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Connect the World

Germany Arrests 25 Suspected in Pilot to Overthrow Government; Raphael Warnock Wins Key U.S. Senate Runoff Election; Messi Looks to Go Out on a Winning Note; Morocco Celebrates History-Making Quarterfinal Appearance; Ukrainian Soldiers Freed in Prisoner Swap talk to CNN; Prince Harry: We Don't Get Out Much. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired December 07, 2022 - 11:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade at the CNN Center. Welcome to "Connect the World". We begin in Germany major

arrests in an alleged plot to overthrow the government. Police staged early morning raids across the country detaining more than two dozen people

suspected of conspiring to attack the parliament.

Another two dozen people are being investigated, prosecutors, say members of the far right group but called right Citizens Movement, followed

conspiracy myths and QAnon ideology. Germany has been struggling to get a grip on far right extremism in recent years.

I want to bring in CNN's Nic Robertson for more on this developing story. He joins us now from London. Good to have you with us Nic! So a significant

number of arrests right across Germany in about a dozen states plus two other countries. What can you tell us about those arrested?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, we know that one of them, who's believed to be the ringleader, is a sort of a minor member

of German royalty, if you like - 13th Prince Royce is how he's being referred to. There are pictures of his arrest the man in a tweed jacket, an

elderly looking gentleman and a tweed jacket.

We also know that there was a former member of parliament arrested as well; a member of the fairly right wing party, the AFD was arrested as well. The

conspiracy, though, and the plotting and planning that the police believe was underway was of a violent nature that it was going to target the

Bundestag, the parliament, literally, and tried to try to disrupt it tried to stop it working and then impose their own parallel government that they

had appointed ministers, and that they were ready to essentially get rid of the federal government and put in a new one.

And this is because the theory the conspiracy theory that they subscribe to, believes that the current German state is illegitimate. And I think

this gets to what we heard from the Interior Minister earlier, who said that they believe in violent fantasies and conspiracy ideologies.

So it does seem that the authorities have headed off what would have been a very dangerous and potentially deadly plot and plan.

KINKADE: Highly, highly concerning. Talk to us more Nic about the group's ties to QAnon and what else this group has in common with far right

extremists around the world?

ROBERTSON: Well, it believes in discredited, yet easily to access ideologies, things that don't stand the test of scrutiny. Their notion that

the German state is illegitimate is based on a theory that says that post World War II, the new German State that came out of World War II was

established and run and controlled by the allies who fought against Nazi Germany.

Of course, that's ridiculous. But like the QAnon conspiracy theorists, they take conspiracy theories that one about the pizza parlor that became so

well-known and had people showing up there et cetera that do not stand the test of scrutiny.

They stick to them, and it clearly in the case of this Former MP, have involved politicians, you know, previously, potentially good standing and

the country enough to be in Bundestag. But the conspiracy itself seems to have been shared and believed at a hardcore level by the 52 people that the

police were going after today.

We know they got 25. They know there are 27 members still out there. So these conspiracy theories have fed out, as we saw with QAnon fed into the

broader population bought supporters within and members from within the broader population and in this case, again, as was seen in Washington,

D.C., where members of QAnon turned up using violent means to gain access to the seat of power.

And that was exactly the similar type of plan that this group was planning in Germany, and in this case, they were planning to use weapons it appears

from what we've heard from the German Attorney General.

KINKADE: All right, Nic Robertson staying across this developing story for us thanks very much.


KINKADE: Well, here in the U.S. a win for the Democrats and the Biden Administration after a tough outcome for Republicans and Donald Trump.

That's because the Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael, Warnock beat Trump back to Republican challenger Herschel Walker in Tuesday's runoff election here

in the State of Georgia. Take a listen.


SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): You got me for six more years.


KINKADE: Warnock's victory gives Democrats a 51 to 49 majority in the Senate. And that 51st seat comes with benefits for Biden Administration's

legislative agenda. Well, I want to bring in CNN's Amara Walker, who joins us live here in Atlanta. Good to see you Amara! So hundreds of millions of

dollars poured into this Senate race in the end, the Democrats won and that, of course means they now have a true majority in the Senate.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It sure does. The Democrats in the U.S. Senate now have an outright majority. And this is significant, as

you mentioned, for President Biden's agenda, and it will definitely have practical impact.

So a 50/50 Senate split means that the Democrats have had an evenly split power sharing agreement with the Republicans. A 51/49 Democratic majority,

that means that the Democrats will be able to process legislation and nominations even faster. So let me give you an example.

