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At Least 43 Face Possible Execution Over Iran Protests; 180 Million People Face Frigid Temperatures Across the U.S.; Holiday Misery as Thousands of U.S. Flights Cancelled; Putin Calls Ukraine Conflict a War for the First Time in Public. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired December 23, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LINDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: It's huge, icy and 200 million Americans are feeling the impact. A massive winter storm grounding planes, closing
highways, and leaving people without power. We'll have the details just ahead.
Plus, the January 6th Committee releases its final report on the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, laying out the case against former president
And since China lifted its strict COVID policies, cases are surging. So just how bad are things getting? We have a special report.
Hello, I'm Linda Kinkade, at the CNN Center. Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. Good to have you with us.
Well, dozens of people in Iran could be facing execution over the recent wave of protests. CNN has learned that authorities are charging at least 43
people with crimes punishable by death. The actual number could be much higher. Among them is this high-profile football player. A witness telling
CNN that an execution platform has been installed in a town square in his home city.
Responding to our investigation, the U.S. State Department denounced the charges. At least two people have already been executed over the
demonstrations, which began after a young woman died in custody. For the families of those charged, it is an excruciating time. Parents are begging
officials to spare their children's lives.
CNN's Nima Elbagir spoke with some of those families as part of this exclusive report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My son has been sentenced execution.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Mohammed (INAUDIBLE) is only 22.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My son is innocent. For the love of God, help him.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Desperate families in Iran, risking it all with pleas to the world to save their loved ones from execution. Fearing that detainees in Iran are
set to face a wave of executions, in an accelerated judicial process, while holiday celebrations have the world's attention elsewhere.
(On camera): In collaboration with Iranian activists from 1500Tasvir, we worked to verify court documents which show that dozens of Iranians
including high-profile Iranian athlete face execution. We also work to verify video pleas like this one. From this 81-year-old mother of one of
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We don't know his whereabouts. No information about him nor do we even know where he is.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): This document from inside the Isfahan regional court shows that at least 10 people have been charged with Moharabe, war against
God, spreading corruption on earth, and other charges, all which carry the possibility of the death penalty.
(On camera): Through obtaining and verifying court documents and witness testimony, we have evidence which supports a rushed through judicial
process. Defendants having court appointed counsel forced upon. Many defendants having their right to appeal refused. Some defendants faced with
charges which could carry the death sentence, being handed down in a single setting. Terrified Iranian families believe that while the world is busy
celebrating the holiday season, busy with their families, that they in Iran face imminent execution of their loved ones.
(Voice-over): CNN has confirmed that Iranian footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani is among those facing execution. Here is training ahead of match day, now
he's on death row waiting. This is social media video from the night of his arrest. CNN made contact with someone close to Nasr-Azadani inside Iran. We
are not disclosing their identity. They told us that in the days after his arrest, they were unable to get word from him or about him from
authorities. Even as the Iranian authorities denied his arrest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It was one month and 19 days. I think maybe even perhaps longer since the security forces came and wanted
to see Amir's home.
ELBAGIR: And despite being told he would be freed --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They would tell us in the first few weeks that they would release Amir, and that Amir will be released by the
end of the week.
ELBAGIR: Then came a charge of the crime of Moharabe, war against God, which Nasr-Azadani and nine other people have been accused of. Relating to
involvement in the killing of two Basij militia officers and one policeman during protests in late November. A charge that they deny. Now sources
close to Amir Nasr-Azadani say he and four others have had their charges upgraded by the Isfahan court to Baghi, a charge punishable only by
There's more. In the regional courts of Khuzestan, west of Isfahan, CNN has confirmed with 150Tasvir through court documents that 23 more people have
been charged with the same crime, punishable by death. We are redacting their names out of fears for their safety. There is still more. In Karaj,
CNN and 1500Tasvir have confirmed that at least five more Iranians are facing execution, including 21-year-old Iranian Kurdish karate champion,
Mohammad Mehdi Karami whose parents have also gone public with their plea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Please I beg you to lift the execution order for my son's life.
