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Russia Conducts One Of The Largest Attacks On Ukraine War So Far; Elon Musk Under Fire After Twitter Bans Some Journalists; Texas Braces For Massive Migrant Surge At The Southern Border; Father Of Missing U.S. College Students Says His Son Is Alive; African National Congress Meets To Decide President Ramaphosa's Fate; Firms And Charities Provide Essential Services In South Africa; Top Chinese Doctor Appears To Downplay COVID-19 Crisis; At Least 14 Killed In Violent Protest In Peru; Sights, Sounds And Flavors Of Doha's Souq Waqif. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired December 16, 2022 - 10:00   ET



ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR: Russia launches dozens of missiles across Ukraine forcing people to take refuge in metro stations. We have a fresh report

from Kyiv this hour.

Twitter has banned several accounts of high-profile journalists. Is it an Elon Musk power trip and is free speech at stake?

And the coronavirus cold, that is the latest label given to COVID-19 by one of China's top epidemiologists. We have a report from Beijing about the

stunning shift in policy.

I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai. Hello and welcome. This is CONNECT THE WORLD.

And we begin in Ukraine which is being pummeled in one of the worst days of strikes since the conflict began.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): Air raid alert. Everyone, please go to the nearest shelter. Stay in the shelter until the threat



GIOKOS: Well, air raid sirens rang out across Ukraine as cities across the entire country were hit. Ukraine's armed forces say more than 70 missiles

have been launched at the country, and says strategic bombers are being used for the first time. Regional leaders report critical infrastructure is

being targeted, and the mayor of Kharkiv says the damage there is colossal and that people are without heating, electricity, and water.

This as Ukraine Energy ministers says power facilities have already faced extensive damage in the east and south of the country, and we're also

hearing that entire sections of railways are out of power.

Will Ripley is in Kyiv for us and has more on how Ukraine is responding to one of the heaviest days of attacks in this conflict yet.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Kyiv City Military Administration says the Ukrainian capital has survived one of the most

massive missile attacks since the beginning of the full scale invasion.

I'm staying in a square where you can see destroyed vehicles from the beginning of the war. We actually can't take you to the scene of these

attacks because the targets were critical infrastructure and Ukraine has very strict rules about filming and showing these locations. They don't

want to tip off the Russians to what areas they might have hit and what areas they might have missed.

But in this case, Kyiv says that most of the missiles never reached their targets because they say out of around 40 missiles that Russia fired

directly at Kyiv which is a huge number, even for locals who've been living here and throughout this full-scale war for nearly 10 months now. They say

they shot down 37 of them. There were however three explosions reported here in Kyiv both on the east and west banks of the river, two of them in

the East, one in the West.

There are reports across Ukraine of entire cities plunged into darkness as a result of these attacks, which didn't just hit here in Kyiv they also hit

to the South in Odessa and to the North, in Sumy, and Kharkiv. But here in the capital, there were tens of thousands of people sheltering in place,

hiding and underground subway stations waiting for an all-clear, and there were sounds of explosions.

We actually heard them this morning as we were getting ready to pack up and go on a road trip, the air raid sirens went off, and there were some loud

explosions that can be heard in our vicinity. CNN staff who lived even closer to the scenes of the explosion said they also heard the sound of the

air defense systems being activated, shooting down, presumably those dozens of missiles that were headed towards the Ukrainian capital.

The number of dead and injured of course, those reports are always fluid. But as of now we know at least two people killed at least five people

injured, including children. And UNICEF just days ago warned that these ongoing Russian attacks this constant bombardment of the civilian power

infrastructure is putting the physical and mental health of nearly every single child here in Ukraine at desperate risk.

Will Ripley CNN Kyiv, Ukraine.


GIOKOS: Well, FIFA for now is rebuffing the Ukrainian president's request to share a message of peace at the World Cup final. A source close to

Vladimir Zelenskyy says he asked to appear via a video link prior to Sunday's kickoff and was surprised by the rejection. But the source says

talks between Ukraine and FIFA are continuing.