You've got the Senate Judiciary Committee; among many other things it approves judicial nominations before it goes to the full Senate. That

Committee has 22 members in that power sharing agreement 11 Democrats 11 Republicans with this majority now there'll be 12 Democrats and 10


So essentially, what Warnock's win does is it removes this procedural hurdle that could slow down a judicial nomination process. Look, this was

an historic night. This is the first time that we saw two black candidates compete for the U.S. Senate here in Georgia, Senator Raphael Warnock he won

by 95,000 points, which means he extended his lead from the 37,000 points that he had in November. I want you to listen now to both candidates from

Tuesday night.


WARNOCK: I want all of Georgia to know whether you voted for me or not. That every single day, I am going to keep working for you. I'm proud of the

bipartisan work I've done and I intend to do more because I actually believe that at the end of the day, we all Americans, I believe in that

American covenant.

HERSCHEL WALKER, U.S. REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: One of the things I said is that when they call the race as enormous, those little lights are going

to add up. But one of the things I want to tell all of you is you never stopped dreaming. I don't want any of you to stop dreaming. I don't want

any of you to stop believing in America. I want you to believe in America and continue to believe in the Constitution and believe in our elected

officials most of all.


WALKER: The Republican Challenger Herschel Walker they're conceding starkly contrasting himself from the Former President Donald Trump, who hand picked

him as a candidate, but you heard him say, believe in the Constitution, something that Trump actually said the complete opposite to and of course,

Herschel Walker also conceding which we have not seen Donald Trump do in the past as well, Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. Walker, another Trump picked candidate to lose. Amara Walker, good to have you with us here in Atlanta. Thanks so much. I'm

joined now by Toluse Olorunnipa, who is the White House Bureau Chief of The Washington Post. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So I want to bring up a tweet, if you don't mind from the White House Chief of Staff, who on reflection said the President now becomes the

first since FDR in 1934 to see every Senator in his party reelected, who was seeking reelection. This is historic. What does this result say about


OLORUNNIPA: Well, it says that he is not the drag on his party that Republicans thought he would be going into this midterm election. We've

heard several Republican candidates especially among those who lost including Herschel Walker tried to tie their opponents or democratic

opponents to the Democratic President in part because his poll numbers his approval ratings, Biden's approval ratings that is have not been that


And so there was a sense that because Biden has low approval ratings that the people in his party would suffer but instead we've seen not only a

number of these Senators that were running as incumbents win but also we saw new Democrats beat Republicans and take over Republican seats.


OLORUNNIPA: And that's why we have a 51/49 Senate, an improvement for Democrats from the 49/49 Senate. So it does appear that Biden, even with

his low approval ratings continues to be a source of strength for the party, as opposed to a drag on his own party.

KINKADE: Yes. And of course, that brings us to Donald Trump, right? He was hoping that the midterms would give him the boost he needed for his 2024

presidential run. What do these results say about Donald Trump, given that many of his hand-picked candidates, like Herschel Walker here in Georgia


OLORUNNIPA: The key word is lost. Trump is associated with a number of losers now. Losers that he handpicked and Republicans like Trump in terms

of his ability to win in 2016, at a time when a lot of people counted him out. But since then, in 2018, and 2020, and 2021 and 2022 people associated

with Donald Trump have lost and that has made it hard for Trump to make it clear that he's the big winner, or he's someone who is popular, not only

within his party, but in the country at large.

And so we are seeing a number of Republicans pointing fingers saying that Donald Trump is to blame for plucking Herschel Walker out of obscurity and

putting him into the Senate race. And it's clear that Trump's ability to pick winners has been very much cast into doubt by the results of this

election, not only losing a Senate seat in Georgia, but also losing in places like Pennsylvania, and Arizona, and Nevada places where Republicans

thought they had a good shot.

And it's very clear that having losing associated with Donald Trump is not something that he wants, as he tries to win the nomination for the

Republican Presidency in 2024.

KINKADE: Exactly. As he said many times in the past, he doesn't - he doesn't like to lose. Of course, when it comes to the amount of money spent

on this Senate race here in Georgia, hundreds of millions of dollars poured into the campaigning. The Democrats already had a majority but now they

have a true majority, a little bit more breathing room. What will this mean for Biden's agenda pushing through legislation?

