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Connect the World
Israeli Forces Kill at Least Nine in Jenin; Russia Fires 55 Missiles after Tank Announcement; Chinese Families Reunite after COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted; Pyongyang Restricts Movement of Foreign Embassy Staff; Biden Speech to Highlight Economic Successes; Meta Restores Trump's Facebook Account. Aired 10-11 a ET
Aired January 26, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russian missiles strike several regions of Ukraine, damaging infrastructure and triggering
power outages. We are live in Kyiv.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And what happens next during my interview with this girl shocks us.
WANG: OK, so I was just interviewing this girl and then the minders literally took her away from us.
GIOKOS (voice-over): CNN goes on the road in rural China and government minders follow, trying to disrupt our coverage of COVID and the Lunar New
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS (voice-over): And who wants to hear from Donald Trump?
He's coming back on Facebook and Instagram. Find out why Meta decided to let the former president back in.
GIOKOS: I'm Eleni Giokos, hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.
Those stories in just a moment but we begin here in the Middle East with new violence on the West Bank, once again on edge following the deadliest
day there in over a year. The Palestinian health ministry says nine Palestinians were killed in an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp.
Israel says it killed three Islamic Jihad terrorists. The Palestinians also say Israeli forces initially blocked medics from entering the camp and
fired tear gas at a hospital pediatric ward.
As the data buried (ph), U.N. envoy for the Middle East said he was deeply alarmed by the continuing cycle of violence and called for both sides to
de-escalate tensions. For more now, let's turn to our CNN's Hadas Gold in Jerusalem.
Hadas, the deadliest day in the West Bank in more than a year.
What more do we know?
HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So we understand that this was a rather unusual raid for the Israeli military. First of all, it took
place in total daylight hours, which is not typical for when the IDF carries out these military raids.
And the IDF, when I spoke to them, said that that underscores that they believe that they were essentially preventing what they saw as an imminent
attack. They said that they went in to stop Islamic Jihad militants, who were imminently planning to attack soldiers and civilians.
So the Israeli military went into the camp. They say when they got to the building where the militants were, a firefight broke out. The Israeli
military tells me that at one point they even used a shoulder fired anti tank missile and that's partly why we're seeing such destruction in Jenin.
The Palestinian ministry of health saying that at least nine people were killed. Among them a woman, a civilian in her 60s. We understand that there
is at least four injuries in very serious condition and likely more among them.
Also civilians were still looking on the exact numbers of how many were killed, who where militants claimed by militant groups, how many were
civilians. There are, IDF says they are looking into the reports of the civilians.
But regardless, this is the deadliest day in the West Bank in over a year. And what's already been a very deadly, you know, last 13-14 months.
Already, this year in January is not even over yet. So far there have been 29 Palestinians killed in the West Bank.
I asked, actually, the IDF chief of staff, I happened to be with him when this news first broke out about the raid in the situation. I asked him
about this deadliest day and he says, while fighting terrorism is a complex mission.
Meanwhile the Palestine Authority president Mahmoud Abbas described the events as a massacre and said that there will be three days of mourning
across the Palestinian Territories.
The armed factions in Gaza are now calling for an urgent meeting and now there is a concern because this is targeting Islamic Jihad militants,
whether there will be a response from Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
The Israeli minister of defense says he has called on all of the Israeli military to increase their level of alertness. And this is actually coming,
timing wise, just days before actually the U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken is scheduled to be in Israel and in the West Bank for a visit.
So he will be coming at a time of very heightened tensions. I can tell you that, within the next 30 minutes or so, we are expecting a press conference
of sorts from Palestinian Authority leadership, where we may hear more about what the further planned responses maybe, including potentially
completely cutting off security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
GOLD: That would be a very drastic move. Eleni?
GIOKOS: All, right Hadas Gold, thank you very much for that update. We will be keeping tabs on the latest there.
Well, Ukraine is enduring new attacks from Russia, a day after Germany and the U.S. announced tank deliveries to Kyiv. Ukraine's military says Russia
fired 55 missiles at energy facilities this morning and 2 dozen drones overnight.
At least one person was killed in the capital. People in Kyiv, again took shelter in underground metro stations during a nationwide air raid alert.
Ukrainian officials say, air defenses shot down most of the missiles and all 24 drones.
