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Putin Announces Martial Law in Four Regions of Ukraine; Ukrainian Intel Officer shows CNN team a Downed Drone; Concerns over Iranian Climber who Competed without Hijab; China's President Vows to take Control of Taiwan; Biden to Address U.S. Voter Anxieties about Energy Prices; Gamma Ray Burst Creates a Once-in-a-lifetime Event. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired October 19, 2022 - 11:00   ET




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

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: This hour a new phase in Russia's special military operations, the Kremlin describes it that could

have a big impact on the ground. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome back to the show.

Vladimir Putin has now put under martial law four regions of Ukraine that Russia claims to have annexed. The Russian President made the announcement

during a Security Council meeting earlier and he signed it into law.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: In this regard let me remind you that in the Donetsk People's Republic, the Luhansk People's Republic, as well as in

Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, martial law was in effect before joining Russia. Now we need to formalize this regime within the framework of

Russian legislation. Therefore, I signed a decree on the introduction of martial law in these four subjects of the Russian Federation. So it will be

immediately sent to the Federation Council.


ANDERSON: Well, martial law could make it easier for Russian installed leaders to evacuate civilians from the Kherson region. They are in the

process of moving up to 60,000 people from the frontlines and it comes amid warnings of a potential Ukrainian counter offensive.

Well, that is just the first of several decrees Mr. Putin made. Let's get you to Moscow and to our Correspondent there, Matthew Chance, what's behind

Putin's decision here? And is it clear what the end goal is Matthew?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not entirely clear. No, but I mean, what we can say is that the measures that

were adopted today, or announced today by Vladimir Putin, tighten the grip of his Kremlin over the country, because as well as the martial law that's

been formally enacted inside those four annexed areas of Ukraine, much of which, of course, the Russians don't actually control.

I think, perhaps even more importantly, there has been new security measures imposed on areas of the Russian Federation, just across the border

in Crimea as well, in various areas in the south bordering and northeast bordering Ukraine.

There have been very tight measures announced there as well, imposing travel restrictions in the area, allowing local officials and the military

authorities to, you know, kind of defend the area a bit more, a bit more, sort of easily by bypassing various civil liberties that have up until now,

been enforced there.

And then additionally, across much of the rest of the country, as well, certainly in Moscow, and in the surrounding provinces, regional governors

are being given some undisclosed as yet powers to impose certain restrictions to tighten their control over those areas as well.

And so look, I don't know what impact yet no one does, it's going to have on the ground in terms of the civil liberties of individuals inside Russia.

But it certainly appears to be a move in which the Kremlin is tightening its hold increasing its control over this country.

ANDERSON: And you say it's difficult to assess the impact at this point. Can we get a sense of what the impact might be at this point?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, look, I mean - I think part of the concern is that, you know, this martial law that's been imposed in those areas of Ukraine

that Russia says its annexed could be extended further across the country, if Vladimir Putin, the Russian Leader feels that that is, is necessary.

There's been increasing sort of criticism, I suppose, of what the Russians called the special military operation inside Ukraine, their conflict inside

a Ukraine. It's been aired sort of in an unprecedented way on Russian state television. The Kremlin has been very sensitive to that.

And this is I think, the Kremlin sort of asserting its control over this country a bit more. But also, you're showing the critics that it is taking

some act shouldn't because remember even if this action isn't having any impact on the ground right now it is taking place as Russian forces are

being pushed back by the Ukrainian military in a humiliating sort of setback on the battlefield for the Russians.


CHANCE: And then this gives the appearance that Vladimir Putin is doing something.

ADNERSON: Matthew is in Moscow. Matthew, thank you! Well, one thing is clear in Ukraine, everything is the target. Case in point Russia continues

to target the country's infrastructure causing power and water outages.

The President says 30 percent of Ukrainian power stations have been destroyed. The President of the European Commission calls the attacks acts

of pure terror, which amount to war crimes. Ursula Von Der Leyen points out that Russia is cutting off water, electricity and heat just before the


Let's bring in Nic Robertson, who is following all of the developments from Kyiv. And I do want to start with just getting you to describe what you are

seeing and hearing there in Kyiv? And what is going on, on the ground around the country at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Air defenses here in the capital were in operation today. The air raid warning sounded a little

after lunchtime it cleared about four hours later, but in that intervening period, the air defenses shot down at least two missiles over the capital


Missiles did get through here yesterday and hit a power generating station but overall across the whole country today Ukrainian authorities say that

they have shut down four cruise missiles and 10 Iranian made drones. So the air defenses are working.

