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World Cup Upset by Saudi Arabia; Russia's War on Ukraine; Indonesia Earthquake; Iranian Authorities Use Sexual Violence against Protesters; King Charles Welcomes South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Aired 10- 10:45a ET

Aired November 22, 2022 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): It's been a fantastic morning for Saudi football fans. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to a special

CONNECT THE WORLD, live from Doha, where the world's biggest sporting party, the FIFA 2022 World Cup, is now well underway.

The first World Cup ever held in the Middle East has produced arguably the greatest football win ever for a Gulf nation and one of the greatest upsets

in World Cup history. Saudi Arabia, until today, dismissed by the critics as one of the weakest teams in the field, has stunned Argentina.



ANDERSON: This is CNN and news is never too far away. We've got a grim update for you now in the human toll of Russia's war on Ukraine.

The United Nations counts nearly 6,600 Ukrainian civilians as mortared (ph) since Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade almost

nine months ago. More than 10,000 are injured.

Meantime, an area not far from the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has again faced intense shelling. A Ukrainian military official says 60 Russian

shells fell overnight in the Nikopol district.


ANDERSON: Both sides blame each other for the attacks around that plant. Residents, of Kherson are being advised to evacuate the city recently

retaken by Ukraine. An off says Kherson's infrastructure is too damaged for people to survive the winter.

Russian state media have often downplayed major losses in Ukraine. But at least some Russian troops caught in the fighting are being brutally honest.

CNN has obtained this audio recording of a Russian soldier in Ukraine, calling his girlfriend.

And, compared to the usually optimistic tone from the Kremlin, this soldier is blunt and candid in his comments about the war. Matthew Chance has the

story -- and I have to warn you, parts of Matthew's report are graphic.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Russia's military highlights its barrage of Ukraine, CNN has obtained

exclusive recordings of a Russian soldier describing the brutal of life on the front lines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The commander's position was shelled, so he packed up and moved further back.

But what about us?

Aren't we humans, too?

CHANCE (voice-over): The Russian soldier was recorded phoning his girlfriend back home, according to Ukrainian intelligence, and telling her

candidly about the severe military setback suffered in the two months since he arrived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We had 96 people in our unit but now there are less than 50. You don't know what to expect here. Sometimes

there's friendly fire and idiots shoot at us because they don't see our coordinates.

CHANCE (voice-over): But it is advancing Ukrainian forces that are the major threat compounding low morale with high bloodshed. Ukrainian

officials now reacting to this extraordinary video of Russian soldiers, apparently surrendering, geolocated by CNN to a recently liberated town in

Eastern Ukraine.

"Come on out, one by one," a Ukrainian soldier calls out.

Then a short burst of gunfire before the video cuts off. Later, a Ukrainian military drone shows what appears to be the same men in pools of blood. The

Kremlin says it's an execution. But Ukraine says the soldiers feigned surrender and fired at the Ukrainians, accusing Russia of its own war

crime. No one disputes the horror.

It's unclear if the dead Russians were regular troops or deployed as part of the Kremlin's partial mobilization, seen here earlier this year. But the

soldier recorded on the phone indicates he was recently conscripted, complaining bitterly at being unable to leave the war zone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Being mobilized is crap. Nobody can go home until Putin announces the order. There's no way to return. And

if we weren't here, they, the Ukrainians, would already be at our borders. They would shell Moscow, Yekaterinburg, shell everything.

CHANCE (voice-over): And that constant threat of Ukrainian attack is having a terrifying effect; in particular, drone strikes which appear to

have left the soldier particularly nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My nerves are on edge. I'm afraid of every rustle, every bang. Every click makes me drop to the ground.

CHANCE: In Russian controlled eastern Ukraine, the funerals underway for more of those killed on the brutal front line that Ukrainian officials

insist would never have happened but for Russia's war -- Matthew Chance, CNN, Kyiv.


ANDERSON: To the disaster unfolding in Indonesia now. The death toll from Monday's earthquake is approaching 300 and it could go higher with the

rescuers frantically searching for people still alive in the rubble. One government official says most of the dead so far are children. CNN's Anna

Coren reports.


ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 30 seconds of the Earth violently shaking, a man in shock picks up his phone and starts


"The building has been destroyed. Everything has collapsed," he says.

He walks through what's left of his village in Cianjur (ph) district in Indonesia's West Java province after the earthquake.

As the injured seem dazed and bloodied, others scream for those few trapped under the rubble.

"Where is my child, where is my child?" a mother cries.

While a little girl sobs (INAUDIBLE).

The 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck a mountainous region about 75 kilometers southeast of the nation's capital of Jakarta at around 1:20 pm

on Monday.


COREN (voice-over): Its shallow depth at 10 kilometers meant it wreaked destruction on the surface while multiple landslides buried homes.

At the regional hospital, staff yell for people to evacuate, fearing it would also collapse. Outside, a makeshift triage center was set up, as

countless injured were brought in, waiting for medical treatment.