OLORUNNIPA: It means quite a bit on the Senate side, especially when it comes to things like judicial picks. Now the House we have to mention is

going to be in the hands of Republicans come January. So it's going to be hard for Biden to get some of his major legislation through.

But it does appear that now that Democrats have a clear majority in the Senate that things like judicial picks will be able to move through more

quickly. And there won't be as much bickering over sort of what parts of Biden's agenda gets to move forward.

When he wants to put in people into cabinet positions, he now will have a faster track to try to get that through and when it comes to bipartisan

legislation, to the extent that Republicans in the House will be willing to deal on some bipartisan legislation.

Biden has a clear path in the Senate to be able to get some support for the things that he wants to get done now. It's a very narrow path because

Democrats only have a two seat majority in the Senate and they don't have the House majority. But to the extent that bipartisanship can happen, it

becomes easier when you don't need quite as many Republicans as you would in a 50/50 Senate.

KINKADE: Yes, great news for Biden. Of course, a pretty tough week for Trump and the Trump Organization, guilty on for tax fraud, 17 counts, all

convicted on those counts. But the man himself Donald Trump was not implicated. So how much will that case affect him and his political chances

going forward and the sort of support he would get?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, we talked about losing this is another case in which Donald Trump is the loser in part because his organization the reason he

said that he would be a great president, the reason he said he'd be a great politician, because he had been successful in business.

That turns out that that organization had been involved in tax fraud and been involved in a number of different things that are not legal and not

having, that having that associated with your brand is not a good thing that you're trying to get people excited about your candidacy.

And we have to remember that there are a number of other cases where Donald Trump is under investigation as a person, his own person is under

investigation, not just his company. And so this is one case in which he lost and he has to really hope that he doesn't lose in some of these other

potential cases where he may be indicted for things like the January 6 insurrection, things like what happened with the classified documents that

he took down to Mar-a-Lago.

And so all of this specter of scandal that surrounding the president makes it very difficult for people to believe that he will go into 2024 as a

strong candidate, and that may make other Republicans feel like they have a shot at taking him down. Even though so far, no other Republican has been

able to defeat him.


KINKADE: And no other Republican candidate at this point has said they will challenge him in 2024 run. But I'm wondering if you think if someone else

does put their name forward, like the Florida Governor, whether we will see more Republicans, perhaps distance themselves, distance themselves from


OLORUNNIPA: We have started to see some of that, especially as the President, the Former President has made a number of outlandish and

outrageous statements, whether it's about bringing, you know, people who espouse anti-Semitism over to Mar-a-Lago or saying that we should terminate

the U.S. Constitution.

So we have heard Republicans rebuke some of those statements. And the fact that he has picked a number of these losers in the midterm elections has

also caused a number of Republicans to say maybe we should move on from Trumpism. Maybe we should move on from the kind of candidates that Trump


And so we could see, a number of Republicans decide to throw their hat in the race. We've heard a number say that they're thinking about it even

after President Former President Trump announced that he would run.

And so it's clear that the party is starting to make do a little bit of soul searching and trying to decide whether it wants to move away from

Trumpism. But it's not yet clear that the voters are ready to move away from Trumpism. And we'll have to wait and see what a Republican primary

looks like before we get the sense for whether Donald Trump continues to have the same political power among the voting base that he had when he

first ran for office in 2015 and 2016?

KINKADE: Toluse Olorunnipa from "The Washington Post" good to get your perspective. Thanks so much for your time today.

OLORUNNIPA: Thank you.

KINKADE: We're just days after landmark protests in China; Beijing is now scrapping some of its most stringent COVID restrictions. The QR code needed

to enter most public places will largely be gone and patients with mild or no symptoms will be allowed to quarantine at home, rather than being taken

to government facilities.

China says its keeping pace with the times but as our Ivan Watson explains, there are concerns of a will mean in terms of new COVID cases?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For the first time in months, the Chinese government has announced a relaxation, significant

relaxation of its strict zero COVID policies and that's triggered some real excitement for example, a surge in enquiries about plane tickets for

internal travel.

And why is it so important? Because look at some of the changes, for example, the government says that no longer will people need to be required

to get negative PCR tests to go into public places like shopping malls, for example?

Previously, a lot of cities required people to line up and get tests every 48 hours just to do things like travel on public transport or to go to

public places, asymptomatic COVID cases people with mild symptoms and close contacts of COVID cases are no longer going to be bundled off to government

quarantine, where there have been reports of kind of poor accommodations, poor food poor sanitary conditions, they can now do home quarantine.