They're protecting and you can hear them doing it. It's very audible and clear when those air defense systems shoot off. And you can see dotted

around at vantage points in this city soldiers watching the horizon keeping a visual lookout helping defend the city.

But despite those best efforts, three power generating stations coal fired power generating stations today in the center of the country were hit. It

is a very big and complex operation to try to protect - all the skies over all the cities and all those electricity generating stations.

Israel today has said it's going to support Ukraine in developing air defense systems yesterday, NATO said it was going to rush in hundreds of

drone defeating pieces of technology over the next couple of days that will help you know stop drones reaching their targets.

ANDERSON: Nic well, Matthew pointed out ahead of our discussion, that the impact of Vladimir Putin's announcement earlier today isn't clear. It does

speak to his "Wider Strategy". And I know you've been speaking to a former Russian soldier who gave you some fascinating insight into that explain, if

you will.

ROBERTSON: Really interesting, because obviously, everything that comes out of the Kremlin comes for a reason. The top general that Putin's put in

charge of Ukraine, Sergey Sorokin, was speaking on state media and Russia last night talking about Kherson and the need for civilian residents to

leave who of course now under his immediate control, because he is the military commander of those illegally annexed areas that have now been

placed by Putin under martial law.

So the requests for the civilians to leave effectively become an order. We don't know what punishment if they don't achieve it. But the fact that he

went on state television is a piece of propaganda, if you will, by the Russians to present a best face on the situation that's happening in

Kherson and perhaps presage the fact that the Russian forces may have to pull out of that.

And this is really what I discovered by talking to this former soldier who'd gone to work and state news agency in Russia, that the propaganda

machine Putin's propaganda machine, got into gear full effort full drive, the day the war began.


ROBERTSON (voice over): Since the war in Ukraine began, Russians have been denied the truth about what's happening to their army.

GLEB IRISOV, FORMER RUSSIAN AIR FORCE LIEUTENANT & JOURNALIST: So when the war started, I was at military desperate task agency, main Russian

Information Agency.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Gleb Irisov, a Former Russian Air Force Lieutenant turns state journalist is lifting the lid on the state secrecy.


ROBERTSON (voice over): It was March 2nd, more than a week into the war before Russia admitted its troops were dying in Ukraine. But Gleb says they

known since the get go he was manning the military desk phones at tasks as the war began.


IRISOV: I started to receive a lot of messages from my sources that are taking fairly extremely heavy casualties.

ROBERTSON (on camera): What numbers?

IRISOV: So numbers was an enormous.

ROBERTSON (voice over): He served in Syria in the Air Force, but quit in disgust over Russia's part in Assad's war. His wife worked at TES, he got a

job there thinking he'd be able to report facts about the poor state of Russia's military. But as soon as the war started in Ukraine, and Russian

casualties began piling up his hopes fell victim to Putin's propaganda machine.

IRISOV: Freedom of press was cancelled immediately on February 24th, instructions from the Ministry of Defense from FSB from the office of the

presidents. They just started to use these agencies as their own mechanism of propaganda.

ROBERTSON (voice over): New laws preventing protests over the war in Ukraine, put Gelb his wife and young family in danger. He quit a week into

the war. A week later, they fled for safety to Armenia, then Georgia, then Turkey, then Mexico, finally to the USA, and a chance to tell the truth

about the war.

IRISOV: If you want really to spoke out, you need to be at some kind of safe place.

ROBERTSON (voice over): His insights are remarkable, rampant corruption, and--

IRISOV: Putin himself and his friends they used this military systems, they say worst thoughts of money through this military system.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Gleb's observations about Putin's newly promoted General Sergey Sorokin reveal the propaganda machine he fled remains in

overdrive. General Armageddon, as Sorokin is known actually a danger to his own side.

IRISOV: He has made the life of his commanding officer - absolutely impossible.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Gleb knows Sorokin served under him in Syria. He says the general signed off on his resignation.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Is he going to change the morale in the Russian forces?

IRISOV: I strongly believe that nothing can change the morale of Russian forces no way.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Putin's propaganda machine may be working. His army is not. Gleb is witnessed of both and brave enough to speak about it.


ROBERTSON: And Gleb said there are no real difference between Sorokin and many of the other generals who have been running Russian forces in Ukraine.

