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Iranian Students Again Take to the Streets; Zelenskyy Rules Out Negotiations with Russia; Florida Death Toll Tops 100; North Korea Fires Missile over Japan. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired October 04, 2022 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Schoolgirls in Iran chant, "Death to the dictator as protests," there show no signs of slowing down and --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): "We were officially told there would be no training before being sent to the combat zone," this recruit said. "We

had no shooting, no tactical training, no theoretical training, nothing."

ANDERSON (voice-over): Videos emerge with Russia's new recruits, saying they are being sent to the front lines without any training, as Moscow

tries to hold onto its gains in Ukraine.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Plus, North Korea sends a ballistic missile flying over Japan for the first time in five years.

I am Becky Anderson, welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD, from our broadcasting hub here in Abu Dhabi. The time it is after 6:00 in the evening.

And we are hearing outrage from around the world as Iran's brutal crackdown on women's rights protesters becomes a new flashpoint with the West.


ANDERSON (voice-over): More youngsters, from junior high school to university students are taking to the streets, this video comes from the

pro reform activists outlet, IranWire.

And this is what they are risking. Witnesses say security forces attacked student protesters on Sunday.


ANDERSON: U.S. President Joe Biden warned of further costs against the Iranian regime, which in turn accused him of hypocrisy.

Canada and the U.K. taking their own steps and the European Union is set to discuss the matter next hour. For a clearer picture let's get you to Jomana

Karadsheh, who is following this out of Istanbul.

What we know at this point?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, looking at what has been going on on the ground since this weekend, it looks like a new chapter of

these protests. They coincided with the start of the new school in university semester.

We are seeing a lot of these protests across the country from the capital to the Kurdish region, to the more conservative, traditionally and very

religious cities.

The days of the clerical establishment (INAUDIBLE) Mashhad and you are seeing so many student protests, young men and women who are rising up and

demanding their freedoms, demanding change.

What is really remarkable, Becky, in the past 24 hours, is we have started getting a lot more video coming out of these younger girls, school girls

who are taking part now and joining in the protests.

Really remarkable images, these young girls removing their head scarves, chanting the slogans of the protest movement, "Women, life, freedom,"

"Death to the dictator." We have seen them tearing down posters of the supreme leader, just trashing images of the supreme leader.

Really unthinkable in the past. It seems that you have this younger generation now, these young school girls, who have been inspired and

emboldened by the older women, who have been at the forefront of this protest movement, leading protests on the streets, demanding their freedom,

their right to choose.

And, I really think we are now seeing the result of the barrier of fear in Iran being broken. No matter what happens with these protests, no one

really knows where this is all going.

I think Iran is not going to be the same country after this.

ANDERSON: The supreme leader breaking his silence yesterday, accusing the U.S. and Israel for Mahsa Amini's protest. That is how he worked through

the narrative, calling these young people "rioters."

The significance of seeing these youngsters, these school kids, as well as students is one that we shouldn't underplay. This could be really

consequential at this point.



KARADSHEH: It most definitely is consequential, you're talking about the young generation that is deciding to stand up and say, enough is enough.

You've seen these protests. Yes, they were sparked by the death of March Amini.

Yes, this all started with the demands for justice and accountability for her death. But we have seen these really morph very fast into these bolder

and louder calls for regime change.

And it's spreading like wildfire. We're not just talking about some protest taking place in, you know, one city or another. We're talking across the

country, we're talking about places that you wouldn't have imagined this happening in the past, when you're talking about places like Mashhad and

Colm where people are saying, enough is enough.

I mean, the regime has a lot to deal with. And rather than trying to look at solutions here, looking potentially at the middle ground, to try and

listen to their people who have been taking to the streets, try and address their grievances, at least publicly, the message has been clear for them.

This is all a foreign conspiracy. This is the United States, Israel and others who are trying to destabilize the Islamic Republic. Absolutely no

indication that they are willing to meet people halfway.

ANDERSON: Jomana Karadsheh, thank you.

