Return to Transcripts main page
Connect the World
U.S. Considers Dramatic Expansion of Ukrainian Forces Training; China Signals "New Stage" in COVID-19 Strategy after Protests; Iranian Killed by Security Forces While Cheering U.S. Victory; Biden Hosts Macron at White House; Spain Boosts Security over Letter Bombs; Ukraine Begs NATO for Supplies ASAP; Calls for South Africa's Ramaphosa to Resign over "Farmgate". Aired 10-11a ET
Aired December 01, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Unprecedented protests in China having an impact on COVID policies there with the government partially
easing its draconian restrictions.
The Biden administration is considering dramatically expanding the U.S. military training provided to Ukrainian forces. We're live with the
And a race scandal threatens to overshadow the Prince and Princess of Wales' much anticipated trip to the United States.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, hello, welcome to our special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD live from Doha. More on football later.
A sense of victory today in some parts of China where COVID-19 restrictions have now been eased.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): This man is shouting, "Unsealed, we are unsealed." He rides his bicycle around an area that used to have COVID barriers. Some
local lockdowns were lifted and testing requirements eased this week after a green light from the central government.
Beijing has been under increasing pressure to ease its strict zero COVID policies since public boiled over into nationwide protests. On Wednesday,
the biggest sign yet that change is coming.
The head of Chinese COVID response informing health officials China is entering a new stage in its pandemic controls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The extraordinary protest movement in China has spread beyond Chinese borders. In Tokyo, Chinese demonstrators held signs and white paper
protesting not only China's tough COVID measures but its authoritarian rules.
In Frankfurt, Germany, a crowd gathered outside the Chinese consulate, lighting candles and holding those pervasive blank pieces of paper that
have become a symbol of these protests.
CNN's Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong following all of what are these latest developments.
Just to be absolutely clear here, Ivan -- thanks for joining us.
What is the profile of these Chinese protests?
What do we know about their age, group their demographic, who are they.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it varies. It's a pretty broad basis. The COVID restrictions affect all sectors of
Chinese society, from the richest people in the country.
For example, when Shanghai was locked down for some two months, you had millionaires who had the same restrictions that migrant workers face. There
is certainly a youth element. There have been reports of demonstrations at dozens of universities across the country. We can't confirm all of that.
We've certainly heard that some universities are sending the students home early. That is perceived to be as a measure to defuse some of that energy.
There have also been migrant workers and ordinary people, who have been pushing back at the authorities when they face the possibility of being
locked into their homes.
I think that is what's really presenting a challenge for the authorities. You can't just single out one class or one region. That's what's breaking
precedent here. These protests, some of them can only be perhaps 100 or 200 people, they happen all across the country in some 17 cities, all within
the space of several days.
And all complaining about the same thing, the draconian zero COVID policies.
ANDERSON: Excuse me, I'm just hearing a lot of cheering behind me. We are here at the World Cup, of course. I'm keeping one eye on what's going on in
I think it's important to discuss whether we believe that this is permanent change to China's COVID policy or whether this might be just a temporary
WATSON: There are certainly a shift in tone just in the past couple of days coming from top officials. I'm going to read a quote from China's vice
premier, who's been the face of the lockdowns in China.
WATSON: She said, "With the decreasing toxicity of the Omicron variant, the increasing vaccination rate and the accumulating experience of outbreak
control and prevention, China's pandemic containment faces a new stage and mission.
She made no mention of zero COVID-19. The easing that we've seen thus far is piecemeal. It's one city here, Shanghai lifting lockdowns on some
neighborhoods. Another city in the northeast saying it's not going to lift them, it wants to keep going with this.
When you ask, is this temporary?
The big question is going to be the outbreaks are not going away. There are still tens of thousands of cases officially being tallied daily.
As those rise, and that's what experts say, they're predicting there to be more COVID detected, will the Chinese government continue pulling back or
will they go back to their old strategy, which is to coop people up in their apartments?
And that's where we had the problems, people running out of food and not being able to get access to emergency health care. That made people so
unhappy in the first place.
ANDERSON: Thank you, Ivan.
Human rights activists saying a man was shot and killed by Iranian security forces for honking his car horn to celebrate Iran's loss at the World Cup.
Iran Human Rights, an organization, provided CNN video of the man, 27-year- old Mehran Samak. There were numerous reports of Iranians cheering Tuesday's football victory over Iran. They saw it as a way of protesting
the country's hard line Islamic regime.