He doesn't believe that he's going to bring a turn-about in the fortunes of Russia's military combined that with the way that Putin is taking stronger

and firmer, ever firmer control of the situation of the narrative. And it paints a bleak picture for what Russians actually know about what's really

happening here in Ukraine, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is on the story out of Kyiv in Ukraine for you tonight, folks. Thank you, Nic. Well, there is another player in the latest

drone attacks in Ukraine. Iran, the country's leaders have repeatedly denied supplying Russia with the Kamikaze drones like the ones used in

Monday's attack on Kyiv, which left at least five people dead.

Sources tell CNN Tehran has even sent military personnel to Crimea to train Russian troops in how to use these drones. That's one reason Ukraine's

Foreign Minister says he wants his country to cut diplomatic ties with Tehran.

The European Union, meanwhile, says there is sufficient evidence to impose sanctions on Iran for supplying those drones to Russia. And these Iranian

drones have become one of Russia's most effective weapons on the battlefield. CNN's Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward got an

exclusive look at one of the drones wreaking havoc across Ukraine have a look at this.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At an undisclosed location Ukrainian military Intelligence Officer Oleksi takes

us to see one of Russia's newest threats on the battlefield. An Iranian made drone known as the Maharaja six used by the Russians for

reconnaissance and bombing.

WARD (on camera): Yes, it was shot I can see this is the hole from where you shot it down.

OLEKSI: Yes, this is a hole from the rocket of Ukrainian forces. You can see 02 2022.

WARD (on camera): So this is the date when it was made?

OLEKSI: --that this plan was made in this year when the Russian begin to fly this drones. We have new problems.


OLEKSI: We have new problems on the few on the battlefield.

WARD (voice over): In just the last eight days more than 100 drones had been fire at Ukraine mostly Kamikaze Shahed 106 drones, smashing civilian

infrastructure and terrorizing ordinary people. The Kremlin today said only Russian equipment with Russian numbers is used in its so called special

operation. But Oleksi says there is no doubt where this drone comes from.

WARD (on camera): Now, I don't see any writing in Farsi in Iranian language. How do you know?

OLEKSI: We know that it is Iranian plane by two main things. The first thing we watched the exhibitions those planes in other countries. And some

years ago, Iranian companies showed this--

WARD (on camera): This exact model?

OLEKSI: This plane and the second thing why we visited this Iranian plane? Yes. We have one, only one written by the hand.

WARD (on camera): Can you show me?


WARD (on camera): So that's Farsi?

OLEKSI: I think yes you're right.

WARD (on camera): So if I understand there, you're saying that they tried to hide the fact that this has made in Iran?


WARD (voice over): Ukraine has called for more sanctions against Iran for supplying the drones. But so far, sanctions have had little effect. The

components are commercially available in a number of different countries from Japanese batteries to an Austrian engine and American processors.

WARD (on camera): This is the Muhajir six.


WARD (on camera): Now we're seeing these Kamikaze drones, the Shahed 136 and you say there's a new generation of drone coming too, the Irish2?

OLEKSI: Irish 2 - yes worry very much from this.


ANDERSON: Well, as you've heard, both Iran and Russia deny there's any Iranian connection to the Ukraine war. Well, in our newsletter, "Meanwhile

in the Middle East" we take an in depth look at how the denial may just work in Iran's favor; you can sign up at for


Well, the Israeli government has announced it will help Ukraine develop an air defense alert system but will not send any weapons. CNN's Hadas Gold

has the latest reporting on that she joins us live from Jerusalem. And as I understand it, you've just spoken to the Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel.

We've also heard from Benny Gantz the Defense Minister in Israel. So what are you hearing what's been said?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, Ukraine has been asking for Israel to send them more equipment for months beyond just the humanitarian

aid and especially now as we're learning about Iran, Israel's arch enemy getting involved, the pressure has only increased.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz today did offer saying they wanted to work with Ukrainians on this new air defense alert system, which is just a

tiny step above what they've been doing so far. Take a listen to what he told European Union Ambassadors in Israel earlier today.


BENNY GANTZ, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER: For operational and regional consideration, I don't see us sending offensive military equipment, maybe

we can support them with early warning systems that will allow them to alert the right population in a more accurate manner, which will then allow

them to have some kind of life long perspective, I would say emergency routine.


