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Connect the World

Imran Khan Speaks out after Being Shot at Rally; G7 Condemns North Koran Missile Launches, UNSC to Meet Today; U.S. Officials: Iran Seeking Russia's help to Bolster Nuclear Program; Close Arizona Race Among Critical Senate Showdowns; Ecuador Wrestles to Regain Control of Prisons; Hong Kong in Scrum for Survival as COVID Constructions Lift. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 04, 2022 - 11:00   ET




CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome. I'm Christina MacFarlane in London and this is the second hour of our "Connect

the World". Now just one day after being shot Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is addressing his country from the hospital in Lahore.

He reportedly said he was hit by four bullets in what he calls a plan to kill him.

On Thursday, the Former Prime Minister was writing a tapa truck at a rally when shots rang out. He was hit in the leg and was rushed to a hospital in

the - police have one man in custody who reportedly confessed.

The incident sparked protests like this one in Lahore where protesters gathered outside the governor's home and burn tires. They also blocked

roads in Quetta, one of at least four other cities where protesters are taking place. Here's what angered them.

Sophia Saifi has been following the story since it broke about 24 hours ago and she joins us now live from Islamabad. As I've been saying, Sofia Imran

Khan speaking out in the past 30 minutes there from Lahore. What has he been saying?

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN REPORTER: Well Christina, initially he was told he asked Dr. Faisal Sultan to discuss what his injuries were, and that he is

alright. Dr. Faisal Sultan explains what's happened. What what's the most important thing that Khan has said while he's been relating what's happened

in the past six months?

I think the most important thing out of that is that he has explicitly said that the agencies in Pakistan, the powers that be the handlers behind the

scenes, here in Pakistan, alluding to the military intelligence is not letting democracy function in Pakistan.

Those are the accusations that he's making. He said that he knew a day before that he would be attacked at - in the District of Gujranwala. Those

videos that you just showed if that attack that took place, he's claiming that that decision was made months ago by four influential individuals

behind closed doors.

And he'd actually made a video naming those four individuals and that video will be released to see if he's ever killed. Now, he said aside from those

four individuals, the three men who are behind the attack on Khan again he's reiterated that it is the Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, it is the

Interior Minister Rana Sinhala, and it's the Senior Intelligence Officer Major General Faisal.

And he said that they he knew about that decision a day before. He's not provided any evidence yet. And we do know that he's already made these

statements through his close aides just last night and the government had responded through the Interior Minister.

They said that these were grievous accusations and were irresponsible on behalf of Khan for doing so because he is stoking a public sentiment. Now

Khan has said that people are not stupid. That's one thing that he's just said that the public knows exactly what's going on.

And the reason why he himself has led the many rallies that he has led, when many thousands of people have come out in support of him over the past

six months was because he felt that he owed it to his supporters to lead this cause of his against the institutions and the corrupt politicians who

are currently sitting in power according to Imran Khan.

He also said that he is waiting to see what's going to happen with regards to his injuries? He's still talking, so we're still getting fresh

information. Imran Khan is known for his rather rambling speeches, he seems alright, he was sitting on a wheelchair with his foot propped up.

The party of Imran Khan had said today that they had called for protests in support of Khan and in support of early elections. So we had seen some

violence. Those videos that you've just shown on our screens, there has been violence and it has been a lot of people coming out from the north to

the south and all of the major cities of the country.

But nothing like it was feared. There haven't been massive mobs; there haven't been immense amounts of violence. There were people often think

back to 15 years ago, when another iconic politician Benazir Bhutto was killed in Pakistan.


SAIFI: So yesterday there was a lot of shock. But I think things are slowly going back to what is the norm in terms of politics here in Pakistan,


MACFARLANE: Yes, obvious parallels being drawn to Benazir Bhutto, as you say, though, as Sophia these allegations from Khan being made without

evidence. So we will wait to see what impacts they have on those ongoing protests, as you say, for now, things seem to be calm. Let's hope it stays

that way. Sophia Saifi thank you very much!

Now terror against the energy sector those words used by Ukraine's President to describe Russian attacks against energy facilities. President

Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the attacks have left four and a half million people across Ukraine without electricity.

Kyiv's Mayor says 450,000 in the capital have faced power disruptions Friday. Mr. Zelenskyy says Russia has turned its focus on attacking energy

infrastructure to make up for its failures on the battlefield. Well, CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour is joining me now live from

Kyiv this evening.

And Christiane this attack on energy will of course make the situation incredibly desperate for Ukrainians there as we head into these winter

months? What has been done that to try and help people survive the months ahead without energy?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, you can see behind me that it's really dark, darker than usual on the war situation

here. And that's because of these attacks, and the rolling blackouts that the authorities have imposed.