ELBAGIR: In messages shared with CNN, his family said Karami was not only sentenced to death but is also being tortured in prison. In another message
shared with CNN, they said Karami was somehow in good spirits but physically damaged having suffered torture on his head and body.
(On camera): Including those whose families recorded public pleas for help that brings the total of those verified by CNN as facing execution to at
least 43, and that's in addition to the two executed by Iran amid the excitement of the World Cup.
(Voice-over): Just this week 27-year-old Iranian Kurdish rapper Saman Yasin attempted suicide whilst in detention, according to a source from the
prison. Yasin tried to end his life, sources say, with pills after injuring extreme psychological torture in the harsh prison conditions in northern
Iran. As much of the world gets absorbed with their festivities, Iranian families have one message.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Please save them. For the love of God, save my sons.
ELBAGIR: Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.
KINKADE: Well, our thanks to Nima there.
Here in the United States, new travel chaos with thousands more flights canceled today as the nation is plunged into arctic conditions rarely seen.
Now almost one million energy customers across America are now without power, knocked out by high winds and blizzards. It comes as more than 3,000
flights have been grounded in what is of course one of the busiest times of the year.
And as you can see here, poor visibility is making your road travel also difficult. Record-low temperatures are already being reported in the U.S.
south and southwest. While millions of Americans are bracing for the worst but still to come, people in the plains in the Midwest are already feeling
the frigid impact.
CNN's Lucy Kafanov reports from Denver, Colorado.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Millions of people experiencing the peak of what the weather service is calling a once in a
generation type event, others still bracing. The bomb cyclone producing ice and snow is impacting more than 105 million people across the country.
Winter alerts from coast to coast for snow and icy conditions. The dangerous cold has over 150 million people or nearly half the U.S.
population under wind chill alerts with below zero wind chills as far south as Texas.
In the Midwest, more than a foot of snow and possible blizzard conditions expected. South Dakota's famous Sioux Falls, frozen. In some parts of
Kansas, the National Weather Service reporting wind chills below negative 30. There and in the plains, the cold expected to stick around for
Christmas weekend, likely making it the coldest Christmas there in roughly 40 years.
JARED BRIGGS, BUSINESS OWNER IN EVANSTON, WYOMING: Your nose hairs literally freeze.
KAFANOV: Even those used to the cold in Wyoming are feeling the arctic blast.
BRIGGS: I mean, it's cold, but when it's negative 20, it's just another level.
KAFANOV: Slick ice and snow making driving conditions dangerous, abandoned vehicles, stranded drivers.
SGT. JOSH RASNAKE, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, UINTA COUNTY, WYOMING: I want people to have things in their vehicles, kits ready to be deployed if they
get stuck in their vehicle somewhere.
KAFANOV: Weather hazards causing road closures in various parts of the country. Zero visibility, making it hard for emergency workers to respond.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's hand warmers, some socks, a beanie, and like some hygiene products and then some water and a blanket.
KAFANOV: In Colorado, outreach workers trying to provide help and keep people warm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said it's going to be cold. So I said get off the streets. If it's a real extreme emergency, they really be right on there.
KAFANOV: Buses of people seeking shelter at the Denver coliseum to stay out of the freezing cold.
(On camera): It may look like things are getting back to normal. The sun is out here in Denver, finally, but looks can be deceiving. It still feels
incredibly cold. In fact, the city of Denver is opening up new warming centers. There is some relief on the horizon. We are expecting temperatures
to go back up slowly but surely on Friday. And by Christmas Day, we could be seeing highs of 50 degrees. Of course, there is less relief in sight for
the rest of the country.
Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Denver.
KINKADE: Let's get more on what this means for people who are hoping to get home for the holidays. As we mentioned, well over 3,000 flights have been
canceled today alone. Add to that major delays for people who are able to get on the move.
Pete Muntean is at one of the busiest hubs for us in Chicago's O'Hare airport.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This bad weather is really coming at a bad time for travelers who are trying to make this exodus on
what was supposed to be one of the busiest pre-Christmas travel days. FlightAware says the number of cancellations in the U.S. has already
dwarfed the number we saw yesterday, 2600 in the U.S. according to FlightAware. That's going to have a nationwide and a worldwide ripple
effect because this storm is really hitting some major hubs for the airlines.