All right, so there are red lines and sanctions soon, those are the words of warning from the European Commission to Elon Musk after Twitter's new

owner banned some prominent journalists.


Germany's Foreign Office is also slamming the billionaire who's falsely accused the suspended reporters of sharing his live location and giving out

what he calls assassination coordinates.


ELON MUSK, TWITTER CEO: You dox, you get suspended. End of story. So -- and ban evasion or like trying to be clever about it, like, oh, I posted a link

to the real-time information is obviously -- that is obviously simply trying to evade the meaning. That is -- this is no different than actually

sharing real-time information.


GIOKOS: All right, so one of the banned journalist is CNN's Donie O'Sullivan, who did not share Musk's whereabouts. CNN's PR tweeting, quote,

"Twitter's increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses the platform."

CNN's Oliver Darcy joins us now live from New York.

Anyone who doxes gets suspended. That is the rationale that Elon Musk is using. If you're looking under the hood here, a lot of these journalists

are saying and can prove that they did not share his coordinates, so then the question comes, why would he suspect journalists without having these

facts at hand?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, it seems he has suspended the journalists because he is quite thin skinned. And these

journalists were reporting aggressively, but fairly, on Elon Musk and what he has been doing with Twitter. And, clearly, he did not appreciate that

sort of reporting, and so he has banned them from the platform. That's really the short answer here.

They have been reporting primarily as of late in the past 48 hours or so, on him banning an account that used public flight information to track his

private jet. Elon Musk has always hated this account, he's tried to get it shut down in the past, and now that he owns Twitter, he did that, and it

resulted in some news coverage. And then Elon Musk banned the reporters who covered that story.

And I think this has really exposed his lack of commitment to free speech. He came on Twitter and said when he bought the platform that he wanted to

make this the free speech beacon of the world and now you are seeing him ban high-profile journalists from CNN, "The New York Times," "The

Washington Post," and other of news organizations. And I think this also raises the question of, what does the free press look like on Twitter?

You see CNN in a statement said it will reevaluate its approach based on how Twitter responds, and so I think that's something to pay attention to

moving forward.

GIOKOS: And I'll tell you, I mean, seeing the response, right, the Germans have responded, regulators are now taking a close look at this, and you

alluded to this contradiction of his free speech philosophy which he committed to when buying Twitter. But this is ultimately going to cost him

advertisers and the regulators are going to be paying a lot more attention in terms of what they're going.

DARCY: Yes, I mean, to be clear, Twitter is a private company and Elon Musk owns this private company, so they can kind of do whatever they want in

terms of who they want on the platform or not, but, you know, it could come at a cost in terms of advertisers. Advertisers might not want to be

associated with a platform that's in the business of censoring journalists.

You can imagine that a company maybe like Amazon, which is a Jeff Bezos company, and Jeff Bezos owns the "Washington Post," and now Elon Musk is

banning his reporter for no good reason off Twitter, so I would be curious whether Amazon, you know, for instance, wants to continue advertising on

this platform. But there are a host of others, including news organizations.

You know, I was just on Twitter and I got an ad for the "Wall Street Journal," you know, putting an advertisement. Are they comfortable

advertising on a platform that is in the business of censoring the free press? I think there are a lot of questions that this action has raised,

and, you know, we are still in the immediate wake of this. It's going to take at least a couple of days I think to hash out, but it will be very

interesting to see whether these advertisers decide to pull their dollars off of Twitter.

GIOKOS: Yes. I mean, you're right, it is a private company, but a private company that is having an enormous impact on the way we speak, we engage in

dialogue, and even private companies have to adhere to certain standards. So I'm just curious to see how that's going to play out. We're going to be

tackling that line of questioning in the next hour with a guest.

Oliver Darcy, great to see you. Thank you so much for breaking that down for us.

DARCY: Thank you.

GIOKOS: We head to the U.S. now, to the Mexico border, where the state of Texas is bracing for a crash of migrants. A surge is already building ahead

of the forced end of Title 42 next week. Title 42 is the Trump-era policy that allows U.S. border authorities to swiftly turn away migrants to curb

the spread of coronavirus.