Other sites targeted by Russia include Odessa just one day after UNESCO deemed the city an endangered World Heritage Site. Strikes there damaged
energy infrastructure. Germany's defense minister says 14 Leopard 2 tanks will arrive in Ukraine by the end of March. He says it won't be too. Late
Right now, intense fighting is focused on the eastern city of Bakhmut. Fred Pleitgen updates us on the battle there, the latest flashpoint in this 11
month old. War.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Russian army claims its overwhelming firepower is decimating Ukrainian
defenses on the most brutal fronts in this war around the town Bakhmut.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Fifteen men just ran into this house. Yes, target hit. They managed to collapse the middle of the
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Ukraine has now acknowledged losing its last foot hole in the small town of Soledar north of Bakhmut.
The Russians there, mostly mercenaries from the Wagner private military company judging by their own claims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We were fast to select the target, charge up and hit it. We hit precisely. We hit the building right in the
place where the 80 GM (ph) was located.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): But despite sources telling CNN, the U.S. has advised Ukraine to withdraw from Bakhmut. Even Wagner commanders admit
Kyiv's forces are fighting back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The enemy puts up fierce resistance to our fighters. The enemy is holding on and is getting
additional reserves and military supplies.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): And the Ukrainians continue probing in other areas far from Bakhmut, the military releasing this video of a daring raid across
the Dnipro River in south Ukraine, taking out a Russian command facility there.
But to go on the offensive, Ukraine needs hundreds of main battle tanks, so far western partners have pledged about 100.
Moscow has vowed to hit those tanks when they enter Ukraine and is conducting a show of force of its own, sending the frigate Admiral
Gorshkov, Moscow says carries hypersonic missiles to ocean drills with the Chinese and South African navies.
But for now, Bakhmut is the epicenter of this conflict and Ukrainian soldiers here say they will fight for every inch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): One day there are artillery works and the next day the infantry assaults. It's a difficult time now but our
boys keep standing their ground.
PLEITGEN: Ukrainian soldiers fighting on the front lines in and around Bakhmut who are contacted by CNN say they are absolutely elated to hear
that western made battle tanks could be coming to Ukraine in the not-too- distant future. They say tanks are a huge part of the equation here and have been helping the front line troops a lot.
Of course, they understand it's going to be awhile before any Western made battle tanks get here but right now the Ukrainians say they need all the
help they can get as the Russians are making a big push to try and go toward the west and take Bakhmut -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kramatorsk,
GIOKOS: Sam Kiley is in Kyiv for us.
Sam, good to see you. We just heard from Fred Pleitgen that soldiers are naturally elated they're going to be receiving tanks. But I want to tally
up the numbers.
The Ukrainians say they need around 300 right now; 100 is on the table. But talk about the strategic importance of these tanks and what it would mean
for the front lines.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are much more modern tanks, talking about the Leopard, the Challenger, the British
tank Challenger 2, which may be the first of the NATO tanks to arrive.
The British talking about them arriving in a matter of weeks. Only 14 of them, effectively a squadron. But they have very advanced armor, they have
very advanced targeting systems, their weapons systems are superior to anything that the Russians can field on their most modern tanks.
So they will be technologically more advanced and therefore more dangerous to the Russians.
KILEY: They don't come anywhere close to replacing the tanks that the Ukrainians have lost, of course, but a lot of those are old T-64's from the
1960s and '50s or T-72s or captured weapons from the Russians themselves that they've captured in retreat.
So they will be an important boost in terms of the tactical picture. But they also have a very important strategic symbolism because they symbolize
unity now within NATO.
No schism between Germany and the United States, which had been appearing over whether not Germany would supply those tanks, whether not the
Americans would also come on board.
They've now offered some 30 plus Abrams tanks. It could be months in coming. But more importantly, it opens the doors, potentially. This is
something that the Ukrainians are really hoping for, Eleni, to more strategic weapons, more weapons like ultimately fighter bomber aircraft.
Possibly even F-16s. There's a hope that they may get an uplift in terms of their air force. Certainly, they want to see a great deal more contribution
in terms of their air defenses coming -- in the last 24 hours here in Ukraine suffered yet another onslaught from drones and missile strikes
coming from Russia.
They need those air defenses desperately and, above all, perhaps they need heavy artillery in order to hold on to positions that the Russians are
trying to overwhelm with a force of personnel and even their relatively old and not very sophisticated Soviet-era equipment, Eleni.
GIOKOS: All, right Sam Kiley, thank you.