We've spoken to people in their homes. We've spoken to people in a business downtown, who talk about, you know, how they are just trying to cope? How

they're trying to make, do how they're trying to build up and stock up, and winterize and how they're really quite dreading a cold winter under fire


Nonetheless, they are absolutely clear; they say that this does not break their spirit, even if the Russian intention was to do that. They say that

they are still absolutely committed to the fight. And the civilians in the city anyway, some of them telling us that these as they call them, small

sacrifices are part of their war effort for the troops who are enduring so much more on the battlefield.

Meantime, and this is important because not only the president, his people, they have been asking for increased and better air defense systems. Well, I

spoke to two U.S. Senators, who were here on a special trip a co-delegation from the United States, Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Chris Coons and

asked them about stepping up the air defense system of protection. And this is what they had to say.


SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): One of our most advanced air defense systems, the - system is about to arrive here within the next coming days. And we are

deploying a significant number of those. I think there's more we can do. But it's important for folks to know that the United States is delivering

critical and timely military hardware.

AMANPOUR: Do you think your chief ally, Israel, who has American helped Iron Dome technology, which is incredibly useful, should actually, you

know, put up and said that here too?

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): I think the Israelis can help in a number of ways. And one is to deal with the Iranian drones that are actually here now

attacking. There's also rumor out there public sources that there are Iranian missiles being sold to Russia as well.

And then as you can imagine, we believe the Israelis have the ability to counter those missiles. So that can be very helpful. So I would love to see

that. I mean, I think that kind of technology - I've been clear on it.


AMANPOUR: So you heard that there from two very senior American Senators. And just to lay the ground here in the context again, it is Russian cruise

missiles. It is equipment that Russia is accused of getting from Iran, such as those Kamikaze Drones and other things. You heard the senators say

perhaps even ballistic missiles from Iran, but these things need to be stopped in greater proportion than the Ukrainians are currently able to do

so back to you, Christina.

MACFARLANE: Christiane, live for us from Kyiv tonight thank you very much. Well, let's head straight to my next guest, who is an Adviser to Ukrainian

President Zelenskyy Alexander Rodnyansky joins me now live from Kyiv, thank you so much for your time.

We were hearing just then President talking about President Zelenskyy accusing Russia of energy terrorism and we were hearing from Christiane

there speaking to some U.S. officials about the need for more military hardware. At this juncture, as we head into winter, is more military

hardware going to help prevent the energy crisis that is now gathering pace in Ukraine. Is that what you need?

ALEXANDER RODNYANSKY, ADVISER TO UKRAINE'S PRESIDENT: Well, yes, absolutely. I mean, we've seen in the most recent attacks that our air

defense system is still porous. A lot of these strikes missile strikes do come through even though we managed to shoot down a lot of them and we are

learning how to engage with these drones and how to shoot and target them?

However, it's still you know, foreign to between we need better air defense. We need defense that will protect us from potentially Iranian

rockets being launched at us. Right now we have air defense that protects us from other types of missiles but not from these rockets that are

apparently getting.


RODNYANSKY: So yes, absolutely. And that is critical for energy security, because if they do manage to destabilize our energy security, it's not just

a huge blow to our population, but it's also a huge weapon of economic warfare. Remember, we actually started exporting electricity at some point

to the EU. Now all of that's gone, obviously, because we can't even supply enough electricity and basic utilities to our people.

MACFARLANE: How are you preparing to help people through this winter? What advice what practical things are you offering for them to survive?

RODNYANSKY: Well, there's several pillars, of course. I mean, one is improving our air defense such that we can, you know, be sure that we - if

we restore energy, infrastructure is actually going to be there to stay. That's number one.

Number two is, of course, we need to make sure that our people in our population our industries are just not as safe as much as they possibly

can, on terms of their energy consumption and their heat consumption. And he tells his consumption.

And thirdly, we need to adapt in the way that we produce energy. So we are getting innovative methods of diesel engines and all sorts of mobile power

stations that we're trying to install. But obviously, that's again, not going to be sufficient to cover all the needs.

MACFARLANE: I just want to get your thoughts and turn to the situation evolving in Kherson, because we are hearing daily now, really, that Russian

forces are in retreat in the region of Kherson, but that may, in fact, be a trap to the Ukrainian forces in. What is your understanding of the

situation in Kherson and who is in control there?

RODNYANSKY: Well, Kherson is still occupied, we know that. We also know that we are preparing a counter offensive, and basically an offensive to

recapture the lost ground and the territories. It's going to be difficult. We are very casualty conscious, as opposed to the Russians or enemy side.