This as we begin to hear criticism. Some will suggest that this is late from the West. The Iranian government also cracking down against the

protests online, restricting the internet and blocking some social media platforms. Activists say blackouts are meant to keep protesters from

organizing. They want Big Tech to do more.

CNN's Katie Polglase explains.


KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE RESEARCHER (voice-over): As protesters took to the streets of Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, video clips

of this uprising began to flood the internet, making sure the world saw and heard the desire for change.

But then it went dark.

ALP TOKER, DIRECTOR, NETBLOCKS: Starting with Instagram, then WhatsApp and LinkedIn.

POLGLASE (voice-over): NetBlocks is one of the global leaders on internet monitoring. They quickly observed alarming activity in Iran.

TOKER: What's been astounding is the variety of internet restrictions and disruptions that have been put in place.

POLGLASE (voice-over): Users inside Iran confirmed the shutdown, sending CNN screenshots of the sites they could not access.

The Iranian government has a long history of restricting the internet. Protests in 2019 prompted the most severe shutdown to date, an attempt to

hide from the world of violent crackdown on dissent.

But the Iranian people have become experts at finding workarounds. A young tech-savvy population, vast numbers of them use VPNs, virtual private

networks. Now even this might be difficult.

This teenager told us via text from inside Iran that the government is disabling VPNs one by one. However the obstacles Iranians faiths have come

not just from their own government but also from the international community.

For the last decade U.S. sanctions led many major tech companies to withdraw from Iran completely. Mahsa Alimardani is an internet researcher

focusing on freedom of expression online in Iran.

MAHSA ALIMARDANI, INTERNET RESEARCHER: There is a massive, you know, a population of Iranian technologists, Iranian developers, who rely on

certain services like Google Cloud platform or Google app engine. So this has been basically blocked from the U.S. side because of sanctions. And it

has had a detrimental impact.

POLGLASE (voice-over): Activists say that removing alternatives for Iranian users has actually bolstered the Iranian government's efforts to

set up a national internet.

ALIMARDANI: Infrastructure stays local; the data stays local; the ability for the authorities to censor and control what's going on on the internet

remains centralized into their hands.

POLGLASE (voice-over): Following the latest protest, the U.S. Treasury finally announced updates to their sanctions in order to encourage tech

companies to operate in Iran.

ALIMARDANI: It has been almost 10 years that Iranians have had to wait for this update. While better late than never, it has been a belated action by

the U.S. government. And so there has been a lot of harm done in the interim.

POLGLASE (voice-over): The onus is now on tech companies to act. Many large tech firms like Google and Meta say they plan to open up new services

to Iran after the U.S. announcement. But activists say they're doing a fraction of what is possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iran is kind of isolated (ph). So, we need to break that isolation. So we need to see more help coming from other Big Tech

companies like Google.

ALIMARDANI: The crucial services really have not been worked on yet. So there is a lot to be desired.


POLGLASE (voice-over): Google told CNN, "Ongoing legal or technical barriers may block the provision of certain services but we are exploring

whether additional products might be made available."

Meanwhile, those inside Iran remained frustrated at the inaction. This young Iranian told CNN, tech companies were restricting them and not the

government -- Katie Polglase, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: CNN has contacted the U.S. and Iranian governments for comment. We are yet to receive a response.

So Iran, fighting back against the protesters on the street and on the Web, describing them as "rioters." You can find a lot more of Katie's reporting

online. We have news and images out of Iran as we are able to get them and verify them. That is on the CNN app or at CNN Digital.

To Russia now, Russia's war on Ukraine and several new developments. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed a decree ruling out

negotiations with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

This as Moscow forges ahead with its annexation of four Ukrainian regions in violation of international law. Russia's upper house of parliament

unanimously approved the measure today, a day after the lower house did the same.

The Kremlin says President Putin is poised to sign it into law today. Meanwhile, Ukraine pressing forward with gains on the battlefield, forcing

Russian forces to retreat from several positions, even some areas Moscow says it is annexing.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is following all of this from the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih and he joins us now.