CNN was also given footage from Samak's funeral, where mourners were heard chanting anti government slogans. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is following the
story for us.
I know the details are relatively slim.
What do we know about what happened here?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, another day of more heartbreaking news out of Iran. Mehran Samak was a 27-year-old young man,
one of the many Iranians who took to the streets in the early hours of Wednesday in cities across the country to celebrate their country's
football team's defeat at the World Cup.
We have been reporting, for many Iranians opposed to the government, the defeat of the football team for them was seen as the defeat of the regime.
They believe that their government had hijacked football, hijacked the team for its own propaganda purposes.
What we understand from Iran Human Rights, the Norway-based group, getting this information from several independent sources as well as activists, the
young man was shot in the head and he was killed in his northern port city of Bandar Anzali as he was out celebrating.
Becky, we have been really trying to gather more information about this incident and what may have happened to him and who he was as a person. But
we are not allowed to report from inside Iran. The government is certainly making it very hard for us to get information from the country with the
Also families of victims are under immense intimidation according to human rights groups, to make sure they do not speak to the international media.
People take huge risks when they speak to us.
The Iranian regime, for its part, authorities there in the past couple of hours announcing that they have launched an investigation into his death.
They are describing this as a suspicious death and saying he was shot with, quote, "a bullet palette (ph)."
We will have to wait and see what comes out of this investigation but as we have heard from the United Nations, these investigations into the deaths of
protesters by the Iranian regime don't meet the international standards of transparency and impartiality and independence.
As we're trying to get more information about this man, we came across his social media accounts. You look through these pictures. You just see this
young man who could be anywhere in the world, who appears to have had enjoyed his life, going out with his friends, very athletic.
Really enjoyed water sports in his city that is known for that. This news really is heartbreaking for so many Iranians, who have been reaching out to
us in the past 24 hours, telling us how upset they are. This is one more young life that has been taken too soon.
KARADSHEH: More than 300 to 400 people estimated, depending on which death toll you go with, which organization is reporting. Hundreds of people have
so far been killed since September just for going out and just for protesting and just for having a different view.
ANDERSON: Jomana, thank you.
ANDERSON: Right, right now in the United States, Joe Biden is hosting the first state visit ever presidency. France's Emmanuel Macron at the White
House on what is a critical time for the two allies. We'll explain why up next. We're going to get you to Washington and Paris for that.
And wearing their game faces at a Boston basketball game, why the Prince and Princess of Wales were booed as well as cheered. More on that after
ANDERSON: Right. In Washington, a big day of diplomacy for two major NATO allies. U.S. President Joe Biden and the French president, Emmanuel Macron,
meeting at the White House at this hour. This is part of a litany of events on the schedule as they tackle a number of issues, not least Ukraine, China
and climate change.
We will covering the story for you from both nations. CNN's Melissa Bell is in Paris, Jeremy Diamond is in Washington.
Start there, Jeremy, that's where the story is.
Through the prism of the White House and the U.S. administration, why is this visit so important?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Listen, for a number of reasons. You heard President Biden lay them out as he talked about what he
has talked about so many times before, his belief that we are at an inflection point in history, as it relates to democracy, as it relates to
climate change and to essentially determining what the world will look like in the next 100 years, based on the decisions made in the next few years.
President Biden clearly laying out, he believes that France is one of the U.S.' best partners for that point, because of the commonality of values on
so many fronts.
President Biden talking about the fact that France is United States' oldest ally, an unwavering partner, laying out that shared commitment to liberty
that was developed and shown through everything from Lafayette during the American Revolution, to American G.I.s landing on the beaches of Normandy.
As I was reporting on this state visit ahead of time, one thing that was clear to me was that the U.S. views Macron as a key partner, especially as
it relates to combating this war in the Ukraine, to managing the crisis from a lockstep point of view for the West.
But Biden and Macron have spent so much time together, seven calls one-on- one just this year alone, a dozen other joint calls with other world leaders. And, of course, they have met multiple times on the sidelines of
international conferences as well.
And Macron being Europe's longest serving leader within the G7 was also part of the reason for selecting France to give them the honor of this
first state visit.
DIAMOND: So they will be talking a lot of foreign policy, both with continued coordination on the Ukraine front, also discussing President
Biden's recent meeting with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, as Macron prepares for his own meeting with the Chinese president sometime early next
There are some differences as well to iron out; the U.S. has these electric vehicle subsidies through the Inflation Reduction Act, requires those
vehicles be made in North America. That is something that Macron has really struck out against the U.S. about.