It has been extended multiple times. Last month, though, a federal judge struck down the policy, but put his order on hold until December 21st. The

lifting of Title 42 comes as the U.S. immigration code backlogs surpasses two million cases, an all-time high.

CNN senior U.S. national correspondent Ed Lavandera is in El Paso, Texas, for us.

Ed, could you explain what you're seeing right now ahead of that 21st of December lifting of Title 42?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, just days before this Title 42 rule is set to expire, we have seen a week's worth of

surge, a migrant surge here just specifically in the El Paso, Texas, area, which is kind of in the middle point of the U.S. southern border between

California and the very southern tip of Texas. And what we have seen is about 2500 migrants a day arriving ahead of the end of this Title 42 which

comes next week.

And it's almost like a precursor, a foreshadowing of what city officials here fear could be coming. The mayor yesterday here in El Paso says that

when Title 42 is lifted that the number of migrants arriving here in El Paso could be 5,000. And that creates a logistical nightmare.

What you see behind me are pockets of dozens and dozens of migrants who have been sleeping on the streets this week because the shelters are filled

with people. And it has been extremely frigid. Temperatures near zero degrees Celsius for much of the week in the overnight hours, but many of

these people are waiting to catch bus rides out of town. When these migrants arrive here in the U.S., very few of them stay in the border


They have court dates to appear in immigration court at a later time, but the logistical unit, there's a sanitary concern, so, you know, the city has

put out trash cans here. In fact right now the migrants are helping city workers empty these trash cans into the dumpster here. And that is the

concern that they have to worry about at this point, that people, volunteers have been coming by giving the blankets, giving them warm food

and warm drinks as these temperatures have been so brutally frigid here for much of the last week.

But the concern is just, you know, how many people are going to be arriving once this Title 42 rule expires next week. The Biden administration says

that across the entire U.S. southern border, they are anticipating anywhere between 9,000 and 14,000 people per day. That is roughly about double the

number of migrants we're seeing arriving right now at the U.S. southern border. So it is being described as a humanitarian crisis and a possible

disaster. So we will see what happens, but many of these communities bracing for what's to come next week.

GIOKOS: Yes. And hopefully government will have the resources to deal with the influx of people.

Ed Lavandera, thank you so much for that update.

And still ahead, he is alive. That's all I can say. Those are the words of the father of an American student who went missing in France. We'll tell

you where he is believed to be now in a live report from Paris.

And from roadwork to everyday security, private funds are providing vital services in South Africa, where the government can't or won't.



GIOKOS: An update now on a story we've been following in France about a U.S. college student who had been missing for more than two weeks. His

father tells CNN that Kenny DeLand, Jr., is alive. DeLand disappeared in late November while studying at a university in the city of Grenoble. We

are also hearing from Grenoble's prosecutor who says he knows where DeLand is.

Melissa Bell has been following this story from the beginning and she joins us now live from Paris.

Melissa, from the get-go, so many questions and the mystery surrounding his disappearance. No communication, but good news, he is alive. What more do

we know?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Look, we've traveled down this week, Eleni, to Grenoble to try and seek out some of his friends

that we managed to find, and the mystery continue to deepen and we were inching towards the day of his planned return to the United States, which

is Saturday, and of course every day that passed without any news was extremely worrying, of course, to Ken DeLand Sr., who really wasn't

sleeping at the stage anymore.

For 17 days he hadn't heard a thing. And the mystery had deepened of course because we've seen on the 3rd of December that CCTV footage of Kenny DeLand

Jr. obviously in a store, a sports store about an hour and a half to the south of where his university was, and then nothing at all. And then this

morning it was the news at last that his father wanted to hear. He'd been found.

We don't know still what his condition is. We don't know where he's been. We don't know why he's disappeared. None of those details for the time

being simply the fact, Eleni, that he is in communication with his family and that he is in Spain. We've learned yesterday that amongst the small

amount of stuff he left home with on the morning of the 28th of November, he actually had his passport with him.

So one of the first questions is going to be whether he ever intended to cross that border. Certainly he found himself on the other end of it, and

alive, and able at last to be reunited on the phone with his father and his parents for now -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: All right, Melissa Bell, thank you so much.