So we will make sure that, you know, we're not going to fall into any traps here. We need all the possible weaponry and equipment to do that, you know,

with the least amount of casualties also among the civilian population.

But the Russians are clearly up to something and as heinous as always. They're trying to deport a lot of our population towards Russia without

really their consent. They're playing all these tricks. But, you know, rest assured that we know what's going on and we'll be well prepared.

MACFARLANE: Analysts are warning to expect a ferocious battle, which is what we expect. What are you preparing for in the ground? How do you expect

this battle is going to be won in these winter months?

RODNYANSKY: Well, it's hard to make forecasts on military matters for me. But and even the generals won't tell you too much, obviously, for the

obvious reasons that you can't give away too much. And also, it's hard to, you know, just make precise estimates.

But it's not going to be easy. I mean, the winter is going to slow things down for both sides. However, I think the advantages are still going to be

an asset. Because the Russians are now equipped, their morale is still very low. They've lost a lot of their most combat ready troops.

And so we do expect we will be successful. And we will be successful. There's no question about that. The question is, how long it's going to

take and what casualties will have to be endured, unfortunately.

MACFARLANE: Our reporters on the ground have been telling us of their strategic dam in the region of Kherson. So I wanted to ask you, what would

the destruction of the Nova Corps Hoover Dam mean? And how much concern do you have right now that the Russians will target that because if they do,

it could lead to large scale disaster for Ukrainian towns and cities?

RODNYANSKY: Absolutely. But again, it's purely terrorist tactics. If they actually do that, and they destroy the dam entirely then there's also going

to spell disaster for Crimea, for example, which, you know, in terms of their water supplies, so that's going to be you know, obviously,

conspicuously bad for Russia itself.

So it's hard to imagine them doing that, you know, if they're rational, according to some sense, but it is possible, they will partially damage the

dam, in which case it could be more damaging to us than to them. Ultimately, it's really hard to again, forecast anything, it's pure

terrorist tactics, and it hasn't got anything to do, it will spell out, you know, humanitarian catastrophe, no doubt for the region.

MACFARLANE: Alexandria Rodnyansky we really appreciate you joining us to give us your thoughts at this crucial juncture of the war. Thank you, and

no doubt we will check back in with you in the weeks to come. Appreciate it.

RODNYANSKY: Thank you.

MACFARLANE: Oh, Iran's anti-government protests turn violent as demonstrators pay their respects to prominent voice in the movement killed

40 days ago. Plus, a troubling new CNN exclusive report American Intelligence Officials believe Iran is turning to Russia for a helping hand

to build up its nuclear program.



MACFARLANE: Hi, welcome back! The G7 is now condemning North Korea's barrage of ballistic missile launchers calling them unprecedented, unlawful

and demanding Kim Jong-Un's regime abandon any weapons of mass destruction.

The U.S. Security Council is set to take up the issue in the coming hours. North Korea held multiple missile launches this week including a possible

ICBM. The U.S. and South Korea responded by extending their joint military drills to Saturday, North Korea warning that those exercises will be

followed by "Sustained counteraction".

Let's bring in CNN's Will Ripley live for us from Seoul. And Will, South Korea also scrambling military aircraft today after seeing North Korean war

planes near the border what can you tell us about that?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you look at it from the North Korean perspective, we're seeing that there were 240

South Korean and U.S. war planes involved in operation vigilant storm with North Korea even before the military drills that were prescheduled began

was condemning and threatening counter action.

And so when these military drills were extended after North Korea's unprecedented ballistic and cruise missile blitz this week, followed by

their attempt to launch their most powerful ICBM over Japan for the second time this year triggering air raid sirens in Japan, it is unsurprising that

North Korea will try to match the number of 240 war planes in the south by getting as close to that number in the north with 180 war planes.

And so it's a tit for tat kind of escalation both sides showing force. The question now though, is where this goes from here, because North Korea does

have in their back pocket that potential seven underground nuclear tests that nuclear tests had upon gaiety despite North Korea's claims when I was

at this site four years ago and wants to blow up tunnel entrances, that it was irreparably destroyed.

The overwhelming intelligence from the U.S., South Korea and Japan is that the site has now been repaired and is ready for action really, with just

the push of a button all that they're waiting for is the order from Kim Jong-Un. Will that order come before the conclusion of these operation

visual and storm exercises? Or will the test happen at a later date?

But pretty much every analyst every expert that I've spoken with Christina does have the view it's pretty much a consensus that with all of these

missile tests, they're all leading up to that final test, which is going to be a nuclear test to complete this cycle.

The question is when does the cycle complete? And what will the South Korean U.S. response will be? Undoubtedly that will be a key topic of

discussion at this meeting in the coming hours.