Talking to sources on the ground and ,from your vantage point, as you speak to Ukrainians, what is the story?

What is the situation?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, it's extraordinary that we're seeing the Kremlin pushing ahead with the rubber

stamping of what Vladimir Putin initially signed on Friday.

But they're annexing parts of Ukrainian territory, in their minds. But as I speak of falling back into Ukrainian hands. In the last few moments the

Ukrainian ministry of defense has said they've taken the town of Gavinbrid (ph).

That is of great significance where I'm standing in the south. It sits in kind of the center of the part of Kherson, one of the southern provinces

that Russia now says is Russia. It's a central town that has been held by the Russians for quite some time. A lot of fighting around it.

But Ukraine now says in the push they've had in the past few days, it is now in their hands. I would suggest we often hear announcements from

Ukrainian officials about the progress on a time lag. There are suggestions that there is significantly more of area.

On the west-hand side of the Dnipro River that separates large parts of Ukraine, that is held by Ukraine. And those parts on the eastern side that

are more heavily occupied by Russia.

But it's an extraordinary series of events here that we're seeing. This progress on the southern front, as yet difficult to define in detail,

because Ukrainian officials are tightlipped about their progress often, is also coming on the back of progress in the east by the Ukrainians, where

weeks of pressure after the collapse of Russian positions around Kharkiv, down toward Lyman, have caused the strategic town of Lyman to fall.

That had a knock-on effect toward the Russian border almost and the Ukrainians are still pushing in that direction. Startlingly, it seems

today, that in the past days, they're making pretty substantial progress toward Kherson.

One of the -- well, the only provincial capital that Russia took in the early stages of the war. So across the board, appalling news for Russia's

forces just doesn't seem to stop. On top of that, they persist with this rubberstamping of legislation, that, actually, this is all happening in

their minds in parts of Russia, Becky.

ANDERSON: Well, we heard from the Russian president last week. You and I were speaking when he justified the war and also suggested a path to peace.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy signing a decree, ruling out negotiations with Russia's president at this point.

Does that surprise you?

WALSH: Not really, to be honest because if he were to engage in diplomacy with Russia, it would only be because you felt that the outcome would be

something positive for Ukraine or something that Russia would stick to.

We've seen in the past in multiple conflicts, Russia uses diplomacy as a moment to pause, to regroup or to continue to pursue very nakedly and

bluntly its military aims on the ground, with the hope that their opponents might somehow feel the on back foot.

So, yes, Zelenskyy seeing his forces on the front foot here, distrustful of Russian diplomacy, has issued a decree.


WALSH: I think perhaps to hammer home to anybody who may be concerned about Russia's viewing its annexation of these areas in their mind as a

means to use harsher parts of its arsenal, particularly the persistent backup of nuclear force here.

That may be part of this too. But it's specific toward Vladimir Putin. He doesn't say he refuses to ever speak to the Russian Federation; he won't

speak to Vladimir Putin. There is only one leader in Russia at the moment. And there is no signs of Putin going anywhere.

But it echoes comments he made earlier and now reciprocated by the Kremlin, saying they won't talk to Ukraine if Zelenskyy remains in charge. That

rules out diplomacy at all for now. It was a distant prospect, frankly, anyway.

But it puts focus yet again on the battlefield here, where the story is just one direction, and that's Ukraine moving forward. Now on Kharkiv, with

the first rout. Now we have two other fronts that the Ukrainians are pushing very fast forward on. There is no real sign that Russia is able to

pull something out to slow this down -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh is on the ground, thank you, Nick.

Russia says more than 200,000 people are joining armed forces as part of its partial mobilization. The defense minister says they will be trained at

special facilities. But as my colleague, Melissa Bell, now reports, many of the new conscripts say they're being sent to the front lines without

training and without equipment. Have a look at this.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russian President Vladimir Putin's military, once feared, now mocked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

BELL (voice-over): "No laughing," the officer says to her recruits.

"Ask your wives, girlfriends, mothers for period pads and tampons.