So they will try to iron some of that out here today. I have been told not to expect any major deliverables. It is an opportunity for these two men, I
am told, by both the U.S. and French side, who have forged a strong, working relationship, to continue to develop that partnership.
They will, of course, do that but only through these working meetings but also tonight, through that state dinner, with all the pomp and circumstance
that comes with this visit.
ANDERSON: And that pomp and circumstance, a very visible message about how certainly the U.S. administration feels toward Emmanuel Macron,
particularly, Melissa, after somewhat of a misstep at the beginning of this administration.
Just explain, through the prism of the Elysee Palace, why this trip is so important at this point.
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course it is important, Becky. Because you alluded to the AUKUS deal and all the anger that it
caused in France. You, of course, remember back in 2021, the United States announced out of the blue, as far as Europeans are concerned, claimed to
learn about it from the press conference itself, an alliance with the United Kingdom and the United States.
It meant France would lose out on the 66 billion euro submarine deal with Australia. That was the way it was announced. France felt stabbed in the
back. Their ambassador recalled.
So this is an important visit, it comes after that as trust has been restored or tried to be restored on both sides. And yet despite all the
unity we have seen on Ukraine, that has really brought these allies together once again, there are huge divisions as well in terms of trade and
That Inflation Reduction Act we were just hearing about, a huge blow as far as Europe is concerned. They believe that it will penalize them
economically. But having got together on the question of Ukraine, it should not be up to Europe to suffer alone the consequences of so many sanctions
being placed against Russia.
The idea is that these hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of subsidies that are being given by the United States, incentives to try to move to
cleaner and greener energy, might be laudable in itself, it will be penalizing for Europe at a time, Becky, already when Europe is paying the
highest of prices, no doubt as a result of the war, and specifically, energy costs.
That's another area Emmanuel Macron will look for help on.
ANDERSON: Melissa, Jeremy, thank you.
The Prince and Princess of Wales are also in the United States but the atmosphere for their trip has been slightly different. The royal couple's
first overseas trip since the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September is being overshadowed by racism controversy in the U.K.
At a basketball game in Boston on Wednesday night, this happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): There some were chanting "USA" and there were pockets of people booing during the game. The main focus of the three days
in Boston comes on Friday when Prince William will award the Earthshot Environmental Prize, which he created.
Well, back home, British charity founder Ngozi Fulani says she was, and I quote here, "interrogated" about her heritage by a royal household member
at a Buckingham Palace event. The British media have identified the palace member as Prince William's godmother, Lady Susan Hussey. She has since
resigned and apologized.
Well, Spain is boosting security measures after a series of letter bombs in the country, including one sent to the prime minister. The latest one, an
envelope intercepted at a security post of the U.S. embassy in Madrid on Thursday.
One exploded at the Ukrainian embassy, in the capital on Wednesday, injuring one person. Let's bring in journalist Al Goodman, who joins us
live from Madrid.
AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a fast moving story. Six of these letter bombs; a day ago at this time, there was just one, the one that
exploded at the Ukrainian embassy, across town, when a Ukrainian man, an embassy worker, was holding that envelope.
And opening the envelope, he was slightly injured. Since then, there have been five more.
GOODMAN: The latest one as you just mentioned, here at the U.S. embassy, just behind me, which was cordoned off a few hours ago, with the arrival,
the detection by the security forces of this latest letter bomb.
We have no indication that any of the bombs, except for the one at the Ukrainian embassy, only one person injured.
But where are these coming from?
This is what a senior government official had to say a while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The material is homemade. The material in the five envelopes is the same, in all of them. Regarding the
delegate's statements yesterday, what I have just said is that there is an appearance they have been sent from the same international factory. But I
insist on caution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOODMAN: Now he was referring to another senior government official, talking to Spanish radio last night, Becky, it appeared a couple of these
had come from Ukraine (ph). There's a lot of speculation, especially in the Spanish press, this has maybe something to do with Spain's support for
Ukraine in a war against Russia.
The Spanish defense minister is in Ukraine, at Odessa. She held a briefing with Ukrainian defense minister, Spain is delivering more military aid. She
says none of this will deter Spain from continuing to help Ukraine.
Another one went to the Spanish prime minister, that was last week. We just found out about it today from authorities. They say a similarity between
the one at the prime minister's compound and the Ukrainian embassy is what led them to make this more public.