In the United States, the city of Memphis, Tennessee, is on edge as another type of violence is being investigating. Police body cam footage is
expected to be released any day now, showing what the police chief there calls a heinous incident; 29 -year old Tyre Nichols died in hospital
earlier this month after a confrontation with police.
What his family's lawyers are describing as a savage. Beating Our Sara Sidner brings us the disturbing details and a warning: there are graphic
images in this report.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Memphis police chief speaks out in a recorded statement making clear there will be
absolute accountability for those responsible for the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols.
CHIEF CERELYN DAVIS, MEMPHIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity toward another
individual. This incident was heinous, reckless and inhumane.
SIDNER: Nichols died earlier this month after a violent arrest by five officers. Five Memphis police officers and two members of the Memphis Fire
Department have been terminated. Nichols' family is calling for charges to be filed as the community anxiously awaits the police camera footage to be
ANTONIO ROMANUCCI, NICHOLS FAMILY ATTORNEY: The family wants nothing but the absolute, most charge that they can bring and what they want are murder
SIDNER: attorneys for the family have already viewed the footage and an independent autopsy paid for by the family reveals Tyre Nichols died from,
quote, extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating.
RAVAUGHN WELLS, TYRE NICHOLS' MOTHER: I hate to think that us as Black people are out here killing each other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
WELLS: For what?
I don't know why. What happened to the humanity and kindness?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
SIDNER: Nichols was a driver for FedEx. He'll be remembered as a loving father and son, the baby of the family with a tattoo of his mother's name
on his arm.
WELLS: Nobody is perfect, OK, nobody but he was damn near. My son was a beautiful soul.
SIDNER: He liked to go to Starbucks every morning where he befriended an unlikely group of people. One of those friends tell CNN Nichols was a free
spirited person, gentleman who marched to the beat of his own drum. He enjoyed skateboarding and taking pictures of sunsets.
A friend who knew Nichols in Sacramento said this of him, "He was his own person. He didn't care, he didn't fit into what a traditional Black man was
supposed to be in California. He had such a free spirit and skating gave him his wings."
KEYANA DIXON, TYRE NICHOLS' SISTER: For this to happen to him in his way, the pain is just -- it's just -- I have no words.
GIOKOS: That was Sara Sidner reporting.
And this just, in Shelby County's district has announced they will hold a news conference at 3 pm Eastern. That's in a little over five hours from
Well, coming up China says COVID cases have fallen dramatically, we will visit a rural village to see how people are celebrating the Lunar New Year,
now that Beijing has ended zero COVID policy.
GIOKOS: And why North Korea's capital city is putting some intense health measures in place for embassy staff from other countries.
GIOKOS: China's CDC says the number of people visiting fever clinics has returned to normal levels after a huge spike in COVID cases. But health
experts are warning of a COVID surge in rural areas. With millions of people on the move for Lunar New Year holiday, CNN's Selina Wang brings us
the view from southern China.
WANG (voice-over): This is how people celebrate the Lunar New Year in Dali Village.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cheers.
WANG: This year's celebration is particularly special. The adults around this table all work in factories in the cities. This is the only time when
many of them can see their children.
The man next to me says we got to go wherever we can make money and China's zero COVID policy over the last three years has made it all even harder.
He says the policy prevented them from going home. But now that the country is open, they can all be together.
We came to this place in China Southern Guizhou province to see how a part of rural China is celebrating the Lunar New Year without pandemic
restrictions. We visited villagers home. Sanja (ph) greets U.S. with a treat and alcohol, both made from rice from the paddy fields nearby.
Drinking is a big part of celebrating here.
About a thousand people live in this village and for hundreds of years, they've lived in these traditional wooden houses and you can hear the
chickens crowing and there are these ducks as well that they raised for food.
In many ways, this place is like a time capsule. Its physical isolation has preserved their way of life for centuries. They're China's Dong ethnic
minority. They have their own language, tradition and culture but they can't escape the economic realities of modernity.
Normally, this village is full of the elderly and young kids with most of the working age adults gone, working in faraway factories sending money
This couple works in a factory 500 miles away in Guangdong Province, making circuit boards.
He tells me he hasn't seen his kids for a year. Last time he left his son couldn't even walk. He says it's emotional to see them grow so much.
For the first time in three years, millions of Chinese migrant families are finally able to reunite without the fear of COVID lockdowns.
Almost everyone I speak to on camera says no one around them has gotten COVID like this elderly woman who makes traditional crafts.