And another big change is the lifting of restrictions on travel between regions and provinces. So I spoke with a friend in Shanghai and told her

about this for the first time and she said this is wonderful. I can go travel to see my parents who I haven't seen in another province in months


There is a flip side to some of this excitement, and that is that the Chinese government has been warning about the fears the dangers of COVID

for years now. And now suddenly, the narrative is changing. And it's saying hey, this new variant is milder, you can live with it. There are still

prominent fears in the population.

There is a run on over the counter medicines for fever and respiratory illnesses, for example, at pharmacies, but there are some real threats as

well. Epidemiologists are warning that there are large numbers of Chinese that are very vulnerable to COVID. For example, 23 percent of citizens over

80 are completely unvaccinated. That's like 8.4 million people now at risk. China is trying to rush out vaccines to these vulnerable parts of the

population right now. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.

KINKADE: Well, Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Saudi Arabia to boost ties and send a message to the United States. Xi will attend the first

China Arab State Summit and another conference during Arab Leaders from around the region. Billion dollar trade, economic and military agreements

are expected to be signed.

The growing relationship between China and Saudi Arabia comes as both countries relations with the U.S. have frayed. China and Saudi Arabia's top

trading partner and no country supplies more oil to China than Saudi Arabia. China is in a consortium that owns 49 percent of Saudi Aramco oil

pipelines and it is a major refining partner for Saudi oil.


KINKADE: Well, the Chinese President arrived in Riyadh to a lavish welcome and that's expected to continue throughout Xi Jinping's visit with the

receptions filled with pomp and pageantry.

And you can find out more about Xi's visit to Saudi Arabia and its significance on our Middle East newsletter by going to Well ahead

on "Connect the World", we will look ahead to Friday's first set of quarterfinal matches. As for football heavyweights battle it out for a spot

in the semis.


KINKADE: Welcome back. Morocco stunning welcome victory of Spain on Tuesday was more than a triumph of one nation. Workers players proudly display the

Palestinian flag alongside their own and the win was celebrated throughout the Arab world.

This is the first time any Arab nation has reached the World Cup quarterfinals and comes as an Arab nation hosts the World Cup for the first

time. With a win sent people well beyond Qatar into the streets to celebrate. Morocco sits at the convergence of the Arab world and the

African continent and its success on the pitch is being claimed by football fans far and wide. Here's a sampling of how fans in Qatar both locals and

visitors reacted to the victory.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thus you can hear my voice I lost it. I was screaming all the time. It was cheering I was jumping. I didn't know what I was

doing. I was like going crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now I'm feeling great. We are playing home. This is a good time for everybody from Qatar from the Middle East, the Arab countries

all over the world. They love it. They're having a different experience and they're enjoying their time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone's Moroccan today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is Moroccan today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only African country only Muslim country and it only Arab countries still in the quarterfinals, so go Morocco.



KINKADE: Well, joining me now is Moncef Belkhayat, the Former Minister for Youth and Sports in Morocco, and a key member of a committee trying to

bring the World Cup to Morocco, great to have you with us.


KINKADE: So this was incredible. The first African and Arab team to make it through to the quarterfinals after that incredible penalty shootout. What

an off-set what a win. Congratulations. How are you feeling?

BELKHAYAT: Thank you. We are feeling great. We are feeling happy. Morocco was yesterday crazy everyone in the streets. We had also His Majesty the

King that went into the streets to celebrate with his people. We had also a lot of Moroccans that went out everywhere in Europe in U.S., in UK, in

Spain, in France and it was a great, great historical day for the Moroccan football. And we are really happy for this performance and this

breakthrough achievement.


KINKADE: Yes, really was such an achievement and completely unexpected. Some are calling it the Morocco miracle. How would you describe it?

BELKHAYAT: I don't think it was not expected because, you know, Morocco has worked since around 10 years to achieve this performance with a lot of

work. You have three to four players that are coming from the Mohammed VI Academy of Football that His Majesty launched in 2010.

We have also a great work that was made by the Moroccan Federation of soccer, headed by Mr. Fouzi Lekjaa, who made the fantastic work of

detection of youth and Moroccan youth in the entire world. And we have today a fantastic team, which is very diverse of players that are playing

in Morocco and players that are playing outside Morocco.

Most of them are playing in European Championship. And this is why we are quite comfortable with European outside teams that we have made the needle

with Croatia, we have beaten Belgium, we have beaten Spain, and we hope that we will be beating Portugal and move to the semi-final.