GOLD: Now, what are those operational and regional considerations? Well, it's Syria. Russia has a military presence in Syria. And every time Israel

wants to strike Iranian backed targets in Syria, they have a hotline directly with the Russian military there in Syria to make sure that they

don't somehow cross wires and cause anything further.

And the Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev did warn Israel saying that if you provide weapons to Ukraine, you will be threatening the

relationship with Russia. But as you know that he just got off the phone in the last half hour so with the Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel - and he

essentially told me that Gantz's announcement about this air defense alert system is just simply too late.

He said you can't win the war with an air defense alert system and said it's essentially like when you're going to the market and you're trying to

buy bread and instead they give you a spoon. He said that Ukraine today actually made a formal request to Israel for a missile defense system.


GOLD: And said it's essentially like when you're going to the market and you're trying to buy bread, and instead, they give you a spoon.

He said that Ukraine today actually made a formal request to Israel for a missile defense system. These are things like Iron Dome and related missile

defense systems that Ukraine wants to use.

And he also told me that he hopes that after the Israeli elections on November 1, things will change. But keep in mind that even across the

Israeli political spectrum; many Israeli politicians are in agreement with this policy. In fact, opposition leader former Prime Minister Benjamin

Netanyahu very much wants to become come into power once again, was in interviews yesterday saying that he agrees with this prudent policy.

But the Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel did start telling me that tomorrow the Ukrainian foreign minister will be having a phone call with the Israeli

Prime Minister Yair Lapid. And he hopes that there will be some progress made after that phone call, Becky.

ANDERSDON: That's really interesting. I mean, the argument thank you, Hadas, the argument for many Ukrainians is that Iran is just essentially

using Ukraine as a testing ground for these drones. And you might argue, if you were Ukrainian, that once they're tested and perfected, the next

target, most likely, could be Israel. That's certainly one argument that we are hearing both in Ukraine and indeed, in Israel. So from that

perspective, it's unusual perhaps, some might argue to see Israel maintaining what has been described by some there as prudent others as a

neutral stance in this war.

Anyway, it's an important layer to what is an extremely important story. Still ahead an Iranian athletes who competed without a head covering gets a

hero's welcome when she arrives in Tehran, we'll tell you why Human Rights Groups and others are worried about her fate.

And as protests continue there will tell you why. Some demonstrators are avoiding hospitals afraid to seek treatment for the injuries.


ANDERSON: Well the crowd there cheering for an Iranian rock climber she arrived at Tehran's airport earlier today, videos posted on social media

show people clapping and chanting Elnaz, the hero. A rousing welcome for Elnaz Rekabi coming after she caused controversy by competing without a

required hijab in Seoul.

Shortly after she landed Rekabi told state media that she accidentally competed without headscarf and she apologized. Her brother says Rekabi is a

child of Iran and will always play for the country, but there's growing concern that the 33 year old athlete could face repercussions. CNN's Nada

Bashir reports.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice over): The face of Iranian athlete Elnaz Rekabi could hang in the balance after video emerged showing the prominent

rock climber competing in South Korea without her mandatory head scarf or hijab. The religious veil is mandated by the Iranian regime both at home

and overseas when officially representing the country


ELNAZ REKABI, IRANIAN CLIMBER: The future is very bright, especially for women in rock climbing.

BASHIR (voice over): Her hopes for the future however, now in limbo. In a post on Instagram Rekabi issued an apology, saying she had been called to

climb unexpectedly creating an unintentional issue with her hijab.

There are some activists have questioned whether her statement was written under duress. And now that she has returned to Iran. Some fear she may face


MAHMOOD REZA AMIRY-MOGHADDAM, DIRECTOR, IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS: Based on the knowledge that we have from the Iranian authorities, they will do whatever

they can to try to undo the so called damage she has done to their authority.

BASHIR (voice over): Iran strict dress code is enforced, often violently by the country's notorious morality police. The very authority under whose

custody 22 year old Mahsa Amini died in September, she had been detained for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly.

Amini's death has, however, sparked a moment of reckoning for the country's hard line regime, with nationwide protests now entering their fifth week.

Women and girls across the country removing their mandatory hijabs and even cutting their hair in a show of defiance against the regime, severe

restrictions on women's rights, a movement which has gained support across the international community.

RAVINA SHAMDASANI, SPOKESPERSON, U.N HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE: What we have to stress is that women should never be prosecuted for what they wear.

