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U.S. Considers Dramatic Expansion of Ukrainian Forces Training; China Signals "New Stage" in COVID-19 Strategy after Protests; The Spectacular Downfall of FTX. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired December 01, 2022 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Right. Welcome back. This is a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD we are live from Doha for you and I am

Becky Anderson.








ANDERSON: We have to turn to a tragic story, an Iranian man apparently killed for celebrating a World Cup match. Human rights activists say 27

year old Mehran Samak, shown here in a social media video, was shot in the head by Iranian security forces for honking his horn to celebrate Iran's

loss to the United States on Tuesday.

CNN was also given footage from his funeral, where mourners were heard chanting anti-government slogans. Some other Iranians cheered Tuesday's

U.S. World Cup victory over Iran. They saw it as a way of protesting the country's hard line Islamist regime. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is following

the story for us.

And the story here of, course, it is that there are some Iranian fans who really feel like a win by the team, if they'd gone through to the next

round, would have been co-opted by the Islamic regime. Sadly, it seems that one man, one young man has lost his life as a result of this.

I know it's quite difficult, very difficult to get detail on the ground. But you have been talking to people.

What are they telling you?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, from what we understand, 27 year old Mehran Samak was one of the many Iranians who, as you

mentioned, took to the streets in the early hours on Wednesday in cities across the country, celebrating the football team's defeat at the World


Because many felt that the Iranian regime had taken football away from them, that national pride for so many Iranians. They felt that the regime

had hijacked football, hijacked this team for its own propaganda purposes.

So the defeat of the team was the defeat of the regime for so many Iranians who are out celebrating as we saw.

We understand from Iran Human Rights, the Norway based group as well as activists, that Mehran was shot in the head and killed by regime forces,

they say, while he was out on the streets of his northern port city of Bandar Anzali in the early hours on Wednesday.

The Iranian judicial authorities today saying that his death was suspicious, as they described it, saying that he was killed by a pellet

bullet. And they have launched an investigation into his death.

Of course, the international community doesn't really take these investigations seriously. We've heard from the United Nations over the past

couple of months, all these investigations into the deaths of protesters do not meet the international standards of independence and partiality and


The regime, of course, is making it very difficult for us to report, to get information on incidents like this and what has been going on in the

country for the past couple of months. We are not allowed to report from inside Iran. It's very hard for us to reach people inside of the country.

And people take huge risks if they try to speak with us. We have really been working hard to try and confirm more details, reports that he was out

in the car with his fiancee, that he was honking his horn when he was shot. Very, very difficult for us, Becky, to report. But we are continuing to try

to do so.

ANDERSON: Jomana, thank you.

Well, a critical meeting right now between two NATO allies, the French president Macron is in Washington for a state visit with President Biden.

The Ukraine war is an issue that both unites and divide them. That story is coming up.





ANDERSON: Ukraine is racing to keep its lights on after waves of Russian airstrikes decimated critical infrastructure there. Millions are in the

dark as a brutal winter sets in.

In the capital, Kyiv, the administration says heavy Russian shelling left the southern city of Kherson without power. And in the Zaporizhzhya region,

emergency power outages are being implemented now.

Meanwhile, we're getting word that the U.S. is considering more intense training for Ukrainian forces. Some 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers could be

instructed every month at a U.S. military base in Germany.

The war in Ukraine, a critical topic of a major diplomatic meeting right now in Washington. U.S. President, Joe Biden, receives his French

counterpart French president, Emmanuel Macron, in Mr. Biden's first state visit since he took office.

The two are expected to speak to reporters soon, before going into their bilateral meeting, Mr. Biden said the two allies are united on Russia's

war. But there are some differences.

As CNN's Stephen Collinson writes, and I quote, "Macron has at times been at odds with the United States over Ukraine and has kept up contacts with

Vladimir Putin, even after his invasion, warning that the West should make sure it does not humiliate the Russian president if there's ever an

international peace effort.

"Macron will be a key player and his open channel to Putin will, therefore, be useful for the United States."

CNN's Melissa Bell following the story from Paris. We'll check in with her in a moment. First, let's get you to Natasha Bertrand, who is in Washington

for more of her reporting about the United States training Ukrainian forces.

This is an important leg to the story. This training program will be a significant move by the United States. Explain why and what more we are

learning about the details of this program.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Becky, it would be a dramatic ramping up of the number of Ukrainian soldiers that the Americans

are training in Germany. And it would be about 2,500 soldiers per month, as many as 2,500 soldiers per month.