"Do you know what tampons are for?

"You stick it in a bullet wound," she says. "It swells and closes the wounds. Bring your own sleeping bag, too," the men are told.

On television, the hundreds of thousands being mobilized by President Putin are well-equipped. In reality, their military videos on social media tell a

different tale.

"We were officially told that there would be no training before being sent to the combat zone," this recruit says. "We had no shooting, no tactical

training, no theoretical training, nothing."

Another officer addresses his recruits, "If you have hernias, plates in your head, I was told you're fit for mobilization," he says. "So stop

saying you can't. I live on pills. So if I go, you'll be doing your tasks like everyone else."

CNN cannot independently verify these widely-circulated videos. Even the deputy prime minister of the Donetsk People's Republic annexed Friday by

Russia couldn't help but be honest as the city of Lyman fell to Ukrainian forces.

"The situation on the front is bad. Let's speak frankly," he tells a Russian propagandist. "Everything is the same as everywhere else. Namely,

there are not enough people."

The sorry state has tainted the hallowed halls of Russian state television, where careful skepticism about Putin's war is increasingly tolerated. This

time it's the head of the state-owned RT network.

"If I had to gather train loads of body armor, socks and the rest for those already on the front lines," she asks, "have these 300,000 been supplied

with all that they need?"

These recruits in the central city of Perm clearly haven't. They lament being dropped by the side of the road late at night, saying they'll have to

build a fire to stay warm.

The impact is plain to see. Ukraine recaptured more territory in the past month then Russia had gained in the past five. Ukrainian intelligence well

aware of the propaganda value regularly puts out intercepted calls between Russian soldiers and family back home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

BELL (voice-over): "There should be helicopters, planes," the woman says.

"There's nothing. Nothing, nothing," says the soldier.

"What kind of army is this?" she replies. "Just a TV show?"

Putin's army, once feared, now in disarray -- Melissa Bell, CNN.


ANDERSON: It's 18 minutes past 6:00 here in Abu Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, live from our Middle East broadcasting hub. I'm Becky


Still ahead, Florida residents describe an apocalyptic scene in the wake of hurricane Ian. We're live in one of the hardest hit areas of that state, up

for you next.

And a nation gone dry, Somalia is now two years into a terrible drought. The fragile country could be on the verge of famine.

And blaring sirens and frayed nerves in Japan after North Korea takes a weapons test to the next level.





ANDERSON: The death toll from hurricane Ian has now surpassed 100 people and officials in Florida admit they don't know how many remain missing. At

last report, more than 430,000 customers across the state are still without power.

Conditions especially bad in Lee County, where Ft. Myers is located. More than half the schools there have been damaged and officials say some may be

completely lost. It's believed Ian caused more than $50 billion worth of damage in Florida. Nadia Romero has been to some of the hardest hit areas.

She joins us live from Sarasota in Florida.

Criticism of officials in some of these hardest hit areas, where residents say they weren't given enough time to evacuate.

What have you witnessed?

What have you been told?

Is there evidence to stand up those concerns, that criticism?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, there is, because Lee County is the hardest hit area, right?

That's where we're seeing the majority of our deaths, now over 100 deaths from hurricane Ian so far.

And part of the issue is, when they issued their mandatory evacuation order, that happened on Tuesday morning, the day before the storm.

Neighboring counties issued evacuation orders on Monday, two days before.

Lee County lagged behind. In their own guidelines, it says that, if the storm surge was likely to reach 6 feet, there is 10 percent chance that

they should issue a mandatory evacuation order. We had that prediction as early as Sunday.

So by what we reviewed, Lee County did not follow its own guidelines. When I spoke with the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, he said, bottom line,

people here in Florida just don't evacuate. Some people just decide to stay in their own homes.

He said it wouldn't have mattered if they would've issue that mandatory evacuation order sooner. Some people would've defied those orders. So that

is what is happening in Lee County, whether people knew about the mandatory evacuation order, whether they had the ability to leave, you have to think,

you have to load up your car.