And now as it's moving east, there will be more and more cancellations at places that were not affected on Thursday. LaGuardia tops the list as well
as Detroit, which is a major hub for Delta Airlines. More than 40 percent of flights have been canceled there. Here at Chicago O'Hare, it's the
biggest hub for United Airlines. United Airlines tells me that the big issue is not necessarily the snow, but really the biting cold.
On Friday, the forecast high temperature here is one degree Fahrenheit. That's not taking into account the wind chill that makes it especially
hard, United says, for ground crews to work, to marshal the plane, to load bags, to move the gate. It's going to be really tough for them.
I want you to listen now to Joe Heins, United's VP of Network Operations, who says that will really drive delays.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE HEINS. VICE PRESIDENT OF NETWORK OPERATIONS, UNITED AIRLINES: Winter operations like this, temperature, wind, snow, it's going to drive delays.
We know the challenges. We have experience around the winter storms. There's only so much you can do. We'll operate, we'll operate slowly, but
we will operate safely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MUNTEAN: The Federal Aviation Administration says it's now a ground game for airports about whether or not they can clear snow and ice off of planes
quickly. One other factor to consider here is that packages so often fly on planes. UPS, FedEx, and the United States Postal Service all tell us they
have contingency plans in place, but some Christmas shipments may be delayed.
Pete Muntean, CNN, Chicago.
KINKADE: CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is keeping an eye on those plunging temperatures. She joins us now with an update on the forecast.
It certainly looks a lot prettier out there right now, but no doubt very, very chilly, and the worst is yet to come.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that's right. Right now here in Atlanta, it's minus nine degrees Celsius. But those temperatures are going
to get even colder as we go into the weekend. In fact, this could end up going down as one of the coldest Christmas Eves on record here in Atlanta.
Take a look at this, this is a towel, frozen solid because of how cold it was and how it quickly froze overnight. The big concern there is that the
same thing, the same freezing effect is also taking place on some of the roadways, not just here in Georgia, but across the country.
Take a look at this map, just going to show you how widespread this incredibly cold air is. You have roughly 60 percent of the U.S. population
under some type of wind chill alert. Again, just going to show you how many people there. But it's also the wind, wind gusts, 40 to 60 miles per hour,
in some places even higher. And the concern there is not only does that make it cold, but it takes any of the snow that's on the ground and will
blow it across roadways and things, making visibility even lower, perhaps down to about just less than a quarter of a mile.
That creates even more dangerous conditions on the roadways. Then you also have the snow. The bulk of the snow for today will be limited across most
of the northeast, but even a few portions of the Midwest, right there along the Great Lakes could also see some additional snow. Most areas, we're not
talking tremendous amounts, but again even any additional snow on top of what we already have is going to make those travel conditions very
And again, on a holiday weekend, when so many people are trying to travel, not only by air, but also on the roadways as well.
KINKADE: Yes, everyone stays safe. I know where I'll be, I'll be by the fireplace with a glass of wine.
Allison Chinchar, stay warm. Thanks so much.
We are following a developing story out of Paris now where there have been four people killed, four others wounded by gunmen. Now the shootings happen
in and around a Kurdish community center. The suspect has been taken into custody. Now Paris prosecutor says the alleged shooter has been charged
with racist violence in the past including an incident at a migrant tent camp.
At this time, French officials have not designated the attack as a terrorist incident, but they are investigating.
Well, is it a special operation or a war? Still ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, Vladimir Putin abruptly changes what he's calling Russia's action in
Ukraine. Was this a calculated move or a slip of the tongue? Plus, concern about a new wave of COVID-19 cases, now that China is starting to reopen.
KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, as Ukraine reports more heavy Russian shelling in its south the Ukrainian military has also repelled strikes in the
eastern Donetsk region. Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is back home following his whirlwind visit to the United States. With a new
military aid in hand, he sounded typically upbeat in his message to the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Good morning, everyone. I wish everyone good health. Can you hear? Our phones
are working again. In the office, we're working for victory. Have a good day, everyone. We shall win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, the conflict is poised to go into a second year now. Russia's president may be changing the way he describes it. So far Vladimir
Putin has been calling it a special military operation. Listen to what he had to say at a news conference Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Our goal is not to spend the fly away on military conflict, but on the contrary to end this
war. We have been and will continue to strive for this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, CNN's Nada Bashir is following this story and joins us now from London.
And Nada, it's interesting that for 10 months of this war, the Russian president has referred to this as a special military operation, never
calling it a war. Was this a slip of the tongue, an accident, or is there concern that he is paving the way for an escalation?
NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, that is the key question of course. President Putin has been very, very careful in choosing his words
in the past. We do know of course that they have maintained that this is a special military operation. And in fact, any suggestion that this is a war
could land you in prison in Russia under the censorship laws brought in to law about 10 months ago.
Now there is concern about his meaning behind this, whether it was perhaps a split up of the tongue, we have heard from one U.S. official telling CNN
on Thursday that an earlier assessment by the U.S. government suggest that this may well have been unintentional, essentially a slip of the top.
However, officials will be watching to see whether or not President Putin and the Kremlin ever use the word war again, or perhaps a switch up their
rhetoric when it comes to describing Russia's activities in Ukraine because of course if indeed President Putin identifies this now is a full scale
war, that could certainly shift the realities on the ground when it comes to Russia's bombardment.
It could potentially pave the way for President Putin to declare martial law, and of course to pour more resources into Russia's armed forces. So
that is certainly a concern. And all eyes will be waiting to see whether or not that rhetoric does shift from the Kremlin in the coming days and weeks.
But as you said there, we're already seeing stepping up of the bombardment by Russia's armed forces in Ukraine.
KINKADE: And Nada, it was interesting to hear that Putin also said that he wants to end the war. It's hard to know when to take Putin's word at face
value given that he said at the very outset of this war that Russia would not invade Ukraine. And then went on to, in fact, invade Ukraine. How are
analysts reading the tea leaves here?
BASHIR: Well, look, the messages we've been hearing from President Putin isn't exactly straightforward. We heard yesterday Putin addressing
reporters, he said what we heard previously from the Kremlin that Russia maintains itself as open to talks, it is open to negotiations with Ukraine.
In fact, he's accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of avoiding those talks, and not being willing to negotiate with Russia.
Of course, we've heard from U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken just yesterday as well saying that Russia has not presented itself as being open
to diplomacy in the sense of working towards a resolution to this conflict. But we also heard a message from President Putin yesterday with regards to
transfer of that Patriot air defense missile system from the United States to Ukraine. And he said this was an old system, but he also said that while
Ukraine may see this as a key source of defense now, Russia will find the antidote.
Now that may be seen as a warning from President Putin, perhaps as a message that he is not ready to end Russia's military bombardment on
Ukraine -- Linda.
KINKADE: All right, Nada Bashir for us in London, thanks very much.
Well, Ukrainian Christians are about to celebrate their first Christmas since Russia launched its full-scale invasion. Millions of people will be
spending the holiday away from home as refugees. And they're doing their best to keep up traditions. Take a look.
KINKADE (voice-over): For (INAUDIBLE) family from Kyiv, this Christmas is about getting together with a Polish family that took them in soon after
Russia invaded Ukraine.
SERHIY BEREZHKO, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE IN WARSAW (through translator): We arrived here with just a couple of bags, and with the things we had on
ourselves. We left all necessary things in Ukraine, and all that we have now is thanks to the Poles.
KINKADE: More than one and a half million Ukrainian refugees have registered for temporary protection in Poland. Many with help from
MAREK MIODUSZEWSKI, HOSTED BEREZHKO FAMILY (through translator): It was a natural impulse to help, it was in the first days of the war. We met on a
freezing night outside my house. I invited this family to my house and I hugged them to my heart.
KINKADE: Traditionally, Ukrainian Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7th, but today many celebrate on December 25th. And Ukraine has
made it a public holiday as part of a larger break with Russian traditions.