Doctors say most of the injuries were head traumas and fractures.

But for this mother of seven seeking treatment, her priority was for her missing child.

"The children were downstairs and I was upstairs, getting laundry," she explains. "Everything collapsed beneath me and I was crushed beneath this

child. One of my kids is still missing. My house is flattened. Good God."

According to Save the Children, dozens of schools were damaged. Students were in class of the time of the quake, having come in from lunch. Books

and bags just left by those who were lucky enough to escape.

"Suddenly the wall fell and the students were screaming and crying," explains this teacher. "There was dust everywhere. The students grabbed

each other and ran out of the building."

As search and rescue teams comb through the rubble, Indonesian president Joko Widodo visited the disaster zone to pay his condolences and offer

compensation to the victims.

He told the tireless crews to keep searching for any survivors, an outcome that's looking more and more unlikely -- Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. This is a special edition from Doha in Qatar, where you may be able to hear the call to prayer here,

as the sun goes down.

Coming up, they chose the pretty ones, as protests raged on in Iran. Witness accounts reveal how security forces used sexual violence to quell

the unrest. That report is coming up.




ANDERSON: The situation in Iran is critical as the government tightens its noose on protesters there.


Those words of alarm coming from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier on Tuesday. The U.N. human rights office also saying two

months of government repression in Iran has resulted in more than 300 deaths


ANDERSON: In an CNN investigation, eyewitnesses said sexual violence has been used to suppress, to demoralize and, in some cases, to blackmail



ANDERSON: CNN's Nima Elbagir has this exclusive report. I have to warn you, before we run it, that it contains graphic details of sexual violence.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Over these mountains is Iran. A regime that has succeeded in cutting many of its people off from the outside world.

But disturbing stories detailing the authorities' brutal retribution, systematic sexual violence against anti-regime protesters, have begun

leaking out.

We've come here to the Kurdish region of Iraq to try and find out more. This is Hannah, not her real name, a Kurdish Iranian woman recently

smuggled out of Iran. She fears for her life.

After taking off and burning her head scarf on the streets, she was arrested and detained by Iranian intelligence officers.

HANNAH, IRANIAN REFUGEE (through translator): They choose the women who were pretty and suited their appetites. Then, the officer would take one of

them from the cell to a smaller, private room. They would sexually assault them there.

ELBAGIR: Hannah isn't only an eyewitness. She also was violated.

HANNAH (through translator): I feel shy talking about this. You can still see what the policeman did. Look here, on my neck. It's purplish. That is

why I'm covering it. He forced himself on me. ELBAGIR: Then, a fight broke out with another protester, drawing away

Hannah's attacker. Hannah and others could hear screams and they believe a woman was raped in an interrogation room.

Hannah sketched out the police station as she remembers it. She estimates 70 to 80 men and women were together in a main hall that accessed four

private interrogation rooms.

It was in these interrogation rooms, she says, that she was assaulted and others were raped.

CNN was able to locate the police station through Hannah's description, eyewitness corroboration and geolocation, using key landmarks. It's in the

Islamabad neighborhood of Irmir (ph).

Based on this testimony and speaking to a number of sources, a pattern of repression comes into focus.

Police centers used as filtration points, moving protesters from one location to another, often families left not knowing where their loved ones

are held.

One Iraq-based Kurdish militant opposition party, PAK, identified over 240 people who they believe are missing within this maze of detention centers.

Human rights organizations believe the number is higher, in the thousands.

Some of the victims as young as 14. Many are man, supporting female protesters. Their punishment, as severe as the women's.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They brought four men over who had been beaten, screaming intensely in another cell. And one of the men who

was tortured was sent to the waiting room where I was. I asked him what all that screaming was about. He said, "They are raping the men."

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Based on witness testimony, CNN traced the location to an Iranian army intelligence headquarters. Voiced here by a translator,

a 17-year-old boy sent CNN a voice note following his imprisonment. We are withholding his name and location for his safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When a security guard heard me discussing the rape of the other inmates, he started torturing me all over

again. They tortured, raped me from behind.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Even as authorities visited sexual violence on protesters, regime figures accused female protesters of prostitution, of

quote, "wanting to be naked."

Of the incidents of sexual violence against protesters, inside Iranian detention facilities, most occurred in the Kurdish majority areas to the

West of Iran, home to a historically oppressed minority.

Disturbingly, in some cases, the rapes were filmed and used to blackmail protestors into silence.

There has been a real escalation, where female protesters are, as you can see here, being openly assaulted, often sexually.

But the violence against women, like the protests, are not confined to the Kurdish areas. They're often focused on locations where the protests are

most intense, like here in the capital, Tehran.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): One of these stories is Armita Abbasi's, a typical 20-year-old on social media, sharing her love of animals.

In social media posts appearing under her name, Abbasi, like many young women in Iran, criticized the regime openly after the protests began.

Unlike most, she did it without anonymity.