KINKADE: Exactly all eyes on that game coming up. But, of course, this is the first time the World Cup has been held in the region. And at the

certainly at the start in the lead up to this carpet, it was marred by bad publicity, in terms of LGBTQ plus rights.

The exploitation of migrant workers, the 11th hour ban on BIA in stadiums, for an event whose major sponsor was a beer company, this suddenly seems to

be a moment of solidarity for the Arab world.

BELKHAYAT: What we can say is the following; we have to congratulate Qatar, for the fantastic management of this World Cup. It's a World Cup of feast

of joy, where everyone is today gathered around football. And everybody is happy about the performance of Qatar for its organization.

The second thing is that we have today created an Arab unity around Morocco and Morocco today is making all the Arab countries that are behind him as

one team and as one people behind Morocco. Regarding the questions of LGBT and all these kinds of stuff, I was part of the Morocco 2026 World Cup bid.

And we had the same questions from a lot of Federation's. What is important today is to prove that beyond all these kind of questions that are linked

to local culture, we can go and move forward behind the football and make football a feast and continue to dream as we are dreaming in Qatar today.

KINKADE: Exactly, and just very quickly will you make another bid to host the World Cup anytime soon?

BELKHAYAT: I'm not anymore, an official to take a decision like this, but as a supporter and a fan for the National Football, I hope that we can make

it. And I hope that 2026 will be a great addition in the U.S. we have lost against the U.S. It was a fair play loss. And I hope that we can make it in

2030 or 34.

But this time we read infrastructure allowing us to really bring back the World Cup to Africa. And I think that Africa now deserves after the

Moroccan performance in this World Cup to get an organization here. I would like to remind that we have organized in 2013 and 14, the local clubs World

Cup in Marrakesh, and it was a big success. It was an - event. So we have our capacity and ability to make it happen.

KINKADE: Moncef Belkhayat, the Former Minister for Sports and Youth in Morocco, good to have you with us joining us from Casablanca.

Congratulations and all the best against Portugal.

BELKHAYAT: Thank you, thank you and we'll make it Inshallah.

KINKADE: All right, we're going to be back after a very quick break. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.



KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta. You're watching "Connect the World". Good to have you with us. Well, a local official in

Russia's Kirks region says a fire the kirks airfield has now been extinguished. Russia says a Ukrainian drone attack the base Tuesday.

And what Russia says was a third Ukrainian drone strike inside Russian territory this week. Well missile and drone attacks hit Ukraine's

Zaporizhzhia region early Wednesday. And Ukraine's military says it shot down 14 Iranian attack drones overnight.

Well, yesterday on "Connect the World" we showed you pictures of dozens of Ukrainian soldiers freed in a prisoner swap with Russia. Well, our Will

Ripley spoke exclusively to some of them and hurt their emotional accounts of time spent in captivity.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At an undisclosed location near the Russian border two buses arrive with 60

Ukrainian soldiers. Prisoners of War just released in a POW swap with Russia, two women 58 man, their first minutes of freedom. This marine tells

me about his four year old daughter.

It's so emotional, he says, I can't wait to tell her I love her and that I've missed her so much. Some are parents, others grandparents, most

defenders of Mariupol, the southern Ukrainian port city that fell to the Russians in May. All of us from Mariupol worry so much, he says.

We lost the city. We couldn't fight them off. We don't know how people will react to us. They'll get a hero's welcome of course. As we go inside, they

each get a cell phone the first time they've called their families in months. How's mom, how's dad, he asks, are they alive?

Their bodies bear the scars of months of captivity. He didn't have any medical treatment, he says. It's been eight days since he's had a shower.

RIPLEY (on camera): A lot of these guys have physical injuries scars but the emotional scars the mental scars from this kind of hellish ordeal are

going to take even longer to heal.

RIPLEY (voice over): One of the two rescue women are radio intelligence operator describes months of psychological torture, lies that half of

Ukraine was now part of Russia, brainwashing, forced to read Russian poetry, sing Russian songs, pledge loyalty to Mother Russia. I wondered

when this will be over, she says.

RIPLEY (on camera): And now you're here.

RIPLEY (voice over): Sorry for my tears. For this former POW there are no tears left. Her six year old daughter is still an occupied Mariupol. She

has no way to contact her or her husband, a sailor. They surrender on the same day.

RIPLEY (on camera): How does it feel to be out and know that your husband still there, still in Russia?