MACFARLANE: Yes, and on that point Will, what are they hoping the UN Security Council will move to do today?

RIPLEY: So the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield this week has been speaking out publicly calling out Russia and China for their

purported neutrality but in reality its tacit support of the North Korean regime and their testing activities by refusing to condemn them and by

refusing to pile on more sanctions which arguably may or may not even be really being enforced at this stage.


RIPLEY: I mean North Korea is already one of the most heavily sanctioned economies on Earth. And yet they've made dramatic advancements with their

nuclear and ballistic missile programs. They're growing by leaps and bounds despite sanctions, and they've been doing it for years.

It is really up to China in particular, to enforce the sanctions heavily they did for a time back in 2017, when they were working with the Former

Administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, the Ex-U.S. President, but now clearly Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin with their own authoritarian

alliance are in no mood to work with the West and particularly the U.S. to punish Pyongyang.

And so it leaves the open question as to what leverage if any, the UN Security Council has at this point because Kim Jong-Un is just brazenly

defying resolution after resolution without any apparent significant consequences.

MACFARLANE: Yes, only escalating it seems day by day. Will Ripley there live for us from Seoul thanks very much Will! Now a deadly crackdown by the

Iranian regime hasn't stopped anti-government protesters from taking to the streets. Gatherings were held in Tehran and at least three other cities

Thursday to mark 40 days since the killing of Hadis Najafi a prominent protesters shot to death in late September.

One of those protests turned violent when demonstrators threw rocks at police vehicles after officers attack them. An Iranian rapper, who's become

a prominent voice of the ongoing protest, is under arrest. A state run media report Toomaj Salehi accused of encouraging these demonstrations.

Jomana Karadsheh spoke to Salehi's family who are growing increasingly concerned about his safety.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): These are the lyrics that could cause too much Salehi his life. The Iranian rap artist was arrested

last weekend, charged with crimes punishable by death, including cooperating with foreign governments forming legal groups to destabilize

the country and propagandist activity against the government but his real crime, his music, calling on Iranians to rise up and remove their

repressive regime.

Toomaj has also proudly posted these videos recently showing him out at the protests leading the chance for change. Family members say he was arrested

along with two friends in a violent raid on Sunday. His uncle tells CNN they have information he was tortured.

EGHBAL EGHBALI, SALEHI'S UNCLE: We still do not know anything about Toomaj's health or condition. The family tried hard to even hear his voice.

No one has given us any information. We don't all of Toomaj and his friends are alive or not? We want to know what happened to our boys and what

torture has an Islamic government given them?

KARADSHEH (voice over): This short edited clip released on state media Wednesday claims to show Toomaj expressing remorse. Outraged Iranians say

it's a statement made under duress. His uncle and others believe it's not even Toomaj.

The underground rapper has been a rebel for years fighting repression through his politically charged lyrics speaking out against corruption,

poverty and impunity. He was briefly arrested last year but this time is different. The regime struggling to contain the national uprising is

unleashing all its brutal tactics.

Thousands have been arrested, more than 1000 of them indicted. Many protesters accused of waging war against God and corruption on earth,

facing the death penalty in what human rights groups say are sham trials. Many fear of the ruthless republic will hand Toomaj and others the harshest

of sentences to make them an example to those who dare to dissent.

EGHBALI: Toomaj's mother was a political prisoner. She has passed away a long time ago. If my sister was still alive, she would have become Toomaj's

voice the same as I am Toomaj's voice, the same as many who are on the streets or the voice of Toomaj.

KARADSHEH (voice over): A voice they've tried to silence now louder and more powerful than ever. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.


MACFARLANE: Turning now to a CNN exclusive report. American intelligence officials tell CNN they believe Iran is seeking Russia's help to bolster

its nuclear program. Sources telling us that Intel suggests Tehran are asking Russia for assistance to get more nuclear materials and also assist

with nuclear fuel fabrication that fuel could help Iran parent's nuclear reactors and potentially cut down on the time it can take for the regime to

create a nuclear weapon.


MACFARLANE: CNN's White House Reporter Natasha Bertrand brings us the latest now from Washington. Natasha, how concerned are the intelligence

community officials that you spoke to?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, this really reflects their broader concern about the growing kind of Russia Iranian partnership

that we have seen, right? The idea behind this intelligence report is that Iran now seems to be seeking Russia's help to create kind of a side deal an

alternative to an Iran nuclear deal, which really seems like it is more and more out of reach at this point.

So the idea has been that Iran over the summer, when a deal looked close, they were actually engaging with the Russians trying to see if the Russians

might be willing to help them kind of reconstitute their program should a nuclear deal not last, because that is one of their main concerns as well

is that even if a deal is reached, a future administration might actually pull out of that deal as the Trump Administration did.