BASHIR (voice over): But the Iranian regime continues to pursue a brutal and deadly crackdown on protesters. And there are growing concerns that are

curvy could be used by the regime as an example to other women.

AMIRY-MOGHADDAM: The bravery that she has shown will certainly inspire millions of Iranian girls. And I think that's the main problem.

BASHIR (voice over): While the Iranian embassy in Seoul claims that reports Rekabi will be arrested upon her arrival in Iran are, "fake news". Fears

remain that she too will face the brutal repression of the Iranian regime. Nada Bashir CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Meanwhile, despite the Iranian government's brutal crackdown, protesters are in their fifth consecutive week across the country. CNN

obtained this video from the pro-reform activist outlet IranWire showing demonstrators gathered around a fire in Mahsa Amini's birthplace on


Now she has become a symbol in the fight for women's rights and freedoms in Iran. Jomana Karadsheh has been following this story from the start of

these protests last month. She joins us now and what do you have?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, as you mentioned there nearly five weeks in the world has been watching Iranian protesters their

determination their bravery continuing to take to the streets despite an intensifying government crackdown. And right now Becky, we are hearing from

protesters and doctors really terrifying accounts of how protesters now with life threatening injuries are too scared to go to hospital. We have to

warn our viewers that some of the images in our report are disturbing and graphic.


KARADSHEH (voice over): The repressive Republic is crushing dissent with brutality that knows no bounds. Kurdish cities like this one bearing the

brunt of an unforgiving crackdown that's left no play safe with security forces now hunting down the injured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The injured don't go to hospitals because if they go there plainclothes police will arrest them. Even in most pharmacies, they

cannot go and get treated because they will be immediately identified and eventually lead to their arrest. For this reason people are not being

treated for their wounds.

KARADSHEH (voice over): This is the leg of a 14 year old boy peppered with what appears to be Birdshot wounds. Protesters in his town know better than

to go to the hospital. A story replicated over and over across the country. Doctors, protesters and a human rights group tell CNN hospitals have turned

into a trap, too dangerous for protesters.

A doctor inside Iran who doesn't want to be identified for his safety spoke to us through the voice over translator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They mostly come under cover but most of times they are recognizable by some signs. They come and ask about new patients, if they

want to use force, we have to answer them, most of the times we use fake names or fake calls for protesters to help them so that they would not be

recognized by intelligence forces.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Security services are tracking down on identifying people by the horrific injuries they're inflicting on protesters. And it's

not just at hospitals protesters say ambulances are being used to detain people.


KARADSHEH (voice over): In this video, people attack an ambulance with security forces inside. The narrator says protesters are saving a girl not

knowing who they can trust. Desperate protesters are now turning to an Iranian American doctor in New York for critical medical advice over


DR. KAVYAN MIRHADI, INTERNAL MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: The pictures they would send me are you know, as basic as you know fractures and when they're

running away from the police, versus like brutal beatings; people have sent me - fractures that they're trying to treat into their house.

They multiple pellets throughout their body, a lot of them fear like, you know, spend the next 10 years of my life in prison or just kind of let this

you know, broken femur heal on its own.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Dr. K, as he's known is relying on a small underground network of doctors he trusts.

DR. MIRHADI: There a lot of this is happening. You know, in covert areas, you know, like hidden areas by doctors that they want to remain anonymous.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Doctors helping protesters have reportedly been arrested, but that isn't stopping those putting duty about self.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a doctor, I see this as a duty to save people anywhere. When the hospital is not safe, I try to help people on the street

no matter where no matter what risk; no one should die because of seeking freedom.


ANDERSON: Well, we have reached out to the Iranian government about the apparent arrests of protesters in hospitals and in clinics, we have

received no response. We are taking a short break, back after this.


ANDERSON: Greater Manchester Police in the UK say no arrests have been made yet in the beating of a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester or the Chinese

Consulate on Sunday. Now a British lawmaker accuses the Consul General of ripping down posters at a demonstration outside the Consulate.

Video then shows a confrontation with people running towards the gated entrance. It appears to show one protester being dragged through the gate

onto the consulate grounds and beaten by a group of men. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs accuses the "harassers of illegally entering and

endangering the security of the consulate".

CNN has reached out to the Chinese Consulate in Manchester for comment. Along China's domestic front the country now boasts the world's largest


One military expert says the buildup is bigger than pre-World War II, Germany and Japan. And as China's Communist Party Congress opened over the

weekend and continues as we speak, Xi Jinping vowed to take control of the island of Taiwan, CNN's Will Ripley with his report.



WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The loudest applause at China's Communist Party Congress when leader Xi Jinping

promised reunification with Taiwan. The self-governing democracy claimed but never controlled by Beijing's communist rulers.

XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT: We insist on striving for the prospect of peaceful reunification. But we will never promise to give up the use of


RIPLEY (on camera): Do you think Xi Jinping actually believes that peaceful reunification will happen?

IAN EASTON, AUTHOR, "THE CHINESE INVASION THREAT": No, absolutely not. If he did, he would not be engaging in the largest tailored offensive military

buildup that the world has witnessed in at least a century.

RIPLEY (voice over): China's power bigger economically and militarily than the former Soviet Union says Ian Easton.

EASTON: Their biggest military strength is size, size of their missile force, size of their amphibious force, size of their air force, their navy,

their cyber capabilities, their space capabilities.

RIPLEY (on camera): Is there any doubt in your mind that Xi Jinping is going to try to make a move on Taiwan?

EASTON: Well, there's no doubt, the only question is how and when.

RIPLEY (voice over): That burning question top of mind for Taiwan's government, the islands record defense spending, dwarfed by China's massive


SU TZU-YUN, DIRECTOR, TAIWAN INSTITUTION FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE & SECURITY RESEARCH: Actually Taiwan right now face the threat from China is very huge

and immediate.

RIPLEY (on camera): The threat from China is huge and immediate.


RIPLEY (voice over): And getting bigger U.S. Intelligence says President Xi gave the order. China's military must be ready to take Taiwan by 2027. But

he's still deciding if he'll do it. President Joe Biden said repeatedly, the U.S. military would defend Taiwan.

He's authorized more than $1 billion in ARM sales to Taipei, Taiwan taking cues from Ukraine, focusing on asymmetric unconventional warfare.

TZU-YUN: That can give Taiwan more opportunity to defeat such a huge force.

RIPLEY (voice over): Defending this democratic Ireland from its nuclear armed Nemesis will be the greatest military challenge of the 21st century

Easton says.

EASTON: So if Taiwan falls and Xi Jinping is able to shatter the U.S. alliance system, democracy will cease to exist in our country. Taiwan is

the frontline. It is the geostrategic nerve center of our world today and that is likely to remain true for decades to come.

RIPLEY (voice over): U.S. and its allies must do more than sell weapons; he says defending Taiwan is defending the free world. Will Ripley, CNN,



ANDERSON: Well, on this day, echoes of Shakespeare seem to be emanating from Britain. Picture a wild scene in the House of Commons with an

embattled leader fighting for political survival. British Prime Minister Liz Truss was grilled in the House of Commons just hours ago and she

defended what has been her disastrous and now mostly scrapped fiscal plan. Take a listen.


LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And what is the ultimate fighter and --. We have delivered on the energy price guarantee. We have, we've delivered

on the energy price guarantee, we've delivered on national insurance. We are going to deliver to stop the militant trade unions disrupting our



ANDERSON: But it wouldn't be a surprise of course if it was the opposition roaring back at her but actually many of her own party in disagreement

without the political chaos. Unleashed of course last month by the Truss mini budget isn't only a UK dilemma.

And what happens in Downing Street plays out in the wider financial markets and the PMs make or break. Commons performance also comes on the same day

inflation hit more than 10 percent in the UK heightening Britain's cost of living crisis.

So granted mistress is no King Lear wondering in a terrible storm, the turmoil gripping a premiership is still on a grand scale. Let's get to

London into CNNs Bianca Nobilo. The question really remains at this point.

Just 40 odd days into this premiership, if careless to lose her finance minister, who many say she's thrown under a bus, they were good friends,

and they put together this fiscal event. And it does beg the question at this point.

It's not only the opposition, but it's also members of her own party who clearly want to see the back of her. Does she sail as she goes? She says

she's a fighter not a quitter. Can she hang on at this point?


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, I guess she might say that she's a fighter or not a quitter. But it might get to that point where

she's pushed out by her own MPs. And they try and leverage her behind the scenes to recognize that she simply has no road left. She doesn't come on

the competence of her party.

She can't pass legislation. She has been buffeted by different priorities of MPs and interest groups, and she simply can't lead. And you mentioned

earlier, Becky, the fact that there seems to be an absence of governing, and of leadership, clearly, and that's what we're witnessing today.