All right, we'll know in the next few days whether an embarrassing scandal will cost South Africa's president another term in office. Cyril Ramaphosa

and his African National Congress just opened their leadership convention Friday where delegates will decide if the 70-year-old should remain party


Earlier this week, the president's ANC allies blocked an impeachment vote over the so-called farm gate scandal. He is accused of covering up a

burglary at his private game farm where a huge sum of cash was found stashed in a sofa.

CNN's David McKenzie is following all of this from Johannesburg for us.

David, good to see you. Look, despite the scandal surrounding Ramaphosa, I mean he survived this impeachment vote, you've got a divided ANC and

frankly many calls for him to step down, how is South Africa -- how are South Africans seeing this ANC party conference?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think some of them are a bit exhausted by the machinations of the politics that's been

going on. In fact Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa, of course also the leader of the ANC, has been speaking at a conference a short -- I

mean, just a few kilometers away from where I am standing. He has been talking about what he says are the achievements of the party.

As you say, this scandal came at a very bad time for the president. He still hasn't fully explained himself, and this is a different kind of

audience. While he supplied that impeachment process, that was members of parliament. This is delegates from all across the country that will either

vote en masse, many hundreds of them, to choose the leadership of the ANC going forward. So it's a different type of event where it is a more

volatile scenario that faces him, though, still, despite that scandal, one believes, the sort of word on the street is that he is likely to win this

race and continue being head of the presidency.

GIOKOS: And David, I know you know this, you've done a piece on this, just how much South Africans rely on the private sector to fill the gaping holes

that are created by governments?


And it brings into question sort of the macro issues that are facing the country, whether it's electricity, whether it's safety and security,

whether it's the health care system. How does that speak into what we'll be seeing over the next few days?

MCKENZIE: Well, I think people, as I said, are exhausted by politics, and many people across South Africa just want to survive, get on with their

lives, and they feel that the government is letting them down with the lack of services. We spent some time speaking to people, seeing where that

gaping hole is, as you said, and it's quite dramatic how people are left to do it themselves.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): A cash-in-transit team evading a sophisticated criminal attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're coming after us.

MCKENZIE: You likely saw this viral video from South Africa. Attacks like this happened here all the time.

WAHL BARTMANN, CEO, FIDELITY SERVICE GROUP: So basically what we do is we do live vehicle tracking and monitoring.

MCKENZIE: Some of the best protected vehicles and cash depots are tracked real time at Fidelity's Nerve Center in Johannesburg.

MCKENZIE (on camera): Are you a step behind or a step ahead right now?

BARTMANN: We try and be one jump ahead of crime. But we know that they're very creative and they're well-organized. So we're looking at the training,

we're looking at technology.

MCKENZIE: The Air Defense Unit has come here to the east of Johannesburg. This location was the last spot that a signal came out of a vehicle that

they think was hijacked.

(Voice over): This search ends without a win.

(On camera): Is it frustrating where you see this has been thrown out?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They get away with too much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bad guys won.


MCKENZIE (voice over): Active private security officers here outnumber the police roughly five to one.

(On camera): Shouldn't the government be doing this?

BARTMANN: Well, that's why the industry is so big because I don't think government is getting to all of it.

MCKENZIE (voice over): All of this goes beyond security. On the streets of Johannesburg, private companies have to sponsor the pothole patrol. When a

fire gutted one of Africa's most important public hospitals, well-known charity "Gift of the Givers" stepped in. South Africans frequently joke

that its founder should run the country.

(On camera): The fire service, safety, security, construction, water, all of this is being handled by private individuals or charities. What does

that tell you?

IMTIAZ SOOLIMAN, FOUNDER, GIFT OF THE GIVERS: The message is very strong and clear. The country has lost faith in the government. That's the

reality. And at the same time, the country has lost a lot of hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time when I look at my kids, especially in this moment, and I see that I can't provide them with most of the thing which

they need, especially when it comes now to Christmas time.