Compare that to roughly the couple thousand that the Americans have trained to date, since the war in Ukraine started. So the number of soldiers is not

the only thing that would change in the U.S. training regimen. It would also be the kind of training that they receive.

They'll be trained in what is known as combined arms tactics. And that is significant because, to date, the U.S. has been training them on specific

weapons systems. This would be a much broader training to make them more effective on the battlefield writ large, coordinating, you know, in a

better way, making it more likely that they can actually expel the Russians from Ukrainian territories.

So this would be a dramatic escalation of the United States' training of the Ukrainians. It is unclear how much of an impact it will ultimately

have, because, right now, of course, what Ukrainians are saying that they really need is ammunition, their weapons, things that are actually


While the United States does believe that the winter months will create kind of a lull in the fighting that will allow some of the soldiers to be

removed from the front lines and engage in that training, some Ukrainians are also a bit wary that it could remove a significant portion of Ukrainian

soldiers from the front lines that are actually needed, Becky.


ANDERSON: Yes, thank you.

Ukraine, Melissa, will clearly be, you know, an incredibly important issue, not the only issue to be discussed, I'm sure, between Emmanuel Macron and

Joe Biden, but really important. Macron, of course, has played a delicate role through this war. Some would feel that description is slightly

generous in his contacts with Putin.

What will he be looking to accomplish on this visit?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This visit is really going to be, Becky, about trying to get some kind of concessions from the

American side on trade and energy, Becky.

Behind that unity we've been talking about on Ukraine, they're really strengthened over the course of last nine months or so, as you say. In the

beginning, Emmanuel Macron really insisting on an open conversation with Vladimir Putin.

He stood out amongst Western leaders, in fact, as that emerged as something that is not yielding anything, the unity within NATO I think surprised NATO

members themselves.

That unity, of course, it will be on display again in that bilateral meeting without -- the press conference, rather, in which we will hear from

the two presidents reiterating, no doubt, they are determined to see this through together.

But it is what the consequences of the war in Ukraine have been on Europe that will be at the heart of president Macron's concerns. The Inflation

Reduction Act that will come into effect next month, Becky, Europeans say it will hugely penalize their industries as president Macron told American

lawmakers on Capitol Hill yesterday.

This may solve some of your problems but it really only worsens ours. Europeans feel very strongly that these subsidies protectionist in their

nature are not what is needed as Europe faces this winter not just the consequences of the war and its economy but of course, the problem of

energy prices.

And president Macron is also looking for help on that, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. Thank you.

Melissa and Natasha on the story, thank you to you both.

Spanish police are investigating a series of letter bombs sent to high profile targets around the country, including one sent to the prime

minister. Another delivered to an air base near Madrid.

The latest envelope was intercepted at the security post at the U.S. embassy in Madrid on Thursday. Another letter exploded at the Ukrainian

embassy in the capital on Wednesday, injuring one person. Let's just be quite clear here, Spain is boosting security measures. Let's bring in

journalist Al Goodman, who joins us live now from Madrid.

Is it clear, you know, what these devices are?

Who is sending them?

And why at this point?

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky, a very fast-moving story, as you mentioned. At this time a day ago, we knew about one of these letter bombs.

Now we know about six, the latest one here at the U.S. embassy.

The public comes in down below. Now what authorities are saying, an official briefing saying that there are similarities between all six of

these in the way of the content and the way they were put together.

What they have not revealed is exactly what that similarity is. It's been questioned by reporters but they deflected that. They have not revealed

where these came from.

Here's how the official briefed reporters, hear how he put the initial search for trying to find who is behind this.


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.


GOODMAN: Now another official told Spanish radio on Wednesday night that a couple of these letter bombs seem to be coming from Ukraine, why the

Spanish press is wondering, Becky, if this has to do anything with Spain's support for Ukraine after the Russian invasion of it.

Spain is a NATO member but the defense minister says none of this will deter Spain from continuing to support Ukraine -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Al Goodman is in Madrid for you, apologies for the quality of the sound there. Thank you.

COVID barriers are coming down in some parts of China as one top official calls for a more thoughtful approach to fighting the virus.

Probably not the U.S. trip they had envisioned, why the new Prince and Princess of Wales are booed as well as cheered in Boston. A live report is

just ahead.