So right now, it seems like Iran is trying to hedge its bets. It is unclear, though, how much this Russian help and even whether they've

decided to help because it is unclear how Russia has responded to this, but how much those nuclear materials and that nuclear fuel would actually

shorten the breakout time that it would take for Iran to create a nuclear weapon.

It depends on the kind of reactor the fuel goes into, and a lot of other different technical things. But the bigger picture that has been emphasized

to us is that this is just another data point in the growing concerns, and the growing pattern of Russia and Iran having this growing partnership and


MACFARLANE: Yes. And to your point on the surface, the Kremlin have been outwardly opposed to Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. So what is the

likelihood that they have even agreed to help?

BERTRAND: That's the million dollar question here. I mean, obviously, Iran has been supplying Russia with hundreds of drones to use in its war in

Ukraine, and Russia has been paying for those that haven't come free.

But at the same time, you know, this is something that a U.S. officials believe Russia could feel like it is has to repay Iran for right, this

growing partnership in the military space. So the easiest way that Russia could do that, of course, is by helping Iran bolster its nuclear program.

It's unclear whether Russia would be willing to completely kind of sacrifice the future of the Iran deal to do that. But it also seems to the

officials that we speak to, like at this point, they're on such a collision course with the West as it is that they might not be as reluctant to do


MACFARLANE: Natasha Bertrand that's important reporting. Thank you so much for bringing that to us. All right, just ahead, the latest U.S. job numbers

are out and they're more nuanced than they might first appear, we'll take a closer look and see what the Federal Reserve could make of them.

And voters in the U.S. State of Arizona facing a stark choice in a critical Senate race, the Democratic incumbent trying to beat back a Republican

challenger is repeated Donald Trump's election lies. How it's playing among voters just ahead?



MACFARLANE: Hi and welcome back. I'm Christina Macfarlane in London and you're watching "Connect the World". Now the U.S. labor market remains

robust. That's despite interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve intended to slow hiring. The U.S. economy added 261,000 jobs in October.

That's more than expected, but still within a hopeful range of up to 300,000 Wall Street seems to like it, - U.S. President Joe Biden, who says

the jobs recovery remains strong. But what will the Fed make of it earlier this week, Fed Chief Jerome Powell describe the U.S. labor market as

overheated and signaled rates will likely keep climbing.

Well, CNN's Rahel Solomon joins me now live from New York, good to see you, Rahel, at the jobs market showing remarkable strength right now. But given

those comments from Powell, what do you think we're going to see from the Fed?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christina, good to be with you. Look, this was a report that was cooling for sure, but probably not enough for

the Fed, right? Citibank for example, just putting out a note about 90 minutes ago saying that this increases the probability of another 75 basis

points when the Fed meets next month or three quarters of 1 percent.

There are a few reasons why, so 261,000 jobs being added in the month of October, certainly stronger than most economists were expecting that

expectation was closer to 200,000. But that was cooler than we saw in the month of September; we also saw September was revised up.

So that is not necessarily positive news for the Fed and wages increase more than expected all of those reasons, Christina, leading Citibank and

others to suggest that we will likely see another aggressive rate hike when the Fed meets in mid-December.

MACFARLANE: And what do you think Rahel about this goal of a soft landing, you know, tightening economic conditions to drive down inflation, but not

enough to take the economy into a painful recession? And given this report, are there any indications do you think that this is even doable still?

SOLOMON: So I think there are two ways to read this, right. So given this report, it certainly indicates that we're not necessarily on the brink of a

recession right now. Because what we saw in the report, Christina is that these are not jobs that were lost during the pandemic. These were new jobs.

And we know that companies wouldn't be generating new jobs, creating new jobs if there wasn't strong support for their demands and services. So that

doesn't indicate that indicates that we're not on the brink of a recession. On the other hand, it appears, you know the Fed has been raising rates

since March; the medicine doesn't appear to be working without really seeing a significant slowdown.

And by the way, Christina, we also got some employment data earlier this week here in the U.S., which showed that job openings actually tick back

up. So there are 1.9 open jobs right now for every American looking. So Jay Powell has talked a lot about that imbalance.

He would actually like to see that ratio closer to one to one. So we're still very far from there, but in terms of whether we are sort of staring

straight ahead of recession right now, this report indicates no.

MACFARLANE: Well, good news for now, I guess. Rahel Solomon, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Now, the economy is no doubt top of mind for

U.S. voters ahead of next Tuesday's midterm elections. But there's also great interest in their last president's political plans moving forward.

Sources tell CNN Donald Trump's top aides are eyeing the third week of November as the ideal launch point for his 2024 presidential campaign. He's

out stumping for Republican candidates and told a crowd in Iowa last night to "Get ready".