People all over Eastern and Central Europe are helping refugees enjoy new traditions. These Prague residents organized a party for refugee children.
HANA HILLEROVA-HARPER, CAROLING ORGANIZER IN PRAGUE: We felt like these kids, there's 132 children living here, and they're spending their
Christmas not at home, but at a strange dormitory, so we're just trying to make it a little bit better for them.
KINKADE: In this Bucharest shelter, Ukrainian refugee children decorate trees with ornaments while families wait in line for packages. Many
refugees are saving money for their relatives back in Ukraine, like this family now living in Prague.
VASIL KHYMYSHYNETS, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE IN PRAGUE (through translator): As refugees, we didn't have any possibilities. We had to think if we can
afford to buy a Christmas tree or not. That's why we decided to just use some branches for the decoration so that it looks good and makes the
KINKADE: A few simple decorations that carry a lot of meaning.
KINKADE: Well, the U.N. has counted about 7.8 million refugees from Ukraine across Europe.
And after nearly three years of stringent COVID lockdowns, China relaxed its Zero COVID strategy earlier this month. Well, health experts now warn
that the rest of the world should brace for the arrival of new variants that could prove more dangerous than the previous ones. That warning coming
as hundreds of health professionals from across China are traveling to Beijing to help medical centers deal with a wave of infections rippling
across the country.
Our Kristi Lu Stout reports.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN HONG KONG CORRESPONDENT: Concern is growing about the scale of COVID-19 infection in China. Official figures are unreliable,
especially now as less testing is taking place across the country as it unwinds from its tough Zero COVID policy and after China has narrowed its
definition of COVID related deaths to only patients who died of respiratory failure directly caused by the virus.
This month China's reported only eight COVID-19 deaths. A remarkably low number given the mounting evidence of a surge in cases and deaths.
Now in Beijing, our colleagues there have filmed evidence of a crowded crematorium. Its parking lot is completely packed, smoke constantly
billowed from the furnaces, and yellow body bags are seen piled up inside metal containers. Hospitals there in the city are also under pressure.
Health professionals across China are traveling to Beijing to help out. Cold and fever meds are running out and people are desperate.
Now one resident tells CNN this, quote, "In the past five days I had many symptoms but couldn't buy any medication to treat sore throat, coughing or
fever. None of the medicines are available," unquote.
Now the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is now calling on all countries including China to share information about the COVID 19 outbreak.
In a press conference, he cited a number of concerns including the possibility of a new variant emerging, saying this, quote, "Any time the
virus is spreading or is moving around, there is the possibility that a new variant develops, that variant spreads even further, and it comes and hits
us or other countries around the world."
Secretary Blinken also spoke to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss several issues including the importance of transparency. China's Ministry
of Foreign Affairs says China has always shared relevant information with the international community and will continue to cooperate.
Kristie Lu Stout CNN, Hong Kong.
KINKADE: Our thanks to Kristie Lu Stout there.
Well, still ahead, it's been a long time since the January 6th Committee started its investigation. But now the final report is out. We're live in
Washington with details on the committee's conclusions.
Plus, so many hopes, so many dreams, and so many bitter tears. Thousands of migrants want to start a new life in the U.S., but for some, the journey
ends in disappointment. CNN documents one family's story.
KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Linda Kinkade at the CNN center. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Good to have you with us.
Well, Donald Trump should be barred from ever holding office again. That's one of the recommendations in the final part by the congressional committee
investigating the January 6th insurrection.
The 845-page document goes into painstaking detail, laying out how Trump and his allies pressured state election officials and Vice President Mike
Pence as part of their fake electors scheme to overturn the presidential election. When that failed, the report says they encouraged a far-right
militia to lead a mob into the Capitol and disrupt the certification of Joe Biden as president.
Well, I want to bring in CNN senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid to give us more perspective on what is in this report.
Good to see you, Paula. Good to see you got the memo on the Christmas red and white. So this report was released overnight. I want you to take us
through the details because overall they concluded that the insurrection would not have happened if it were not for Donald Trump.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. It's a bold conclusion. This report lays the blame for what happened on January 6th
squarely at the feet of former President Trump. It's saying the central cause of January 6th was one man, who many others followed. None of the
events of January 6th would've happened without him. Now in support of this conclusion, they lay out all of the evidence that they collected over the
past year and a half that led them to come to this choice.