RIPLEY (voice over): I worry so much about him, she says, they torture men much more than women. She's not ready to talk about how she was physically

treated. She like everyone here just wants to see family wants to go home for most from devastated and occupied Mariupol, going home is not an

option. Will Ripley CNN, near the Russian Ukrainian border.


KINKADE: Time Magazine has named Volodymyr Zelenskyy the spirit of Ukraine as the 2022 Person of the Year. The magazine is recognizing the Ukrainian

president's leadership during the war with Russia and the resiliency of the Ukrainian people.

The announcement was made on Twitter with a picture of the front cover. Time is also naming its heroes of the year and that goes to the women of

Iran. Time sights their courage and in some cases sacrifice in protesting Iran's restrictive dress code laws. It says feminists across the globe see

the outcome as a bellwether for their own struggles.

And today's students across Iran raise their voices once more. They protested on university campuses to mark the anniversary of student's day,

a dark anniversary the day that three students were killed in 1953 by Iranian security forces. One of the protests was held on the grounds of the

University of Tehran, while the Iranian president addressed a group of students inside.

A day earlier, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami voiced his support for the protest movement sparked by the death of a woman in police custody

back in September. Khatami is urging the current government to cooperate with protesters demands before in his words, it's too late. We will have

much more news for you when we come back after a very short break. Stay with us.


KINKADE: Well, let's get you up to speed on some other stories on our radar right now. Welcome back to "Connect the World". Well, as Buckingham Palace

braces for what is expected to be a bombshell Docu series on Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were in New York to accept a

humanitarian award.

They were honored for their work on racial justice and mental health. At one point Harry quipped that he thought he was going out for an evening

with just his wife. Take a listen.


PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: To be honest with you, I actually thought we were just going on date night. So I found it quite weird that we're sharing

the room with 1500 people. But we don't get out much because our kids are so small and young. So this is completely unexpected. But it's nice to

share date night with all of you. Thank you for coming.

MEGHAN, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: Thank you for bringing me on this very special date night.

HARRY: You're welcome.



KINKADE: Well, meantime the long awaited documentary Harry and Megan is set to hit Netflix in the coming hours. And then there were aide, the World Cup

quarterfinals are set seven established football powers made it through alongside one stunning quarterfinalist.

Morocco ousted Spain in a penalty shootout Tuesday, becoming the first Arab nation to reach the final eight in the first World Cup to be held in an

Arab nation. CNN's Don Riddell and Darren Lewis have a preview with what's to come.

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Well, it has been a World Cup of surprises. But now that we're down to the quarterfinal stage, it's all by and large

become rather predictable with one exception. Our Senior Sports Analyst Darren Lewis is with us to break it all down. And Darren, why don't we just

go through in chronological order with the games as they come?

So first up, we've got Brazil pre-tournament favorites against Croatia. We made it to the final four years ago. Croatia love penalty shootout, so the

World Cup and that's how they got to this stage. Brazil just played South Korea off the park in their round of 16 match. I was there. They were

phenomenal, but I'm still not sure how good they really are because I don't think Korea really turned up. Anyway what do you think?

DARREN LEWIS, CNN SENIOR SPORTS ANALYST: Well, I think it's a good point about Brazil. We don't know how good they are precisely because South Korea

fell apart after the first couple of goals went past them. What we do know about them, though, that is that they have a fantastic squad. They've got

top keepers. They have a - upfront who is scoring goals, but tackling to the top striker.

RIDDELL: For fun.

LEWIS: For fun, and they are motivated by wanting to do it for Pele. Now, we know that there's been a positive bulletin on his health, for football

legend of course. But as far as they are concerned, they came out at the end of the game down filled that big banner, they are very openly showing

that they're doing it for him. And I just wonder if that might be the spark that lights them up in the final stages of the competition.

RIDDELL: Sounds like you're going to Brazil.

LEWIS: Yes. That's a fair assumption.

RIDDELL: OK, right, Argentina, Lionel Messi, we all knows about him is fifth and we assume final World Cup. They're going to be going up against

the Netherlands. And there's a lot of previous here. They've had a lot of very, very high profile World Cup games in the past. What do you recommend?

LEWIS: I kind of can't see the - for this one. And that's going against the grain but here's why. I think the Netherlands are coached by one of the

great managers in world football, Louis van Gaal always gets his tactics right, even though he doesn't have the vintage of Dutch players that we've

become used to in the past.

