dragged into this and this
ANDERSON: Are you dispute sorry, I'm just slightly confused as to what you're saying it, are you dispute. Are you disputing the additional mention
of spreading of incendiary information is not in the Act, signed in November 2021? I'm trying to get to the bottom of why it was added in the
SWARAY: I just mention the Anti-Money Laundering Act. So you already last in conjunction with other existing legislations. What you are doing is the
mistake of --its solution. And that's where the trouble stats.
ANDERSON: Was live ammunition used during these protests and these arrests on the power of government, on the power of authorities?
SWARAY: We saw - action is --several odd machine guns, pistols, I'm sure those are not choice, they had live ammunition and they were meant to shoot
anybody who stood in their way.
ANDERSON: This is the police that you're talking about here.
SWARAY: OK, I was talking about the bloody insurrection is, where one policeman - to survive to be able to protect lives and property. So I know
they also go to the scene of crime, particle --show like this with a loaded weapons, as to whether they use live ammunition on either deny nor confirm.
ANDERSON: Sorry, I missed what you said; it's quite a difficult line. I want to ensure that our viewers get a clear answer from you there. So
you're saying that live ammunition was used or that you do not know where the live ammunition was used by local authorities.
SWARAY: Like I made up, what are security personnel, when they go to coil, a bloody intellectual, I will suspect they will carry live ammunition. But
I can't confirm or deny.
ANDERSON: I want to get to the bottom of this act. Has anyone been arrested under this act since this August 11 statement was made?
SWARAY: So the best of my knowledge, nobody has been convicted under the cybersecurity and Crime Act. They really do. We see a lot of infractions
every day, Willy nilly.
But this government is committed to - the democratic space to protecting the fundamental rights and liberties of several unions, which is why under
his watch. Hello, pushing the nine places to become the 46 most liberal in terms of free speech, we have under the same dispensation being--
ANDERSON: So I'm so sorry. It's so important that we get your full answer, but the technology is letting us down on this. Unfortunately, your
connection is going in and out.
Let me try one other question to you and see if I can get a full answer from you. Several of those who participated or witnessed the protests told
CNN they feared persecution for uploading any videos of the protests to social media, particularly those showing incidents of police violence, due
to the announcement of this act. What was the ministry's intention behind putting out this statement? What information would be classified as
SWARAY: Becky in 2017, the total number of - on social media is about 400,000. Today, we have until you made a meal - this year. This is as a
result of the enabling legislation. Our respect for fundamental freedoms, our rights, a lot more people trust relating on social media now than they
ever did at any point in time. That's the point.
ANDERSON: That wasn't the question now. I was asking what information would be classified as incendiary.
SWARAY: Well, if for example, you call on fellow citizens to take over Statehouse to bomb prisons, to burn people alive in their cars, however, in
recent times have several such incendiary remarks. Yes, those are the kinds of categorized as incendiary - yes.
ANDERSON: But you're saying that nobody has been arrested under this Act since August the 11 when the statement was made.
SWARAY: No, no. So since this incident, nobody has been arrested for that, to the best of my knowledge. I know there was a previous arrest, but
apostle was acquitted and discharged for once of evidence. So that is totally we respect the rule of law, we respect due process, our expert on
the fundamental rights and liberties of--
ANDERSON: Right, let's, let's just continue this, because I wanted to drill down, and I thank you for your time here. And I hope that your connection
will hold up because it is important that we get your full, full answers out and give you the opportunity to respond.
CNN has received testimony and video evidence from several protesters and bystanders that show unarmed civilians being hit by authorities. Can you
verify that that indeed was going on?
SWARAY: I have all seen evidence over that, over that. What I've got access to is the fact that I have seen police officers - slain by protesters, as -
-with stones, they've never had the opportunity of going back. - I buy it today. We have to accord them do civic barriers --.
ANDERSON: And finally, several protesters also told CNN that the government had tracked down those who did post content only and detain them. So what's
your response to that allegation?
SWARAY: While I'm not aware of any such case, in any case, is if it has been arrest, arrested battle, including 28 children who were both from -
those children, children who have now been handed over to the appropriate Child Rights Agencies led by the Ministry of Social Welfare.
I am sure they are currently receiving psychosocial care, and they are in safe homes at the Don Bosco home. So that is the kind of thing we have
done. But I'm not aware of any bystanders been arrested in this circumstance.
ANDERSON: Well, thank you for you're addressing the questions, and thank you for spending time with me in exploring what are a number of very
significant allegations being made by protesters who spoke to CNN about the behavior of the government.
We will continue to look at this story. We thank you very much indeed for joining us. And that's it from us. For the time being, we're going to take
a very short break back, after this.
ANDERSON: Extreme drought conditions in Texas led to a remarkable discovery at the bottom of a dried up river, have a look at this. These dinosaur
tracks are believed to be from creatures that roam the area some 110 million years ago.
Well, just news agency spoke with Dinosaur Valley State Police Park superintendent Jeff Davies, about the discovery.
JEFF DAVIS, SUPERINTENDENT, DINOSAUR VALLEY STATE PARK: Over the summer, summer of 2022 it's been a pretty bad drought. And so the river, the -
river that runs through the center of the park has dried up and left as high and dry, which is not a great thing.
But the good thing about it is that it exposes dinosaur tracks that either haven't been seen before, or tracks that have not been seen in years or
sometimes decades. But it's an animal, it's a dinosaur called Acrocanthosaurus from 113 million years ago.
It was a bipedal you know two legged carnivore Small Arms very much like a Tyrannosaurus Rex but a little bit smaller. But it was still a pretty
large, a large creature they were about seven tones or so when they were big, so not a small, it's not a small crater for sure.
DAVIS: And they walked through the limey muddy seashore on the edge of the Cretaceous ocean that ran through what's now the United States. What
protects these tracks, you know, they were laid down as a dinosaur walked on these muddy sea shores.
And then within a few days, or possibly a few weeks, sometime in the not too distant future from when they were, when they were put there, a flood
covered it over with sediments. And that sediment is what protected it and then over time, those layers of sediment turned into limestone, and other
stones there. And for over 100 million years, those were protected and preserved by those layers of sediment and rock, and then the river cars
down through those layers and expose the tracks.
So it's kind of a double edged sword because without the river, we wouldn't be able to see them, we wouldn't know they were there. But once they're
exposed, that's when they start to degrade just like any other rocks; they're going to break down over time, thanks to weathering and erosion.
This is a creature that really lived and walked the earth. It wasn't just in a movie when I was a kid. And so that's pretty special for me.
ANDERSON: It is. "One World" is up next. Have a good weekend.