WANG (voice-over): She says she has not been wearing a mask and points to her shoulder saying she had the vaccine shots.
But we run into another group of young people who say otherwise. The man in the brown jacket with his back turned is a doctor at a hospital in a nearby
city. He says almost all of the villagers have been infected. I asked him if they just don't realize they have COVID. In response, he says they've
never been tested but clearly they had COVID symptoms.
So we've got the three government minders following us.
It's common for local officials to keep a close eye on foreign journalists in their jurisdictions but they were especially persistent in this village
following our every move.
So we drive out of the village to visit a public hospital in a neighboring county about two hours away, hoping these government minders won't follow
us so people will feel more comfortable speaking freely. We walk inside the fever clinic.
It's almost entirely empty. In the main hospital area, there are more people but it's not packed.
It's a stark contrast to the images of overflowing hospitals in major cities across China from weeks before.
I asked the nurse on another floor of the hospital if it was packed with patients a few weeks ago, she says it's always packed and busy here.
We try to ask why it looks empty here. But another doctor interrupts, ending our interview. We find one woman, a patient's family member, who is
willing to speak to us. She says everyone around her has already gotten COVID and recovered.
Soon after, we've realized we're being followed apparently by a whole different crew.
There's at least two three government minders, they're still following us all the way here. It's very obvious. They follow us to hospital after
hospital preventing anyone from speaking to us.
I try confronting them. I asked them why they're following us everywhere and he ignores me.
He's walking away. So I tried this official, she refuses to, even ignores my question.
And what happens next during my interview with this girl shocks us.
Oh, OK, so I was interviewing the girl and then the minders literally took her away from us.
The man pushes the girl and her family away, then later leaves them alone. But our interviews in the marketplace are over.
Chinese CDC says the COVID peak across the country has passed. But in rural areas like this, experts say there's likely far more silent suffering,
people who died at home because they couldn't afford to go to the hospital or were unable to get there on time.
Back in the village, we're greeted by the sounds of squealing pigs getting ready to be slaughtered. It's a Lunar New Year tradition. Decades ago for
most countryside families, this was the only time of the year when they could afford to eat meat.
So this is a whole family of relatives all getting together for the New Year, enjoying freshly killed pig meat.
Sanja (ph) shows me the fabric she made herself. Sewing just a thin strip of this cloth takes her more than a day.
Whether it's in the village or in faraway factories, they're hardworking people. They'll do whatever it takes to give their kids a better life, even
if it means long bouts of separation from them, making reunions like these all the more meaningful.
Now Chinese Health officials say that the COVID peak in the country has already passed. The spread has been so fast in China experts say because
China's population had almost no underlying immunity before reopening.
So it appears that one massive wave ended up sweeping over the whole country hitting the urban and rural areas almost simultaneously.
But people in the countryside, there are a lot poor and there are a lot less resources. So in rural areas like this, experts say there's likely far
more silent suffering, people who died at home because they couldn't afford to go to the hospital or were unable to get there on time -- Selina Wang,
Dali Village, Guizhou, China.
GIOKOS: Brilliant reporting there from Selina Wang.
They're not calling it COVID-19 but funds (ph) embassy staff in North Korea's capital city Pyongyang have been told to restrict their activity
for a five-day period due to an increase in, quote, "respiratory diseases." CNN's Paula Hancocks explains.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are seeing a restriction of movement in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, the information coming to us from
the Russian embassy, one of the very few embassies that has foreign diplomats within it.
Now this was a note from the protocol department in Pyongyang, posted on the Facebook page of the Russian embassy, saying that there will be a five-
day special anti epidemic period.
This period goes from Wednesday to Sunday; the diplomats have been asked to restrict their movement to within the residences and the embassy grounds.
They have been asked not to minimize their contact with other people.
They need to take their temperature four times a day and report it. And we are hearing that this could be extended for another three days if
necessary. Now according to this notice, North Korea is saying that this is due to a seasonal rise in flu and also respiratory diseases.
They don't mention COVID-19 by name. But we do know that, in the past, in the previous few years --
HANCOCKS: -- North Korea has often talked about respiratory diseases when it is potentially talking about COVID19. And they certainly haven't been
transparent about what has been happening within the country.
They did claim that they had no cases whatsoever up until May 2022, which many epidemiologists find highly unlikely. They then said they had an
outbreak but they were able to curtail it within a few months. Again, there was much skepticism about that.