ANDERSON: Welcome back, I'm Becky Anderson in Qatar. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, a special edition, of course. We are here covering what

is going on both on and off the pitch at the World Cup. More on that coming up.

Mass testing, quarantines, people literally locked inside their homes. That is China's consistent formula for fighting COVID-19 since the outset. We're

talking nearly three years.

After an impressive wave of protests, the Chinese government apparently is rethinking its strategy. The manufacturing hub of Guangzhou removing

barriers from the streets and lifting lockdowns in parts of the city.

The capital Beijing also loosening local restrictions this week and just yesterday word from a top official that the country is entering a new stage

and mission in pandemic controls.

Thousands of buildings and communities remain in lockdown across China. Ivan Watson joining us from Hong Kong.

It is interesting, isn't it, you and I have been talking for two or three days about whether there is some signaling here of a new permanent strategy

from China with regard to COVID.

Is it clear yet how permanent this is?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is not and it does also appear to be ad hoc, city by city, announcing, in the case of

Guangzhou and Shanghai, the lifting of lockdowns on some neighborhoods, while another city, Zhengzhou, says, no, no, we're going to stick with


We think we can win and eradicate COVID-19. But the messaging from the top has shifted, as you pointed out, this vice premier who is the face of the

COVID restrictions in China, 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 does not mention zero COVID at all here. You know, the Chinese government has not also publicly admitted or recognized that there were any

protests whatsoever over the course of the last week.

And what you are seeing, though, however, on Chinese television, are somber crowds lining the streets of Shanghai earlier, observing the departure of

the body of -- this was a different scene -- but observing the departure of the body of a former Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin.


WATSON: That is the kind of scene you're seeing instead of the protests in China. And that leader, who passed away at 96 in Shanghai, of leukemia,

he's being afforded the highest state honors, greeted at the airport in Beijing by none less than Xi Jinping.

This is what the Chinese government would prefer to talk about right now, a period of mourning for a former leader, rather than this unprecedented

period of disruption and defiance coming from at least 17 different cities across the country.

The internet is widely censored in China. But despite that, we are seeing nostalgia online from some people posting. And some people comparing the

relative freedom that they feel that they had in the late '90s, when Jiang Zemin was the leader of China, compared to today, when there's so much more


And you cannot even freely travel in and out of the country or even between provinces under Xi Jinping's strict zero COVID policy -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ivan Watson reporting from nearby Hong Kong. Thank you.

Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Have a look at this drone footage. It shows the devastation left by a landslide in southern Brazil. Officials there say

that happened on Wednesday after heavy rainfall. At least two people were killed and dozens more remain missing. The landslide reportedly buried up

to 15 vehicles over what was a 200 meter stretch of road.


The new Prince and Princess of Wales are on their first U.S. trip in eight years. A three-day visit to Boston, to award environmental entrepreneurs

with the Earthshot prize is being somewhat overshadowed by racism controversy back home in the U.K.

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.

Let's bring in CNN's royal correspondent, Max Foster, who is live from Boston.

How much is this impacting and overshadowing the royal couple's visit to Boston?

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: There has been. It's the question we keep asking of, you know, the palace, they're over here, they've had to

respond. Prince William actually said it's right that this senior aide stepped down immediately and racism has no place in society.

It comes off the back of all the allegations that the Duchess of Sussex made about the palace as well. We're expecting the couple to arrive here at

ROCO (ph), which is a youth empowerment project here in Chelsea, just outside of Boston.

If you hear some screaming, that's what it will be. We'll show you some pictures of them as they come in.

But it has been a distraction. Also, Becky, last night, we went to an NBA match with the Boston Celtics. There was some booing as the couple were

pointed out by the commentators. People are saying that's part of the same controversy. I don't think it was.

I was at the game, actually. That was more about, you know, Boston seeing itself as a place where the American Revolution really started.

Sorry, I'm being distracted by what's going on. And I'll get out of the way for you, Becky, I think the couple are here. I'll let the camera man zoom

in and find them.

They've had quite big crowds as they've been moving around these various events. It's not just been about the Earthshot awards, it's also been about

going and exploring projects which are similar to the work they are interested in.

Lots of security, as you can see. So Bob is now struggling to show the couple as they get out of their car. There's so many security people. We're

just going to lift the camera up and see what we can get for you.

The actual main event will be on Friday night, the Earthshot Prize. This has been described, oh, there, Princess of Wales arriving, Prince of Wales

on the other side of the car.