There was one on Wednesday night, in a northern Spanish city at a Spanish arms maker, a weapons maker. Officials say the company does make combat
weapons. The Spanish press says that some of their rocket launchers were sent by Spain to Ukraine earlier this year to help in the fight against
The company is not commenting but clearly many people are on edge, as practically every couple of hours, another one of these has been discovered
in the last day or so -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Al Goodman, reporting from Madrid, Spain. Thanks, Al.
Still ahead, the U.S. is considering a move to ramp up training of Ukrainian soldiers. This will impact the front lines.
And cryptocurrency might sound like the road to riches. But one crypto firm found out it was a dead end. The amazing demise, coming up next.
ANDERSON: Welcome back.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in Doha for you at the World Cup. You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
First up, Ukraine is struggling to keep its lights on, I am afraid. Punishing Russian airstrikes on critical infrastructure have left millions
of people in the dark, even as a brutal winter sets in.
Kyiv says the southern city of Kherson is without power after what has been heavy Russian shelling. In Zaporizhzhya, certainly in the region there,
emergency power outages are being implemented after heavy electrical consumption.
NATO foreign ministers doubled down on commitments to Ukraine after a summit in Romania, pledging equipment to repair Ukraine's energy
infrastructure and promising more aid.
Ukraine's foreign minister has been pleading for more weapons and says the country needs them faster. Kyiv asked for more supplies. It's also critical
that its soldiers know how to use them effectively.
Up until now, U.S. training on the battlefield tactics has been limited. But that could soon change. The U.S. is considering a dramatic expansion in
the training for Ukrainian forces and the impacts along the front lines could be decisive. Let's bring in White House reporter, Natasha Bertrand,
for more on this.
How significant is this move?
We are talking about the U.S. training Ukrainian forces, where and how?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky. It will be a significant expansion. To date, since the start of the conflict, the U.S.
has trained a couple thousand Ukrainian soldiers.
This plan would involve the Americans training about 2,900 Ukrainian soldiers per month. That's a very significant expansion here, one the
Ukrainians will likely welcome, especially going into the winter, when the fighting is expected to lull a bit and all of those Ukrainian soldiers will
not have as much to do, necessarily on the front lines.
They could split the time between that training and front line fighting. This training would take place in Germany, we are told. The German
officials said that they have been in conversations with the Americans about this. Of course, the U.S. has been carrying out training already of
Ukrainian soldiers there.
But this would be a significant expansion, not only of the number of soldiers that the Americans are training but also in the kind of training
that they would be receiving. This will be something called combined arms training.
Experts disagree on whether this will be a real game changer when it comes to the Ukrainians' ability to expel the Russians from their country
because, right now, what they believe actually is additional ammunition and more artillery, more weapons, as you said, the Ukraine foreign minister has
been begging the West for.
But still, the experts we spoke to agree, Ukrainians could use all the training they could get. So this plan is winding its way through the
administration, getting all of those approvals necessary. A lot of logistical questions but it does seem like the U.S. is poised to do that.
ANDERSON: Natasha Bertrand is in Washington for you.
Let's get you up to speed on the radar right now. This drone footage shows the devastation left by a landslide in southern Brazil. Officials say it
happened on Wednesday after heavy rainfall. At least two people killed and dozens more remain missing.
The landslide reportedly buried up to 15 vehicles, in a 200 meter stretch of road.
Two volcanoes are erupting at low levels in Alaska. You are looking at Pavlof and Great Sitkin volcanoes. They say Pavlof has been erupting for
more than one year. Also, they are keeping an eye on three other volcanoes in the area, showing quote, "signs of unrest."
We saw his business empire crash and burn. Now the disgraced founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX says he did not mean to do anything wrong. We
will hear from him, after the break.
And it is being called Farmgate. Details of the scandal, threatening to bring down the president of South Africa. That is after this.
ANDERSON: Well, there are growing calls for South African president Cyril Ramaphosa to resign or even be impeached over a scandal that has been
dubbed Farmgate. Let me explain.
An independent parliamentary panel accuses Mr. Ramaphosa of covering up the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars at his buffalo farm. Questions
are being asked as to why the president had so much cash at the farm, some hidden in sofa cushions and why he did not report that theft to police.
Our David McKenzie has been tracking the story and now joins us live from Johannesburg.
David, explain to us why the president would have covered up a robbery at his own farm, is it clear?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, this story is very murky. In fact, many people would say this kind of would
strain credulity. But this is what the accusers and the president seem to agree on.