MCKENZIE (voice over): Hope is in short supply for Vincent and Dora, who lost his construction job during COVID and says his wife left him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, the survival of the fittest, to be honest. It's not like I can say it's easy.

MCKENZIE: In (INAUDIBLE) informal settlement, the sewage water runs through the streets. The electricity is more off than on. Vincent tried to set up

citizen patrols, but they ran out of funds. He says the police come late if they come at all. The government says it's working to improve services. And

billions depend on its social grant program. But rampant corruption and mismanagement hamper these efforts.

SOOLIMAN: At the end of the day, it is our country. And I said very clearly, the country does not belong to the government. It belongs to the

people of South Africa. So we can even sit and moan and cry, knowing nothing can be done, or what did ourselves we can do something and fix it

wherever we can.

MCKENZIE: The cruel reality in the world's most unequal society, the rich can afford to secure their lives, the poor are on their own.


MCKENZIE: Many of the youth in this country, Eleni, as you well know, are unemployed. Some 68 percent of the country's youth are unemployed. That's

very scary statistic for South Africans and for the government itself. But there will be a lot of work that needs to be done to regain trust in this

government, given the levels of corruption, and even Cyril Ramaphosa, who was seen by many when he came in as someone to fight corruption, is now

tainted by scandal -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes. David McKenzie, leadership is required to deal with all those inequalities on the ground, as you explained. Thank you so much.

All right, let's get you up to speed now on some other stories that are on our radar right now.

An official investigation has been launched after a fire near the French city of Leon killed 10 people, five of them children. Regional officials

say flames broke out overnight engulfing part of an eight-story apartment building. The Leon prosecutor's office says it's not ruling out any

possible cause, including arson.


Malaysian officials say at least 19 people have been killed in a landslide while they were sleeping in tents. It happened before dawn at a campsite

just outside of Kuala Lumpur. More than a dozen people are still missing. Rescue crews are racing to find possible survivors.

North Korea says it has tested a new solid fueled rocket engine. Photos released by state media showed leader Kim Jong-un attending the test. The

move could give the regime the ability to move quickly and reliably fire an intercontinental missile in the future.

The political upheaval in Peru escalates. What the government is doing now to try and end the violence, as more people are killed in protests. That's

all coming up.


GIOKOS: Welcome back. I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai. And you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

As record high COVID-19 cases sweep across China, a prominent Chinese epidemiologist appears to be downplaying the crisis. In a virtual speech to

university students on Thursday, the doctor said the Omicron variant should be renamed the coronavirus cold. That jives with the government's recent

efforts to play down the severity of the epidemic.

This shift comes after China eased up on COVID restrictions following unprecedented protests against the nation's Zero COVID policy.

CNN's Selina Wang reports.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): As COVID rapidly spreads throughout China, the Chinese government spin is that everything is fine,

that China's COVID policy was a success and is still a success. Propaganda has taken a complete U-turn from declaring an all-out people's war on COVID

to suddenly now telling people your health is in your own hands.

There's a lot of state media headlines like this. In the "People's Daily," the headline reads start by wearing a mask and be the first person

responsible for your own health. In Xin Hua, the headline reads, in the fight against the epidemic everyone is the first person responsible for

their own health.

Other articles are praising the last three years of Zero COVID and hailing this pivot as an achievement, including this commentary from the "People's

Daily" that has gone viral. The key lines are, quote, "The virus has weakened, but we have become stronger. Chairman Xi's insightful judgment,

scientific and firm decisions shows his reliability as a people's leader. It pointed out and provided crucial guidance for us to win this people's

battle, total battle and precise battle against COVID."


A lot of people online, they're furious over that article. Some are calling it a lie that completely ignores the devastating impact of Zero COVID over

the last three years, the trauma and pain that people faced during lockdowns. No apology or no admitting that the government has ever made a


State media has instead focused on how the government is responding. The government said it will train volunteers and retired health workers to

boost manpower. The government is increasing the number of fever clinics.