This is all about getting involved with young people who have been caught up in violence and supporting them to try to get them into jobs


They're going to go and meet the various people involved in that. And in they go. I think the crowds are hoping for a walkabout as well afterwards,

Becky. There are some crowds down there.

ANDERSON: Max, thank you. We'll let you go. Thank you for that.

The crypto exchange FTX has said it had a solid foundation but it turns out it was a house built in the sand and crumbled in a spectacular fashion.


ANDERSON: We are going to take a look at the downfall and demise of FTX next and the wider impact that that has and may have on the crypto





ANDERSON: The disgraced founder of the crypto firm FTX says he messed up. That is little comfort to those who lost big money because of Sam Bankman-

Fried's financial misconduct. As Christine Romans reports, the rapid fall of FTX illustrates the harsh reality of cryptocurrency.


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.


ROMANS (voice-over): Now its customers don't know how much, if anything they will be able to get back.


ANDERSON: That was Christine Romans reporting. I'm joined now by Clare Sebastian in London, who has also been watching what has been this stunning


And I have to say, Clare, a bad month, which is how he described what has gone on in the last month, I guess, it seems to be the understatement of

the year.


ANDERSON: What did you make of what we heard from him?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, a couple of things that are particularly striking. One, I think for many of us, the risks of doing

this not only are humiliating but potentially incriminating oneself in ongoing investigations.

Not only speaking out publicly but of doing it in these long wide-ranging appearances. Not only that appearance at "The New York Times" deal book

summit he did there, he did a separate interview with ABC News there this morning. It apparently lasted for two hours.

He's really speaking publicly in a very meaningful way. The second thing about, in terms of the content of what he says, he is apologizing, he's

apologizing repeatedly and profusely. But only for not knowing what was going on, not for intentionally committing any kind of wrongdoing, for

allowing funds from customers of FTX to be used to fund his hedge fund.

That's what allegedly happened here. That is significant. He admits to a pretty staggering level of lack of oversight. Take a listen to what he said

to "Good Morning, America" on ABC News.


BANKMAN-FRIED: I was not even trying, like, I was not spending any time or effort trying to manage risk on FTX, trying like, and that obviously --


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST: That's a stunning admission.


STEPHANOPOULOS: That's a pretty stunning admission.

BANKMAN-FRIED: Yes, I mean, it -- I don't know what to say. Like, what happened happened. Like, if I had been, if I had been spending an hour a

day thinking about risk management on FTX, I don't think that would've happened.


SEBASTIAN: So again, it's pretty stunning revelations there on what he wasn't doing in terms of risk management. There are these investigations

going on in the Bahamas, according to a professor familiar with the matter in the Southern District of New York as well.

I don't know that him admitting that he didn't know what was going on would necessarily absolve him of any wrongdoing here, Becky, I think he's put

himself in a risky situation.

ANDERSON: Yes, these investigations, of course, are ongoing. Janet Yellen has called this the layman moment of crypto. Just explain what she means

there for those who may not remember the days of 2008 and whether we're actually seeing that now.

Certainly there was further regulation -- there's so little regulation in the crypto market. I wonder whether that has to be sort of the legacy of

all of this.

SEBASTIAN: Yes, I think that's exactly what she was referring to, the idea that exchanges like FTX are really unregulated in any meaningful way. We

know that one of the key legacies of Lehman Brothers, the collapse of that bank in 2008, did lead to much tighter regulations in the banking industry,

things like stress tests that we see all the time, for example, in the U.S. and Europe.

I think she's saying now that this moment should lead to tighter regulation. We're hearing those kinds of calls from a number of high-

profile quarters, Becky. She did point out though that one of the good things, if you can call it that, from the FTX scandal is that has not

spilled over to other parts of the economy.

We're not seeing any fallout for the banking sector, for example. But we are seeing significant ripple effects throughout the rest of crypto. We've

seen other bankruptcies from companies connected to FTX and, of course, the evaluations of crypto assets themselves have come down significantly.

Bitcoin has lost about a quarter of its value since November 6th.

ANDERSON: Clare Sebastian is in the house, always a pleasure, thank you.

Next up, is this a new era for football in the United States?

We hear from one of the most prominent businessmen in the sport about what we can expect as North America, of course, prepares to host of the next

men's World Cup in 2026. More after this.







ANDERSON: Thanks for watching. "ONE WORLD" is up next.