U.S. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, hopes voters will think about January 6 and it's lingering aftermath when they head to the polls. He told the

crowd in California that democracy is under threat and called next week selections, the most important of our lifetime.

Well, the U.S. state of Arizona is ground zero for those concerns. And there have been reports of voter intimidation during the early voting

period. As CNN's Kyung Lah is in Scottsdale for us this hour.

Kyung Lah, Arizona Senate races one of a handful happening across the U.S. that could take the balance of power in Washington and the Republican

candidate has repeated Donald Trump's stolen election lies. So tell us more about how this race is unfolding. And what voters are saying.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the voters are telling us this sure they care about democracy. We especially hear that

among the Democratic base and some independents. But increasingly it is seeming to be theoretical, especially among Republicans that when there are

other pressing issues that democracy is third, fourth on the list especially when you consider what is looking ahead here in this county in

this particular area on the inflation rates.



BLAKE MASTERS, ARIZONA REPUBLICAN SENATE NOMINEE: Thank you for being the tip of the spear. Let's go manufacture this roadway.

LAH (voice over): Our Republican resurgence pledges Senate nominee Blake Masters in the final stretch closing with this message.

MASTERS: They've made life in America life in Arizona, more dangerous, less affordable. LAH (voice over): That resonates with Evelyn Tinsley, small

business owner, mom of four.

EVELYN TINSLEY, REPUBLICAN VOTER: A lot of things have changed since Biden have gone into office. Food has definitely gone up. It's crazy, especially

with how many people we have.

LAH (voice over): What Tinsley does not worry about is, Donald Trump, urging Masters to lie about the election like Republican gubernatorial

nominee Carrie Lake.

DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Look at Kari. Kari is winning with very little money. And if they say, how your family is, she says the election

was rigged and stolen. You'll lose if you go soft. You're going to lose that base.

MASTER: I'm not going soft.

LAH (on camera): What do you say to moderates who are concerned about the economy? They're also concerned about what you're saying about the 2020

election, the election denials?

MASTER: I don't think you're concerned about what to say about 2020. I think the most important things by far right now to voters are inflation

time in the --.

LAH (voice over): Democratic Senator Mark Kelly will test that belief with a message of his own, labeling masters as extreme on abortion, social

security and democracy.

SEN. MARK KELLY (D-AZ): Blake Masters has some beliefs that are just dangerous for Arizonans. Somebody who thinks they know better than everyone

about everything, letting them make decisions for you is dangerous.


LAH (voice over): Election deniers at the top of the Republican ticket are why Keith Greenberg is at the Democrats rally.

GREENBERG: Republicans have some momentum. But I think Arizonans are smart enough to know how to vote properly and protect democracy.

LAH (voice over): The husband of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Kelly is leaning into his experience as an astronaut and his

service as a Navy combat veteran.

BARRACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: He is actually a top gun.

LAH (voice over): Propelled in these last hours by a democratic powerhouse.

OBAMA: And if you've got election denier serving as your governor, as your senator, as your secretary of state, as your attorney general, then

democracy as we know it may not survive in Arizona. That's not an exaggeration. That is a fact.


LAH: And emphasizing exactly how important the state of Arizona is to national U.S. politics. There are a trail a number of national supporters

coming in to back both the Republican as well as the Democrat.

On the Democratic side, Christina, we're going to see Dr. Jill Biden here in town for Senator Kelly, notably though and this again really gives you a

sense of how you know President Biden is not helping the Democratic candidates in the state. He is not going to be joining his wife here.


MACFARLANE: An interesting development. Kyung Lah there for us, as we count down to that crucial date on Tuesday next week, thank you very much. You

can join us Tuesday for an in-depth special coverage of the crucial U.S. midterm elections which will determine control of congress.

It starts at nine in the evening here in London and 1a.m. in Abu Dhabi. Now thousands of nervous Twitter employees are right now waiting for an email

to drop in their box to tell them either good or bad news. They're staying or they're gone. The new billionaire boss Elon Musk sent a memo to staff

saying lay-offs will begin Friday morning.

The staffers who get sacked will find out via email by the time this hour is up. Several Twitter employees have already filed a class action suit

they claim the firings violate U.S. law. Well, Musk says Twitter has seen a massive revenue drop as some advertiser's pause their ad spend to see what

other moves he makes. But he hasn't addressed any of the lay-offs today.

CNN's Oliver Darcy, as you can see here is joining me with more details. What are you hearing about the scale of the cuts that could be coming


OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Well, we're already seeing a lot of employees post to Twitter that they have been laid off or they've been

locked out of their company systems. And so we're seeing a lot of employees basically tweet about their time over at Twitter and how reminiscing on the

time they had there.