You have to go somewhere else, stay in a hotel. Some people just may not have the resources to evacuate. So today and over the last few days, search

and rescue crews have been going through Lee County to find people alive.

We're here in Charlottetown, another area that was hit by hurricane Ian. Many parts of southwest Florida. And behind me, Becky, you can see that

this is a distribution site being manned by the U.S. Army and the U.S. National Guard.

Their goal is to load up people with supplies that they need. This is day five for many people who haven't had electricity. As the cars come up, many

of them are so grateful to be here.


ROMERO: So grateful for the water, the food, the tarps and the ice. This is the hottest commodity that you can find in Florida right now, ice.

People don't have electricity; they've been using coolers to try to keep their food cool. So they need ice but you just can't find it anywhere. It

is so difficult to find it.

Even getting gas right now, Becky, it's a challenge. We had to get gas the other day, it took us 30 minutes to wait in line just to get to the pump --


ANDERSON: Thank you.

Well, let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar. Right now, the Nobel prize for physics going to three scientists

for their work in quantum mechanics.

Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger experimenting with a phenomenon called quantum entanglement. This shows how particles can

influence each other, even when they are millions of miles apart.

At least 15 people have been killed and 20 injured during a prison riot in Ecuador. It the latest incident of deadly jail violence in the country.

Authorities there blame gangs for fighting for control over territory and drug trafficking routes.

The U.K.'s energy regulator warns that the country is facing what it calls a significant risk of gas shortages this winter. Ofgem, as it's known, add

there's a possibility the U.K. could enter, quote, "a gas supply emergency" because of Russia's war in Ukraine.

Somalia is on the brink of famine. Years of drought have dried up the nation's crops, turning farmland into dust. Millions of people are in

desperate need of food and water. We get more from CNN's Larry Madowo.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is what I'm hearing from every Somali official I have spoken to and every aid worker there. This is one of

the worst droughts they have ever seen.

And the effects are heartbreaking. But with so much else happening in the world, suffering Somalis can get forgotten. Right now, about half of the

population in Somalia need humanitarian assistance. And it could get worse.

MADOWO (voice-over): Somalia could face a full-blown famine in less than a month, that's what the U.N. says. But try telling that to the people here.

Nuunay Adan Durow and her family are already struggling.

NUUNAY ADAN DUROW, SOMALI SHELTER RESIDENT (through translator): For the last three years we have not harvested anything due to the lack of rain and

we are staying at a temporary shelter close by.

MADOWO (voice-over): Durow is a mother of 10. She fled her home, traveling 200 miles to find medical help for her 3 year-old son suffering from severe


DUROW (through translator): A lack of water has driven us away. To get a jerry can of water, you have to trek for two hours before you can get back

for the next one.

MADOWO (voice-over): The country has gone two years without rain and it's experiencing its worst drought in 40 years. Aid agencies say around 7

million Somalis are projected to face food insecurity.

Even animals struggle to survive. But it's not just supplies at home that are an issue; the battle against the armed group Al-Shabaab makes

delivering aid hard.

And the war in Ukraine has sent food prices soaring. But help is coming, more than 70 percent of the $1.4 billion in aid for Somalia has been

raised, mostly by the U.S. And just this month, Ukraine pledged 50,000 tons of wheat to both Somalia and Ethiopia, much like this shipment, which

docked in Djibouti last month.

So will it be enough?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will help, every assistance coming from any nation helps, whether it is cash or in kind. We import 80 percent of our food from

outside of the country. We may rely on Russia and Ukraine, whatever (INAUDIBLE). The cost of preventing the famine will be higher.

MADOWO: What are the most critical needs right now specifically?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's money. It is funding, funding, funding, funding. If the rainy season fails, which is next month, October, and there is no

(INAUDIBLE) funding, funding is a real and it is happening.

MADOWO (voice-over): Somalia was last hit by famine just over 10 years ago. More than a quarter of a million people died then. And there is little

sign this looming famine will be any different.