Now the committee starts even before the election happened. They start before the election, they start to build their case arguing that this was
not a spontaneous decision by the president. That this was a premeditated act. They show e-mails from a conservative group urging the president to in
fact declare victory even if he lost.
You know, it's so interesting to see how they lay out their case using phone records, e-mails, witness interviews, to really support how this
played out from the time before the election to January 6th. And they support this idea that the former president continued to push these
baseless claims, rallying his supporters, many of whom wound up at the Capitol on January 6th where this violence ensued.
Now a key tenet to the former president's defense is arguing that he was just relying on the advice of his lawyers. But you see the committee taking
direct aim at that. In fact, in this report, there are new details about conversations that he had with his attorney, John Eastman. Eastman is a
conservative attorney, the one who drafted that memo laying out the theory that Trump really clung to for how his vice president could potentially try
to block the counting of electoral votes.
What's so interesting in this new report is they reveal that on December 23rd, the day that memo was written, Eastman reached out to the White
House, asked a Trump aide that he wanted to talk to the president about, quote, "our strategy." And this new evidence revealed that he spoke to
someone at the White House through the switchboard for 23 minutes.
So it's really interesting how they laid out their case here, and again, they made a deliberate choice to really focus on the role and the
responsibility of former President Trump.
KINKADE: And just quickly, what are some of the other recommendations made by this committee?
REID: Well, in addition to the criminal referral that they made earlier this week, they believe that he should never hold office again. Now they
have also made one other legislative proposal, they're calling on Congress to pass an overhaul of the Electoral Count Act. Now that is something
that's significant because that actually could happen. There is a lot of support for that.
Now the former president today has responded to all of this dismissing it as a witch hunt. That is of course a criticism he has levied against other
criminal and congressional investigations. Now they will continue to release more evidence, more transcripts, those witness interviews that have
been conducted behind closed doors will continue to report those out if they contain any news which we very much expect that they will.
KINKADE: All right, Paula Reid for us, in Washington, D.C., good to see you. Thanks very much.
Well, as temperatures plunge across the United States, officials on America's southern border are warning migrants to stay home to avoid the
dangerously cold conditions. Thousands have been flocking to the border hoping to enter the U.S. when the policy known as Title 42 is lifted. That
rule was put in place under former President Trump and it allows border agents to immediately expel anyone who is entering illegally in the name of
COVID prevention. Right now, Title 42 is in limbo until the Supreme Court makes a decision which is expected to come next week.
CNN's Ed Lavandera spoke to one family who made the long journey from Venezuela only to be turned away.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Jason Virguez and his wife Zulema walked across the Rio Grande with their two
children last week, the family felt like they had finally escaped their lives in Venezuela's socialist nightmare. They were overwhelmed with tears
of relief and joy. They survived an often terrifying two and a half month journey traveling from South America into Central America and Mexico.
(On camera): Did you think reaching this point was going to be so emotional?
(Voice-over): He says they never thought the journey from Venezuela would be so painful. Zulema tearfully said they took this risk for their
children. The family stepped across the Rio Grande thinking they had reached the mountaintop.
(On camera): Where are you?
(Voice-over): The family is now in Mexico City. Jason says the day after the family turned themselves into U.S. border agents, they were flown to
South Texas and bussed across the border to Matamoros. He says Mexican officials then drove them and a bus full of migrants to Mexico City. It
took just five days to get pushed back down the mountain.
(On camera): This has to be very confusing for you.
(Voice-over): I don't understand it, he says. We were all scared on the airplane. We didn't know what was going to happen, and we didn't even get a
chance to ask for asylum.
(On camera): There are still hundreds of migrants lining up at the border wall to get into the United States. But getting in is far from guaranteed.