This social media video shows people waiting inside of Beijing stadium that's been converted into a makeshift fever clinic. You can see some lines

forming and people waiting on benches. We're already seeing hospitals under strain here in the capital. But the really big concern is what happens when

people go back home for the upcoming Chinese New Year and COVID starts to spread more rapidly in the rural parts of China with weaker health


Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


GIOKOS: Well, that fresh wave of COVID infections is hitting some Beijing businesses especially hard. Officials in several sections of the city are

asking residents with any spare time to volunteer as food delivery drivers as the industry deals with the worker shortage. To qualify volunteers must

be in good health, have received at least three COVID vaccine doses and have their own means of transportation.

All right, in South Korea now, families whose loved ones died during a crowd crash on Halloween held a memorial service in Seoul. 158 people were

crushed to death on October 29th in a narrow alley in the city's popular nightlife district. There has of course been criticism on the ongoing

special investigation into the incident. So far two police officers have been dismissed and arrested accused of destroying evidence.

The area's former police chief and former emergency monitoring officer also under investigation for matters related to the tragedy.

Violent protests in Peru have intensified. That's despite a state of emergency. Officials now say at least 14 people have died in the protest.

Now a curfew has been set up in eight regions. Demonstrators are angry over the treatment of former president Pedro Castillo. On Thursday, Peru's

Supreme Court ordered Castillo to remain in jail for another 18 months.

The country plunged into crisis last week when Castillo was impeached and arrested after attempting to dissolve congress.

CNN correspondent Rafael Romo has been following all of these developments for us. He is now live.

Good to see you. I have to say, you know, looking at all the trauma that's been playing out and then seeing how that's translating into protest

action, it seems the underlying message here is also one of getting elections done sooner. But can that happen given the current state of

congress and the government?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's a very good question, Eleni. And what the current president, Dina Boluarte is saying is that the

earliest that they can hold the elections will be in about a year, maybe by December 2023, although she would prefer that they be held April 2024.

Let's remember that they were originally scheduled to be held in 2026.

And the thing here, Eleni, is that it's becoming painfully clear that some of the measures the government has set in place including declaring a state

of emergency may not be enough to put an end to the violence. As you mentioned, the death toll now reaches 14 after nine days of violent clashes

between protesters and security forces around the country.

Authorities say there are at least 40 people injured, eight regions throughout the country are now under curfew but Lima, the capital, is not

included so far. Among the 14 people who have died, seven who died during clashes Wednesday in the city of Huacho, where according to authorities, a

large group of people is trying to take over the local airport.

As you know, Eleni, Peru attracts thousands and thousands of international tourists every year, who are drawn to world famous sites like the Machu

Picchu in the Citadel. Hundreds if not thousands of them are currently trapped in different cities because airports are closed and they can't take

flights to make a connection in Lima to leave the country.

In the last hour, I spoke with Jon Royer, an American from Baltimore who is traveling with his girlfriend and currently stuck in Cusco. Royer told me

they face a very scary situation. Let's take a listen.


JON ROYER, AMERICAN TOURIST TRAPPED IN PERU: My girlfriend was in the restaurant and then all of a sudden, we heard whistleblowing and all of the

shops started slamming their doors and everybody ran off the street, you know, into the shops or just ran up the street.


And I did the same thing. I ran up the street because I couldn't run back into where my girlfriend was.


ROMO: He had to hang up the call because they were on their way to the airline office to try to get a flight out of there but there is really no

indication they can do so right now.

Now President Dina Boluarte who was the vice president to ousted former president Pedro Castillo published a statement, a reaction to the deadly

protest in Ayacucho saying that she mourns with the mothers of those who died and feels the pain of families throughout the country. Once again she

reiterated her call for peace but indeed a very volatile situation in Peru right now.

Eleni, back to you.

GIOKOS: Absolutely. Rafael Romo, thank you so much.

Moving on, a giant aquarium that is a popular tourist attraction in Berlin burst Friday morning. It sent one million liters of water crashing through

the hotel and shops that surrounded the attraction. Two people were injured by glass and officials say all 1500 fish in the aquarium died. The tank is

described as the world's largest freestanding cylindrical aquarium. There is speculation that extremely cold temperatures may have caused it to crack

and then burst.