It didn't take long for security forces to find and arrest her. Abbasi disappeared.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): Soon after, whistleblowers began to post on various social media platforms, medics, sharing eyewitness accounts of what had

been done to Abbasi.

"First of all," they say, "there were a few plain clothes men with her and they did not let her out of their sight. Even during a private medical

examination, they were there."

"She was my patient. I went to her bedside. They had shaved her hair. She was scared and was trembling."

"When she first came, they said it was rectal bleeding due to repeated rape. The plainclothesmen instant that the doctor write that the rape was

from prior to her arrest. And then after this issue was becoming obvious to all, they changed the entire scenario altogether."

The details of these leaks were confirmed to CNN by an insider at Imam Ali (ph) Hospital, where Abbasi was brought to be examined. In a statement the

government said Abbasi "was treated for digestive problems."

The medics who treated her said that was not true.

The Iranian regime denies the rape, accusing her of leading protests, an allegation which could see her face the death penalty.

At this usually busy border crossing between Iraq and Iran, it is deceptively quiet. Those who can cross tell us the noose is tightening on


Authorities have for decades used sexual torture against Iranians. And it appears once more a familiar pattern: sexual violence deployed to enforce

an assertion of moral guardianship -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, Iraqi Kurdistan.


ANDERSON: CNN's reached out to the Iranian government for comment. We have not heard back yet. Nima now joins me from London.

It's very difficult to watch that piece. But it is so important that CNN is running it. I know how hard you and your team worked to ensure that you

could get this piece broadcast for the world.

What is going on at present in Iran?

What do we understand at this point?

ELBAGIR: To answer that accurately, really is one of the most difficult questions that we are facing. Even that piece that you saw, it took weeks,

including having to travel and try and find those who were able to flee the Iranian regime into Iraqi Kurdistan.

What the Iranian government has done more, from what information is leaking out is that, even as we sit here and now, they are escalating the

crackdown, especially within those Kurdish majority areas to the west the country.

While they're doing that, while they're increasing the militarization of the crackdown against the anti regime protests, they're also cracking down

on the communication means that protesters and other anti regime voices have been using to be heard.

So it continues to be very difficult. But what little of it is emerging, what little we are able to verify is, unfortunately, really scary. So many

people say that they are going to continue to be brave, continue to go out on the streets.

While at the same time, we are seeing just this relentless response from the regime. They seem to be really continuing to be at this clashing point

with no sense of how either side is going to emerge with minimum casualties -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nima, thank you. Nima Elbagir on that report.

And we will have a lot more news after this short break. Stay with us.





ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Doha at the Qatar World Cup. You are watching a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. I am not

exaggerating when I say it is a festival of football here.







ANDERSON: King Charles is hosting the first state visit of his new reign. The British monarch welcoming South African president Cyril Ramaphosa to

the U.K. with a full display of royal pageantry. Mr. Ramaphosa will address members of both houses of Parliament.

He was in Britain in September for the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Royal watchers saying this visit is especially significant. It's

all about trade and investment. CNN's Nada Bashir is joining us live from London.

It is an awful lot of pomp and pageantry. We love to see that.

What's behind this visit?

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a moment of pomp and pageantry. A moment of royal tradition and history as would be expected for King Charles

III's first official state visit.

This is hugely symbolic given the historic and complex history and relationship the United Kingdom shares with South Africa. We saw earlier

this morning South African president Cyril Ramaphosa arriving alongside the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Earlier in the day we'd seen them meeting in the morning, staging pleasantries about the weather and how he managed to escape the torrential

rain we saw over the last few days.

He was then welcomed by the king and queen consort. This has been a moment weeks in the making, several days of preparations. We've seen the South

African flag being raised along the mall leading up to Buckingham Palace.

We've seen rehearsals by the household cavalry. Even the palace's culinary team working on a very special and tailored menu for tonight's state

banquet. So this is a hugely symbolic affair for the royal family.

This isn't just about that pomp and pageantry; this isn't just for the relationship of the royal family but also there is a political element

here. This is an opportunity for the British government to cement and reestablish its ties with South Africa.

In particular, newly appointed minister Rishi Sunak to cement his own relationship with the South African president. Today, we are expecting to

see the South African president addressing Parliament. This will be a significant moment. We will be waiting to see what he has to say there.

He's currently visiting, touring around Westminster Abbey. But tomorrow, he will sit down for bilateral talks with Rishi Sunak.

A big focus is set to be the economy. We've already heard from the prime minister, saying that he has ambitious plans to turbocharge infrastructure

investment in South Africa as well as economic growth as well as trade between the two nations. This is a trade relationship that is worth around

US$12 billion.

This is a significant relationship. The U.K.'s biggest trading partner on the African continent. The economy and those economic ties between the two

nations will be high on the agenda at tomorrow's financial meeting -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

"WORLD SPORT" is after this break. I'll be back in 15 minutes with another hour, special hour of CONNECT THE WORLD from Doha in Qatar, with lots more

on today's shock victory to Saudi Arabia with Argentina.