The Department of Homeland Security reports that over the last week here in the El Paso area alone, 3400 migrants have been expelled under Title 42.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sitting down following instruction.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Thousands of migrants keep turning themselves into border authorities. The public health restriction known as Title 42 is
still being used to quickly expel migrants. It's a confusing system and difficult for those migrants to figure out who stays and who goes.
Jason and Zulema now have to figure out what to do next.
(on camera): When I saw you crossing into the U.S., you were crying. Have you lost faith?
(voice-over): I'm an optimist, he says. I hope to touch someone's heart. My wife and son are depressed. We just want an opportunity.
Right before Jason, Zulema and their children crossed the Rio Grande last week, they were so hopeful, they snapped this family selfie. Jason says his
family will not forget touching U.S. soil, even if it was just for a brief moment.
(on camera): He says it was a strong blow to be sent back to Mexico, but that he doesn't want to give up and that he wants to do whatever is
necessary to give his wife and children a better life.
As Title 42 remains in legal limbo at the U.S. Supreme Court, many families like Jason, Zulema and their two children will face a similar fate. So the
question becomes, what will they all do when they have a greater sense of desperation of reaching the United States?
Ed Lavandera, CNN, El Paso, Texas.
KINKADE: Well, still to come, when it comes to artificial intelligence the jury is still out. Does it just copy things? Or can it genuinely create?
We're going to take a look at ChatGPT and what it can do.
KINKADE: Welcome back. The next generation of artificial intelligence is here. It's called ChatGPT. It's a chatbot that can provide thoughtful and
humanlike, if sometimes inaccurate responses to questions. It already has more than a million users after debuting just a few weeks ago.
Tom Foreman has more.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Allowing cars to drive themselves, composing songs that mimic popular artists, and producing this
digital painting that took the top award at a Colorado art show. This is all the work of artificial intelligence, computers that don't just do what
they're told, but in a sense think, learn, and create.
And right now, ChatGPT is rattling the A.I. world, turning out stunningly humanoid writing. Just ask Douglas Rushkoff, a renowned author and
professor of media culture.
DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF, MEDIA THEORIST: It is writing better than most of my students write, at this point, you know? College freshman. So, yes, I am
impressed with that.
FOREMAN: How does it work? ChatGPT has been filled in a sense with a massive amount of information. Imagine the biggest library you can, then
programmed and trained by humans to process and spit it out in conversational phrases. So as for 1,000 words on the early days of
automobiles and in seconds, it responds. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, automobiles were relatively primitive by today's standards and were
primarily used by wealthy individuals or businesses.
Ask it to write a sonnet in the style of Jerry Seinfeld. I'm just standup comic telling jokes on stage, I make them laugh, and that's all I do. But
sometimes, life is a joke. It hits me low and then I take the mic and say, who knew? It's not perfect, but it can debate, compose essays, solve math
(On camera): Well, that looks right.
(voice-over): Write computer code, answer follow-up questions, even admit mistakes. And all that means, ChatGPT or more advanced AI like it, could
replace people in all sorts of positions.
RUSHKOFF: This could potentially save time and resources, but it could also lead to a loss of personal connections and a decline in the quality of
these types of interactions.
FOREMAN: We know that because everything Rushkoff said just there was written by ChatGPT, when asked about potential problems with itself.
RUSHKOFF: The answer it gave me about the dangers of GPT, that sounded like a pretty good television guest to me.
FOREMAN (on camera): Sometimes it makes mistakes and just gets things wrong, and its knowledge so far only goes up to 2021. So if you asked
something from six months ago, it has no idea what you're talking about. But as it continues to confused update and improve this is very likely to
change our world in a very dramatic way.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
KINKADE: Well, finally, with the holiday season in full swing, plastic bag maker Hefty has come up with a clever way to discreetly take food home from
parties. The Snack Scarf is what it's called. It's designed with secret storage bag pockets to tuck away goodies. Hefty said the bags won't leak,
it's strong enough to hold heavy snacks, with the party host none the wiser. Apparently people thought it was a good idea. It took less than two
days for the Snack Scarf to sell out.
What a shame, I would have got myself one.
Well, "WORLD SPORT" with Patrick Snell is up next, and I'll be back in about 15 minutes with another hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with us.