There's rumblings in Westminster at the moment that we might be starting to see resignations, I've been speaking to MPs on what's happened in the last

few minutes. And they're just as confused as we are.

So I think this all underscores just how febrile the atmosphere is how anything could change the current predicament of Liz Truss, will she last a

little longer, will there be an urgent appeal to oust her, even just hours after she declared to the House of Commons that she was a fighter and not a


We've since had reported that she has canceled the event that she was supposed to be out visiting a British company and also speaking to the

media, that's now not happening. So it's just so difficult to get a sense of whether the ship is studying and stabilizing somewhat or if actually

it's all just spinning out of control, Becky.

ANDERSON: I mean, the fiscal event or mini budget, whatever you want to call it, it's all over now bother shouting, isn't it? So we might as well

forget about it. But it certainly didn't do the markets any favors.

It was described by Liz Truss and their finance ministers as radical not reckless, quite frankly, at this point, you could describe her government,

or her governing is farcical. And she does seem to be losing people like flies at this point. What does this mean for the kind of wider reputation

of the UK and UK assets of course, because that's incredibly important at this point, isn't it?

NOBILO: Absolutely. Farcical is a word that a Conservative MP used to describe this current situation to me earlier, Becky. So you're absolutely

right there. And they will recognize it and can understand that the damage is being done to Britain's international reputation. And it's not just Liz

Truss and her premiership is basically since 2016.

And the decision for Britain to leave the European Union that surprised allies all around the world to then the turbulent years of Boris Johnson in

office. And now to have this prime minister, who has not got the mandate of a general election victory behind her who is proceeding with radical

agendas and then having to U-turn on them the next day.

Obviously, it's going to unsettle Britain's allies on the continent, the USA, we've heard Biden make veiled remarks as well about Liz Truss's recent

actions. So all in all, we can definitely say that it's unsettling Britain's relationship with allies and undermining any form of position

that Britain is trying to project for itself internationally.

ANDERSON: Yes, and what is so ironic is that traditionally, it's a labor government that markets and investors are sort of skeptical about a labor

government and the sort of more Keynesian bent, you know, tax and spend as opposed to the sort of supply side economics that Liz Truss was, it seems

at least trying to effect for the UK and the idea being that that would sort of stabilize people's attitude towards UK assets.

But anyway, it's not happening at the moment. Let's see what happens next. Thank you for that. Well, with the U.S. midterms less than three weeks

away, President Joe Biden is set to make a big announcement on how he is going to try to curb energy prices for Americans.

Coming up more on his plan and the son of a 72 year old American imprisoned in Saudi Arabia defends his father. What he told CNN is up next.



ANDERSON: The U.S. midterm elections are just three weeks away. In the coming hours President Biden is expected to address an issue, top of mind

for millions of U.S. voters which is energy prices. Well that's gone down since a few weeks ago.

But crude oil prices are still relatively high after OPEC plus announced plans to cut production. Well, Jeremy Diamond joins me live from the White

House and what is it that Mr. Biden is expected to announce today?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the big figure Becky is 15 million. That's the number of barrels per oil. The President Biden

intends to announce today that he is releasing from the U.S. strategic petroleum reserves that comes on top of 165 million barrels altogether,

that he's released since last spring.

That puts the total at 180 billion barrels sorry, million barrels of oil that the president will have released. All of this intended to try and

stabilize oil markets and of course, try and curb rising gas prices here in the United States.

Of course, this is all coming at it, as you mentioned that a critical time period less than three weeks to go until the midterm elections. Gas prices

right now are about 20 cents higher than they were a month ago. They have started to come down a little bit over the last week.

But there are still enormous concerns about the potential for future rises, in particular, because of what we heard from OPEC and Russia earlier this

month announcing a combined 2 million barrels of oil per day production cut.

Now what we're going to hear from the president today is not only this plan to release these 15 million barrels, also talking about the possibility of

releasing additional barrels of oil beyond that 180 million pledge, should conditions require it in the months to come.

And he's also going to be announcing plans to replenish that strategic petroleum reserve, which is at a 40 year low right now at about 400 million

barrels compared to its total capacity of over 700 million barrels. But that will only happen once crude oil prices come down to somewhere in the

range of 67 to $72 per barrel.