And then just ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, FIFA's president defends world football's governing body ahead of Sunday's World Cup Final. What else he

is saying about the tournament at this news conference in Qatar.


GIOKOS: And while the football world waits for Sunday's final between Argentina and France, there are other things for fans to enjoy around Doha.

Our Don Riddell takes us inside a Qatari marketplace that's called a souq, where he found fans of both teams soaking up the atmosphere.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT (on-camera): Souq Waqif has been one of our favorite places during this World Cup tournament. It really has felt like a

global village with fans from all 32 teams and many other countries lingering here, hanging out, enjoying each other's company, often late into

the night.

We are not seeing so many fans here tonight with three days go until the final. Perhaps it's the calm before the storm. But there's still a great

vibe, a great energy, a really good atmosphere and hopefully we can find some fans of Argentina and France to see what they think about the big


So when we flew out here four weeks ago, of course, we are very much looking forward to the tournament. And I was wondering if I was going to

miss the alcohol, the chance to have a beer every now and again.


And the truth is, I really haven't. So I'm going to introduce you to our new vice. We love these, often very, very late into the night. They're

absolutely delicious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like I'm taking off with wings, 100 percent. Every day the team is really, really good. It's like it together. I think

they're the best team we have, '78, '86, and now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure that Messi will win, inch'allah. And I support Messi from all my heart and I support Argentina, and shall we win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be tough but it's going to be good. And Argentina is going to win. No doubt about it.


RIDDELL: Very spicy.

So during our time here in Qatar, we have really, really enjoyed the food, so much wonderful food from right across the region. We've had Iranian,

we've had Turkish, we've had Kuwaiti, we've had Lebanese, very big fan of Lebanese food. No French, no French food. And I'm not sure there are any

French fans here tonight. So let's keep looking.

Well, I'm so pleased we found some French fans here because there's not many of you in Qatar at the moment.


RIDDELL: How are you feeling about Sunday?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are happy to go to the final on Sunday, so I hope the coach will be good, the player will rest a little bit. It will be closer

against Argentina because it's a good team, they have two, three good players. One famous. I think his name is like Messi. Something like that.

So maybe we're going to win. You know, our coach is good, he's clever, and he has (INAUDIBLE), he's lucky. So we cross our finger and it will be OK.

We'll see.

RIDDELL: Are you feeling confident?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. You know, as he said, we have very good players. I trust my team, I trust the coach. So we are confident but we can't say

we're like 100 percent confident because it's still Argentina. So we are very happy to play against Argentina. It's going to be a good match,

wonderful football. We can't say 100 percent confident.

RIDDELL: So Argentina and France have successfully navigated their way to the World Cup Final. And if you ever get lost in the Souq because I did

actually earlier on this evening, this is your North Star. It's the gold plum. It was built to commemorate Qatar's unlikely victory at the 2019

Asian Cup. And it's an appropriate way to end here because, of course, it's going to be a very golden weekend.

The World Cup trophy is on the line. The Golden Boot is on the line. And whoever wins on Sunday might find that there's a statue of Lionel Messi or

Kylian Mbappe in gold here one day in the future.

Don Riddell, CNN, Qatar.


GIOKOS: Yes. Watching Don Riddell in the Souq in Qatar is giving me a serious case of FOMO. I'm sure you are feeling the same.

All right, so as the World Cup nears its final Sunday, final between Argentina and defending champion France, FIFA's president is talking to

reporters. Gianni Infantino's comments today less fiery than his speech at the start of the tournament. But it is still making headlines. A lot of

news coming through. "WORLD SPORT" anchor Alex Thomas is here to tell us all about it.

What are these new announcements?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Yes, Eleni, it's normal for the FIFA president to speak at the beginning of a World Cup then at the end. They

often had meetings of the FIFA Congress it was called. Now the FIFA Council. All the leaders of World Football certainly the most recent press

conference early on Friday. No where near as flamboyant as is one at the start of it. And we'll give you the headlines on that in just a few

minutes' time.

GIOKOS: All right. Keeping us waiting. Alex Thomas, thank you so much. We will see you after this short break. Stay with CNN.