I also look at young Cody Gakpo; he is one of the best talents in world football right now. He's scoring goals for fun. I think the Argentineans

have Leo Messi, what Plan A is getting the ball to Messi. Plan B is getting the ball to Messi and Plan C is to get the ball to Messi.


LEWIS: And I don't see other players stepping up to take responsibility. If they shut him out of the game, I'm not so sure Argentina had that much to


RIDDELL: While we're still having a lot of fun, it is a tournament that has really kept us on the edge of our seats and can't wait to see where it goes

next, Darren, great stuff back to you.

KINKADE: Thanks so much to Don and Darren there. And thanks so much for watching. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Stay with us Marketplace Middle East is up

next and I'll see you back here same time tomorrow.




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, MARKETPLACE MIDDLEEAST (voice over): Artificial Intelligence is changing the world as we know it, making us faster, more

efficient, and smarter. One study estimates AI could contribute nearly $16 trillion to the global economy by 2030, which is why the UAE's Capitol is

going all in on AI. From transportation to logistics, even the way we learn.

GIOKOS (on camera): I'm Eleni Giokos. In this month I'm coming to you from Abu Dhabi, and this is Marketplace Middle East.

GIOKOS (voice over): 50 years ago, this was a seaside village. Today, it's the capital city of the second largest economy in the GCC and the 40th in

the world as of 2021. Oil wealth both much of Abu Dhabi, the UAE is one of the top 10 producers of oil and gas, and more than 95 percent of it lies


About a third of the UAE's GDP is still dependent on the sale of hydrocarbons. But the government wants to change that and fast. The

country's new President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who took office after his older brother Khalifa died in May 2022.

Wants to diversify the economy into new areas, including knowledge and tech. Innovation is key to competition the government believes and the plan

is taking shape right here in Abu Dhabi, where graduate research university focused on AI opened two years ago, named after the country's President

Mohammed bin Zayed University of artificial intelligence has around 250 students. It offers two year master's degrees and PhDs in fields like

machine learning, researching new ways of using AI in medicine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are trying to help medical doctors not only to see in virtual reality, what they are building, but also to feel it to touch it.

With the haptic device we can go on top of it and then feel the force feedback. You want to try it.

GIOKOS (on camera): This is believable.


GIOKOS (on camera): It's actually, it's creating resistance, I can feel the resistance of the skin.

GIOKOS (voice over): And developing virtual humans that can engage in conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is actually fully unsupervised. So she's basically learning from a lot of data from the internet.

GIOKOS (on camera): Are you worried about inflation and higher oil prices?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, of course it is. It's depressing to know that our economy has no free lunch. It would be great if we can find an alternative

energy source.

GIOKOS (voice over): This year, an important milestone, the university's very first graduation ceremony, introducing a new generation of homegrown

AI experts in Abu Dhabi, equally important for the UAE's economy, because the school believes AI could contribute as much as $320 billion to the

region's economy by 2030.

GIOKOS (on camera): The man in charge has certainly knows a thing or two about AI. He's a professor of computer science and machine learning. He's

taught at Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and even Facebook; let's go meet the university's first President Eric Shea.

ERIC XING, PRESIDENT, MBZUAI: AI will be a foundational technique that is impacting all areas in economy, either indirectly or directly, it is

happening already. It is more than experiment, it is already in action. If I suddenly shut down all the AI services right now, people won't be able to

live very comfortably. For them--

GIOKOS (on camera): Give me an example.

XING: For example, you will be losing your search engine.

GIOKOS (on camera): Can't take that away from me, Eric.

XING: It is the architecturally a kind of an interesting and creative place. You know, we have all these buildings built for the students as

their dorms, so students do stay on campus to be very close to their professors.

GIOKOS (on camera): What is the vision then for this university? Are you hoping to be the hub of AI, but also not just working on theoretical

projects right? You want implementation.

XING: Absolutely. If you look at Silicon Valley, right Silicon Valley is, you know a key outcome from the contribution of a key university there,

Stanford University, which is more than a university, it is a hub of innovation. What we are trying to achieve here as a university is to create

a similar effect.

We want to transform this region into knowledge centric and have a new economy and the new society. And the university becomes the cornerstone of

such a project.

GIOKOS (on camera): The university actually started and--

XING: It was an interesting time to start university. We equipped ourselves with all these - conferencing and the remote teaching technology.


GIOKOS (on camera): So you mentioned Stanford. MIT is an incredible university. I mean, frankly, there are places of excellence that are in

existence that have the foundation, right to be able to work within AI.