We don't know the exact scale of these lay-offs quite yet. But reports this week have indicated that it could be as much as half of the company. Elon

Musk could find himself in some hot water for how these lay-offs however have been conducted if they are that big.


DARCY: Because there are these U.S. federal regulations requiring employers to notify employees 60 days in advance if they are going to be conducting

mass lay-offs. And it seems like obviously Elon Musk did not do that in this case. And so Twitter employees have filed a class action lawsuit

earlier today regarding that.

And the big picture, of course here is that this is coming right before the midterm elections, you know, days before the midterm elections when foreign

adversaries tried to manipulate the conversation to sow discord in the U.S.

And also U.S. political campaigns and people who support these campaigns have in the past been willing to spread misinformation, disinformation. So

Twitter, this hugely important communications platform has now been thrown into chaos days ahead of this all important vote for the pivotal midterm


MACFARLANE: Yes, you can understand the concern, especially if you're cutting back on functionality of staff by up to some reports say 50

percent. Oliver, I'm afraid we're going to have to leave it there. I'm not sure you can hear me. But thanks very much for giving us your insight.

DARCY: Thank you.

MACFARLANE: I appreciate it. All right, up next on "Connect the World" the drastic measures Ecuador is being forced to take to combat an explosion of

gang violence in its prisons. We'll be right back.


MACFARLANE: Hi, welcome back. We want to take you to Ecuador now which has been roiled by gang violence. Two provinces now under a state of emergency

after a series of deadly attacks that killed five police officers and left countless prison guards injured.

The president is blaming the attacks on powerful drug gangs operating inside the country's prisons. More than 400 people have died in Ecuadorian

prisons since 2020. Well, Stefano Pozzebon is live for us in the region. Stefano, what is it that triggered this rash of violence and why are the

government struggling to get control of this situation?

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, the Ecuadorian government is calling this wave of coordinated attacks against these police forces a retaliation

for the transfer of a certain number of prisoners that sent a number of gangsters from the literal penitentiary which is Ecuador's largest prison

in the city of Guayaquil to other prisons around the country.

Later on Thursday, the government has said that up to six people have been detained and the police forces have completed an operation to take back

control of the literal prison. Of course prisons is at the center of the story because in recent year we are seeing that the prisons in Ecuador have

become the theater of a violent struggle between the rival drug cartels.


POZZEBON: And going back to your question, Christina of why is the government struggling so much to contain these violence with these

astonishing number of up to 400 people killed behind bars in violent attacks since 2020. The reason is that Ecuador is not used to this level of


It's not used to drag at warfare. It's not a country that produces drugs such as Colombia and Peru, which are its neighboring country. And up to a

few years ago, it was not a trafficking country because of changes in the drug trade and better law enforcement here in Colombia where I am.

And in Peru, drug cartels have become used to use in Ecuador as a launching point for its drug trades towards North America, Central America and in

some cases, even the Far East. This means that competing drug cartels are fighting to control those profitable drug routes.

And that fight takes place in the prisons where gangsters from different cartels spend day to day next to each other. And that is why Ecuador is

struggling to come up with a coordinated response because it's a level of violence that the country has not seen in its history.

It's something that we've seen more used to see in countries such as Mexico here in Colombia, but not in Ecuador and the government declared time and

time again state of emergencies try to come up with a coordinated response. But until now, it hasn't been able to stem this violence, Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yes, that clearly continues to be an ongoing problem not just for Ecuador, but the region as a whole. Stefano, thank you very much for

bringing us that report, I appreciate it. Outrage now an agony in China as desperate parents demand justice. Children are dying as the country sticks

to a stringent zero COVID policy. CNN's Selina Wang reports now from Beijing.


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A 14 year old girl lies in bed convulsing at a COVID quarantine facility in China.

Someone comes over saying the kid has a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and no one is coming. She died soon after. The man who says he's the girl's

father posted this video online filming his daughter's body.

He's demanding justice. I bet the Communist Party to investigate, he says, CNN hasn't been able to independently verify the videos. They've been

censored in China. Along with these videos of a father desperately trying to revive his three year old son, he can't get his child to the hospital

fast enough because of COVID restrictions in Lanzhou city. The boy later died.

Enraged residents took to the streets swarms of armed police have been back. In Lanzhou city some were forced to quarantine outside in the court

in the parking lots. This viral video which CNN could not verify shows others forced to stay in their bathrooms sleeping under urinals.

In year three of the pandemic every positive case and close contact is still sent to government quarantine facilities like these. And this one,

the video says it's a quarantine site for kids in Harlan province, a little boy jumping on bricks to avoid the pool of dirty liquid. This is where they

use the bathroom to stop parent's crowd outside to protest.