So it does appear as though there is some kind of respiratory disease issue, potentially around Pyongyang. We don't know if it goes further into
North Korea. That information would only come if North Korea decided to publish and publicize that on its state run media.
What it does do, though, is bring into question what could happen on February 8th. This is the 75th anniversary of the founding of the army
within North Korea. There was potentially expected to be some kind of military parade.
This information came from commercial satellite imagery analyzed by 38north, who believe they could see preparations for this military parade
Now with this latest news that there is at least a five-day restriction on movement, we don't know what that means for any potential military parade
in the future -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
GIOKOS: Up next, on CONNECT THE WORLD, we have new details about exactly what was in the classified documents found at the home of former U.S. vice
president, Mike Pence.
And Mike Pence's former boss is getting a welcome back from the parent of Facebook. The once banned Donald Trump returns to the social networking
GIOKOS: Welcome back, I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai and you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
A solid end for 2022 for the U.S. economy. It grew at 2.9 percent in the first quarter and that is stronger than expected, even as a recession fears
loom. Here is what Wall Street thinks of the U.S. data.
We are seeing an interesting picture playing out in the markets, as you can see, up slightly on the Dow Jones, Nasdaq taking a good boost, as you can
see, of 1 percent and this comes as the White House is telling reporters to pay attention to a speech given today by President Biden in what is being
called a major, economic speech.
GIOKOS: He is expected to highlight the ways his administration is strengthening the U.S. economy, especially when it comes to employment and
good jobs. He will also point out that the biggest threat to the economy is the legislative agenda of the Republican Congress.
No doubt the White House is hoping the positive economic news will deflect some of the attention from the classified documents scandal. We still don't
know many details about the documents found at the private homes of Mr. Biden and former president Donald Trump.
But CNN has learned that some of the documents found in the home of former vice president Mike Pence were memos briefing him about foreign trips. A
source tells us that the documents were tucked into folders and binders and could have been easily overlooked when packing up Pence's office.
So let's bring in CNN's senior legal affairs correspondent, Paula Reid.
One of the big questions, Paula, has been, what is in these documents?
And now we have some detail in terms of what we have seen in the Pence documents. And these seemed to be briefing memos.
And then it brings up, of course, what is defined as confidential?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. So traditionally, when the vice president or president goes on a trip, they
receive a stack of briefing materials and that can include some general biographical information about people they are going to meet with.
But there can also be more sensitive information and that appears to be what happened here. And as you said, our colleague, Jamie Gangel, has
learned that those documents were really tucked into a binder. So they would not have been uncovered unless someone packing them up went through
page by page.
Now so far, there is no indication that any of these materials were of the highest level of sensitivity. It is unclear exactly what was in those
documents. But at this point, it does not appear that these were as sensitive as some of the documents that were found at the home of President
Biden and former president Trump down at Mar-a-Lago.
GIOKOS: Paula Reid, good to see you, thanks so much.
The right call: that is what the American Civil Liberties Union is calling a decision allowing Donald Trump back on Facebook and Instagram. Meta, the
parent company of the social networking platform, says the former president will have to abide by what it calls new guardrails.
This comes about two years after Trump was banned in the wake of the Capitol Hill attack.
Congressman Adam Schiff is among those denouncing Meta's move, tweeting, "Giving him back access to a social media platform to spread his lies and
demagoguery is dangerous."
CNN's Donie O'Sullivan explains why Meta made this decision.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Meta announcing the most politically consequential decision in its history certainly here in the United States.
Announcing on Wednesday that it was going to let former President Donald Trump back on its platforms, which will include, of course, Facebook and
Now you might remember Trump was kicked off the platforms in the days after the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Facebook at the time saying it was too
dangerous for Trump to be able to have that megaphone that he might incite further violence.
And two years later, Facebook, Meta has now said that it has reassessed its ban. It has determined that there isn't as great a risk of imminent
violence or harm posed by Trump and that they are going to allow him back on the platform in the coming weeks.
Now this is a boon in Trump's campaign effort for 2024. He has, of course, announced that he is running for president.
Again, we have seen in the past the Trump campaign really effectively use and spend hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising on Facebook
because it is a very effective way, they have found, of targeting voters but also fundraising.
As you can imagine, a lot of people on both sides of the political spectrum here speaking out for and against this decision.