But to be clear, you know, when you look at 15 million barrels that are going to be released, that's compared to a total U.S. consumption per day

of about 20 million barrels. So a big part of today is not necessarily the big impact that this is going to have. But it's also of course, about

messaging, political messaging ahead of those crucial midterm elections, Becky.

ANDERSON: And we know energy prices, the economy inflation, top of mind of Americans, who will be voting on November the eighth. Thank you. Well, a

son of an American citizen is pleading for help from the U.S. government to help secure freedom for his father who was imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.

Scott McLean is on the story. And he joins me live from London. Scott, what do we know?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Becky, yes. So Saad Ibrahim Almadi was actually arrested in Saudi Arabia back in November of last year. His

son says that he's only coming forward now because well, the U.S. State Department had asked him to keep quiet about the case so that they could

work with the Saudis behind the scenes.

Now he's gone public in hopes of getting his father's case. Some attention given that earlier this month, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison with

another 16 year travel ban tacked onto that, according to his son.

All of this is over a series of tweets that Almadi sent from the U.S. that were pretty mildly critical of the Saudi government over things he says

like tax policy or the suggestion to name a street after journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul, something

that the U.S. believes was approved by the Saudi Crown Prince.

Now Almadi has not been able to be in touch with his father directly, but he says that through the State Department he has been told he's been

tortured listen.



IBRAHIM ALMADI, SON OF U.S. CITIZEN SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS IN SAUDI PRISON: My father received a freezing temperature and his cell that you wake them

up in the middle of the night. They prevent him from sleeping. They torture him until he convicted himself that he made some tweets in order to

destabilize the kingdom. My father is nowhere near being dissident.

My father, he is a senior American citizen who just wants to look freely unhappy in the United States.


MCLEAN: Now CNN has reached out to the Saudi government last night and then again today for comment, but we've yet to receive a response. Of course,

Becky, U.S. Saudi relations have been busy been pretty strained as of late most recently over the OPEC plus decision to the OPEC plus decision to cut

oil production at a time when of course the war in Ukraine has put energy in pretty tight supply.

Now the State Department for its part says that it has raised its concerns with senior levels of the Saudi government repeatedly. And as recently as

this weekend it is working to determine whether it should be labeled a wrongful detention.

The younger Almadi though that you heard from earlier is wondering what's taking so long he says that if his father was imprisoned in Russia or Iran,

you'd be hearing about it in the headlines every day. Becky.

ANDERSON: Scott McLean is on the story, Scott, thank you. Well, up next, it's been called the boat the brightest of all time. Why this gamma ray

bursts could be one of the most powerful explosions ever in space.


ANDERSON: Well, astronomers are calling it a once in a lifetime event and it is got an awful lot of scientists feeling like they have been touched by

stardust. This is NASA's animation of a gamma ray burst.

Now scientists say it happened last week and they believe a massive star more than 2 billion, 2 billion light years away, collapsed in a super nova

explosion. How about that? I love this part of the show and bring on CNN, its Kristin Fisher, who is going to show us what all this excitement is

about, have a look at this.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE & DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: This is one of the biggest and brightest explosions in space ever recorded by telescopes. It's

so bright, that scientists and astronomers believe that they're not going to see anything else quite like it potentially for decades. And so what

you're seeing there, that's actually some, some gamma rays.

It's taken by a gamma ray, sensor and telescope something that can see that type of particle. And this all started this giant explosion started about

2.4 billion light years away. It's been traveling through space for billions of years.

And then finally reached Earth and the telescopes and sensors in our solar system last week, 10 days ago, on or about 10 days ago, on October 9. And

so what scientists believe happened is that there was this massive explosion of a star likely 30 to 40 times the size of our Sun.

And what that explosion was, was a supernova explosion, a star dying essentially and becoming a black star. And when that happens what you're

seeing on your screen right there is that stream of particles that comes from a supernova explosion.


FISHER: These are traveling through space at a very high rate of speed in the form of X- ray and gamma ray particles. And those gamma ray particles

are known for producing the most powerful explosions in the Universe. So that's what this was. One team of researchers are now you know, inside

their research group are now calling this the boat, you know, kind of like the go at the greatest of all time. Well, this is their analogy for the

boat the brightest of all time.

And so this really was something that scientists weren't expecting took them by surprise, and they may not get to see anything quite like it for at

least a few decades.

ANDERSON: Quite remarkable. Now you know what a boot is. Thanks for joining us, CNN continues after this.