MADOWO: As you heard there, Somalia was already suffering from the impacts of the global pandemic. But add to that the effects of Russia's invasion of

Ukraine on food supplies, but especially the severe drought has brought the country to the brink.

The situation is so desperate that, if nothing changes, more people could die. That is why the funding they're looking for will be so critical --

Larry Madowo, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Larry reporting there.


ANDERSON: International outrage after North Korea fires a ballistic missile over Japan.

What message is Kim Jong-un trying to send?

That is up next.




ANDERSON: Just half after 6:00 in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Our top story this hour, riot police patrol the

streets of Tehran, as Iran's capital sees another night of protests.

Now younger and younger girls are joining the fight. This video from pro- reformist outlet IranWire shows school age students marching through Tehran's streets earlier today, chanting, "Death to the dictator."

It comes as U.S. President Joe Biden weighs in, warning of further costs for the perpetrators of violence against peaceful protesters.

The condemnations now flying after North Korea sent a ballistic missile flying over Japan for the first time in five years. Tokyo, Seoul and

Washington all slamming Pyongyang for that launch. It rattled nerves in Japan.

It triggered a rare alert that urged people to take shelter. Japanese government officials say the military didn't try to destroy the missile

because they didn't believe it would cause damage. CNN's Will Ripley is covering the story from Taiwan.

It does seem like North Korea is taking its weapons tests to the next level.


Why now?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I remember, Becky, when it happened five years ago. I was based in Tokyo.

Those sirens, that's the sound you never forget, if you've ever experienced it.

You know, in the case of the North Korean missile, at a time that the world is talking about nuclear weapons more than we have in quite a long time,

you always wonder if this is another test.

Or could it be the real thing?

The video from Tokyo shows a lot of people, probably many of them went through the same thing five years ago in 2017. They went on with their

morning commute. In punctual Japan, the only thing more terrifying than the North Korean missile is being late for work, apparently.

Certainly the Japanese government views this as a very serious escalation. They would not have activated this emergency alert system if they were not,

you know, concerned that there could be a risk for this thing.

It was traveling at 17 times the speed of sound. And so, really, even if the sirens give people some notice, they would've had just minutes had this

been a real North Korean attack. So it certainly did what it's designed to do. It proved that these missiles can travel a very long distance, even the

intermediate range.


RIPLEY: To fly this thing, 4,000-plus kilometers, experts I've talked to say they don't recall North Korea ever flying a missile this far on that

kind of a trajectory so far into the Pacific.

Usually they'll fly up to a high altitude but it'll splash down relatively close to the Korean Peninsula, often before it reaches Japan. You know, it

splashes off into the waters just west of Japan.

So to actually fly it over in this provocative way, Becky, is a sign, analysts say, that Kim Jong-un completely has disregarded any diplomatic

option at this stage. And he is now going down his list to develop weapons and to test and perfect weapons.

That list could include submarine launched ballistic missiles and that nuclear test, where preparations have been observed for quite some time at

the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

So I guess people around the world should brace themselves for a potential roller coaster for the next six months to a year before North Korea might

decide to dial things back and consider diplomacy again, although, denuclearization, I'm told, is completely off the table from their


They want a deal similar to what Israel has. Their weapons are not made necessarily on display but they are also, people know about them, the world

knows about them, it accepts that North Korea's going to have them for the, you know, for the foreseeable future.

ANDERSON: Will Ripley is on the story, it's always good to have you on, thank you very much indeed.

It seems just no one is immune to Lebanon's financial meltdown. A former Lebanese ambassador has been holding a sit-in at his bank today near

Beirut, demanding his own money. George Sian is also the current honorary consul of Ireland.

His wife tells CNN he staged a peaceful sit-in after the bank refused to give him the amount he withdraws each month. Four other banks were also

stormed by Lebanese depositors today.

Today a sit-in, tomorrow a holdup, describe it as you will, these depositors want their money back.

Next up in sports, one of the great goal scorers in footballing history is hanging it up. His tearful retirement speech is coming up.