Protesters rushed to the streets of Lhasa, Tibet demanding the end of a lockdown that's lasted for more than 80 days. And in Zhengzhou city workers

are fleeing Apple's biggest iPhone plan to after a COVID outbreak. Masses of workers carrying their luggage walk long distances across highways

through villages, even farm fields.

Those left behind at the factory claim living conditions are subpar. Videos appear to show workers literally fighting for boxes of supplies. China's

leader Xi Jinping claims zero COVID puts lives above all else. But for many it's precisely the policy itself that's ruining their lives.

This woman sobs on the ground crying that after she was caught with her mask pulled down, the government suspended her business for 30 days, losing

a month's income. Metal spikes which the man filming says were installed on a compound gate to prevent residents from leaving or red plastic barriers,

this one separating a father from his daughter.

The little girl - asks her dad how he's going to get home. But her father, like millions across China likely has no idea when he can go home or when

all of that will end. Selina Wang CNN, Beijing.



MACFARLANE: Truly desperate situation for family separated there in Beijing, thanks to Selina Wang for that report. OK, coming right up, we'll

turn to the welcome return of one of Hong Kong's most iconic sporting events, the Rugby Sevens as the city tries to bounce back from the pandemic

that's next.


MACFARLANE: Welcome back. Now they're already billionaires, but two and two of the most successful men in America. But now sources say music mogul Jay-

Z and Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos are considering making a joint offer to buy the Washington commander's NFL team.

The team's owner said earlier this week they were thinking about selling this comes months after U.S. House committee investigating owner Dan Snyder

accused him of fostering a toxic workplace.

Now really has been a rough couple of years for business in Hong Kong constrained by COVID restrictions not to mention the political biases now

in with China's tightening control. But there is a chink of light with the return of a major sporting tournament that could finally be a sign of how

the city is starting to spring back. Our Kristie Lu Stout has the story.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's the city's biggest sporting event. It after a long hiatus, the Hong Kong sevens is back.

ROBBIE MCROBBIE, CEO/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HONG KONG RUGBY UNION: We really want to make a statement that we still hear Hong Kong is still a resilient,

vibrant city; we're still open for business.

STOUT (on camera): This iconic leg in the global rugby series is Hong Kong's first major sporting event since the pandemic began. It's seen by

many as a symbol of the city's reopening after more than two years of isolation.

STOUT (voice over): Hotel quarantine has been eliminated, social distancing restrictions eased and hoping to revive its status as a global business

hub. Hong Kong this week hosted a high profile financial summit of first and almost three years.

SEBASTIAN PAREDES, CEO, DBS BANK HONG KONG: We've been closed for too long. We are beginning to open up following the other parts of the world that

have already opened up. And this is a tangible demonstration that Hong Kong is back.

STOUT (voice over): Back but not quite a mask mandate remains in effect. Visitors are not allowed into restaurants or bars during the first three

days in the city. And then there's the task of navigating Hong Kong amid simmering U.S. China tensions.

VERA YUEN, LECTURER OF ECONOMICS, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: The West would now understand that Hong Kong is not only part of China, but its closer to

China than before. This geopolitical tension is going to cloud the future of Hong Kong's economic development.

STOUT (voice over): Hong Kong needs the return of international business. In the wake of punishing COVID-19 controls and Beijing's political

crackdown, its economy is struggling. Talent has been leaving in droves and competition is rising from regional rivals like Singapore.

To bring in more business, Hong Kong's top leader who was sanctioned by the U.S. government recently unveiled a $3.8 billion trial for top global


ALICIA GARCIA-HERRERO, CHIEF ASIA PACIFIC ECONOMIST, NATIXIS SA: I wanted to focus on the visa requirements because I think that particular policy

will bring talent from the Mainland. It will be more Mainland dominated, it won't be as global as it used to be, it will be a different international

financial center.


STOUT (voice over): For more than four decades, people from all over the world would come to Hong Kong for the sport and the spectacle. This year

the fans are back. But thanks to lingering COVID curbs at a reduced capacity and with far fewer international guests.

MCROBBIE: We're not quite back to full normality yet, but we're well on that path. And I think we are hopefully an important milestone on that


STOUT (voice over): The buzz is back but it's hard to reclaim the title as Asia's world city when the stands are stocked with local fans. Kristie Lu

Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


MACFARLANE: I can tell you I've been to the Hong Kong sevens three times in three different costumes. It is such a fun event and obviously a great

showcase for the region, great to see it back. And that is it for our show "Connect the World" for now. Thank you so much for joining me. "Inside

Politics" with John King is next live from Washington.