XING: Yes.

GIOKOS (on camera): What is going to differentiate this university? Can you really go up against the mega names that have established themselves?

XING: That's actually exactly what attract me to come here focusing University on AI, give the UAE as a nation, kind of an advantage in

competing with this big names. Why? Because AI is a new discipline, it's not like some other schools has been done has been doing that for 100 years

and build a huge foundation.

It is no discipline that kind of creates a level playing field where we here as a new economy actually have a certain advantage that other

countries will not have. For example, there is a huge demand in here and also a very receptive population of new technology. And there are adequate

capitals here, so they are willing to invest on that.


GIOKOS (on camera): Welcome back to Marketplace Middle East. This is Abu Dhabi's Masdar City since 2008; it was conceived as a low carbon

development. It is a symbol of sustainability and innovation in one of the world's largest oil producing nations. And it was also one of the first

used autonomous electric vehicles and the Emirates, but certainly not the last.

GIOKOS (voice over): Max Verstappen claimed his 15th victory of the 2022 F1 season, taking the checkered flag at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this

November. But his car wasn't the only drawing attention from crowds that weekend. This fleet of all electric autonomous vehicles has fans get to and

from the racetrack.

ABDULLA AL SHAMSI, COO, BAYANAT: This is our Smart Mobility Project it consist of three automatic Rapid Transit, six, Mini or Robo buses and eight

Robo taxis.

GIOKOS (voice over): The Company testing these moving robots is Bayanat and Abu Dhabi based geospatial intelligence firm. They're called taxis despite

what looks like a typo in the branding. And while the vehicles are designed and manufactured overseas, the software they are running on is homegrown in

Abu Dhabi.

SHAMSI: Our core is a geospatial data. We are building the map itself we are building the 3d map so the car itself it will understand where it's


GIOKOS (voice over): The UAE ranks eighth in the world in terms of its overall readiness for autonomous vehicles according to the latest KPMG

index. The research shows the Emirates infrastructure such as smooth roads and 4g coverage is a major strength.

SHAMSI: It's great for marketing.

TU LE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SINO AUTO INSIGHTS: I think that Abu Dhabi in particular, is trying to get away from oil and innovation type technology

or kind of vehicle is kind of all in one because it involves batteries and involve chips and involve AI and involve big data. And I think being able

to highlight that as part of the infrastructure of your city really, really pushes you to the forefront.

GIOKOS (voice over): But the country doesn't rank quite as high when it comes to available technology. And that was the market gap Bayanat set out

to fall.

SHAMSI: We are not reinventing the wheel over here, so we know exactly with everyone else based on this technology itself on those soft webs.

GIOKOS (voice over): Bayanat is a subsidiary of G42 a company backed by the UAE sovereign wealth fund Mubadala.


GIOKOS (voice over): The tech firm listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in October. Bayanat says overwhelming demand and confidence in

these types of business solutions made the IPO possible. The company says it's hoping to further the Emirates own goal of improving efficiency and

safety on the road with autonomous EVs.

SHAMSI: I do believe that we need to be part of that future; we need to make sure that we are reducing the carbon emission from the street itself.

See more smart mobility, for sure. I mean, that we will have less accident in this region. That's our hope.

GIOKOS (voice over): Bayanat coming out party at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was an important milestone. The company began road trials one year ago, the

technology is working. But a driver is still on board, just in case.

SHAMSI: The safety officer is a mandatory requirement on those. This is a new technology people, they still trying to be cautious on allowing the

technology to move freely. We intentionally put our fleet on operation during that event, because we need them to maximize the data to understand

how it will operate on very crowded area in order to improve our service in the future.

GIOKOS (voice over): One 2018 forecast showed more than 33 million autonomous vehicles could hit the road by 2040.

LE: I'm super excited about the space in the next several years because it's going to create new opportunity. It's going to solve the problems that

we've had historically, because of either traffic problems or pollution problems, as long as the rest of the sectors evolve.

Because autonomous vehicles cannot be the end all be all, especially from a traffic standpoint is if we replace one for one, a car was an autonomous

vehicle and there's still only one person in the car that doesn't help our traffic issue.

GIOKOS (on camera): Thanks for joining us for this edition of Marketplace Middle East. If you want to hear more about the stories that we cover on

the program, check out our website. From me Eleni Giokos here in Abu Dhabi, I'll see you in the Marketplace.