There were several hundred thousand dollars, perhaps several million dollars, stuffed inside a leather sofa at his game farm, where the
president is well known to trade in buffalo and rare animals. It's a side business of his for many years.
Apparently in 2020, according to the president and his spokespeople, there was a theft at that farm. Several hundred thousand dollars at least were
taken from that sofa. And then the president says that he took that information to the head of his presidential protection.
But earlier this year, after a long time after this had allegedly happened, a political rival, one might say, a former head of the spy agency, said
that this was in fact illicit money that was coming into the country from a key aide to the president, that it was several million dollars.
The president continues to deny this, saying it was from proceeds of a buffalo sale, to a Sudanese businessman. Very murky, somewhat complex. But
now the reality is that there is a growing call, expected from opposition leaders but also from members of his own party, that he should step down or
face impeachment, Becky.
ANDERSON: So clear, potential risks to his presidency. You talk about opposition leaders and some of those in his own camp.
So how concerned is he about this?
It is clear for other members of the ruling ANC?
MCKENZIE: It is very unclear because the president, other than reiterating the statement he made to this panel, Becky, is not saying much. There's
some talk from his spokesman that he might address the nation today, possibly even tomorrow, leading a group of ANC ruling party executives.
They are due to meet, possibly today or possibly into tomorrow. The timing could not be worse for the president. In just a couple of weeks, there is
the national electric conference of the ANC, where they basically they choose the de facto president of the country going forward.
This is a party that is riven by deep divisions, factions. It is always hard to know, if someone says the president will resign, on which side of
the fence they are sitting within the ruling ANC.
MCKENZIE: The president, Ramaphosa, was elected in part because he said he would fight corruption. Now he is embroiled in this very sordid scandal of
ANDERSON: Thank you, David.
The former FTX head, Samuel Bankman-Fried, was once one of the world's richest men, with a net worth of $26.5 billion. Yes, you heard me right. He
now says he has about $100,000 left.
Well, his company has been plunged into bankruptcy. Christine Romans reports on the rapid fall of FTX that illustrates the harsh reality of the
world of crypto.
SAMUEL BANKMAN-FRIED, FOUNDER AND FORMER CEO, FTX: I mean, look I have had a bad month.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Disgraced FTX founder and ex-CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, speaking out on camera for the first time
after he resigned, after the implosion of his multi billion-dollar empire.
BANKMAN-FRIED: I am down to, I think I have one working credit card left, maybe $100,000 or something like that.
ROMANS (voice-over): Bankman-Fried, known as crypto's white knight, sitting for a wide-ranging interview at "The New York Times" deal book
summit, speaking about FTX's liquidity crisis and bankruptcy filing.
BANKMAN-FRIED: I never tried to commit fraud on anyone.
ROMANS (voice-over): The collapse of FTX is under civil and federal investigations, into whether FTX misappropriated customers' funds when it
made loans, to his hedge fund, Alameda Research. Bankman-Fried addressing this.
BANKMAN-FRIED: I was frankly surprised by how big Alameda's position was
ROMANS (voice-over): Bankman-Fried, now acknowledging the lack of corporate controls and risk management within the businesses he oversaw.
BANKMAN-FRIED: Look, I screwed up. Like I am a CEO, I was the CEO of FTX and I mean, I will say this again and again, that that means I had a
responsibility, that I was responsible. There was no person who was chiefly in charge of position on FTX and that feels pretty embarrassing in that
ROMANS (voice-over): FTX, once marketed as an easy way for people to get into crypto, using star athletes like Tom Brady, Naomi Osaka and Steph
Curry, even the Super Bowl ad with Larry David to amplify the platform.
(VIDEO CLIP, FTX SUPER BOWL AD)
ROMANS (voice-over): Now its customers don't know how much, if anything they will be able to get back.
ANDERSON: That report from our Christine Romans.
Right. While Qatar is on the screens of millions of football fans, there's another international competition here, which is watched enthusiastically.
It is the camel beauty World Cup, a competition less well known but still with rich rewards. The owners of the prettiest camels can win thousands of
dollars. You might ask what the judges look for.
Let me fill you in. The size of the body, the delicacy of the ears and healthy hooves. Botox is not allowed and is a reason to disqualify the
competitors. And I kid you not on that. That is the truth. "WORLD SPORT" with Alex Thomas is next, I will be back with another hour of CONNECT THE
WORLD in 15 minutes, stay with us.