Of course, many people saying it's important to be able to hear from a former president and candidate for president. That's including the ACLU,
who at this statement.
They said, "This is the right call. Like it or not, President Trump is one of the country's leading political figures and the public has a strong
interest in hearing his speech."
They said, indeed some of Trump's most offensive social media posts ended up being critical evidence in lawsuits filed against him and his
administration. And we should know -- we filed over 400 legal actions against him.
And that's a very important part of all of this, of course. The ACLU saying there although we might not like Trump, we believe what he is saying should
be able to be seen by voters and citizens in the United States and people around the world whether it be good, bad or ugly. Back to you.
GIOKOS: -- has responded to Meta's move with a post on truth, social saying that Facebook which has lost billions of dollars in value since
deplatforming your favorite president, me, has just announced they are reinstating my account.
GIOKOS: "Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting president or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution."
And still to come, simply the best: the Barcelona women's team have done something absolutely insane. We will tell you what after this break.
GIOKOS: It may be volatile but cryptocurrency is slowly gaining ground as a payment method. Anna Stewart shows us.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There it's becoming more commonplace to make transactions with cryptocurrency in modern cities like
Dubai at spill niche (ph).
(INAUDIBLE) today. Let me scan this bar code (ph). There we go.
Drinking my crypto coffee, it's hard to imagine that digital currency will ever fully replace metro money. But that possibility might actually be
taking shape in the most unlikely of places.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
STEWART (voice-over): This tiny beach town in El Salvador has long been known for surfing but it's got a new claim to fame. It's playing the crypto
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the prize money is done in bitcoin.
STEWART (voice-over): Tell me about Bitcoin Beach.
How did this project begin?
MIKE PETERSON: Bitcoin Beach was basically showing how bitcoin could impact the lives of those who've traditionally been locked out of the
STEWART (voice-over): About 64 percent of adults in the country don't have a formal bank account. Mike Peterson says he started visiting Bitcoin
Beach in 2005 for the waves but moved a decade later to work with these unbanked communities, where many people don't have a place to save money or
an account from which to spend it.
PETERSON: The challenge was that we actually had to use bitcoin and create a circular economy here.
People are being paid in bitcoin and then they would go and obviously want to spend it for their living expenses. And then those stores would turn
around and pay their employees in bitcoin.
STEWART (voice-over): Why, if so many people are out of banks in El Salvador, does this make more sense?
PETERSON: For most banks, it is not worth it for them to have customers that make less than $500 a month. They are not going to make enough in
fees, so they really try to lock those people out.
(Speaking foreign language).
PETERSON: So the great thing about using bitcoin is that even little stands on the beach like this they, don't need any account, there's no
gatekeepers. They could receive it directly, peer to peer, and send it directly. She receives it in her wallet and she has it now.
STEWART (voice-over): The whole country has followed suit. Since 2021, El Salvador operates two official currencies, the U.S. dollar and bitcoin. But
some experts say that it is not paying off for the country, which is plagued by high poverty rates and crime.
STEWART: A country that was already in financial straits putting really so much money to bitcoin, betting its future on bitcoin, lots of people say
that the project has failed. I guess you are going to disagree.
PETERSON (voice-over): What is the definition of success?
Where else in the world is 20 percent of the population using bitcoin in only a year?
That is much faster adoption than a credit card company, than any financial innovation that we have seen. As far as the marketing aspect, we are
talking about El Salvador right now, really one of the most remarkable turnarounds for a country in the world's history, to see in a short few
years how they could go from being the murder capital of the world to the country that people were arguing about whether or not they were using the
right financial innovation.
GIOKOS: Well, scientists say that the inner core of our planet could be shifting into reverse, so to speak. The core is a massive rotating ball of
iron and nickel but researchers say, in China, that its rotation has almost stopped in recent years. And it may switch direction.
They believe that something that happens once every several decades but some independent scientists say that, whatever is happening, no calamity is
thankfully in the making.
Ukrainian athletes and their supporters are blasting Wednesday's IOC decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals in
upcoming Olympic qualifiers, as well as next year's Summer Games in Paris and the Milan Winter Games in 2026.
The International Olympic Committee says in a statement, "No athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passports."
But the rights group Global Athletes, along with the group, Ukrainian Athletes, issued a blistering rebuke on the IOC and warned that Moscow
would quote, "use athletes once more to bolster the war effort and distract from the atrocities in Ukraine on one of the biggest multisport stages in