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Connect the World
Ukrainian President Replaces Defense Minister; Ramaphosa: No Evidence South Africa Supplied Arms to Russia; Africa Climate Summit Convenes in Nairobi; China's Leader may Skip Gathering of Top Economics; UAE Launches Commercial Gaming Regulator; UAE Celebrates Return of Emirati Astronaut Al Neyadi to Earth. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired September 04, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back, this hour diplomatic discussions and high level terminations the Ukraine war enters a
new phase. We'll be breaking that down in just a few moments. First up though, your other headlines is our South Africa's President Cyril
Ramaphosa, says that an investigation has found no evidence that his country loaded arms and ammunition on to a Russian cargo ship late last
There appears to be progress in efforts to mediate the conflict in Sudan. The Kenyan President William Ruto told me today that a meeting will be held
on the sidelines of the African climate summit in Nairobi. And later this hour over 70,000 attendees still stuck at the annual Burning Man Festival,
flooding and mud is left the Nevada desert venue site impossible.
We'll this for the second hour of "Connect the World". The Kremlin says that talks between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish
counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan today have been constructive the top level meeting aimed to resurrect the Black Sea Grain initiative, a deal vital to
ensuring food and fertilizer can leave ports in Ukraine safely.
Well those talks follow another important diplomatic development in Russia's war on Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskyy has replaced his Defense
Minister, citing the need for new approaches, and I quote him there in his ongoing counter offensive. The move comes at a critical time as Ukraine
enters a new phase with allies and weapons donors.
So tonight we ask, what will this new phase of war look like? We've got team coverage for you. CNN's Melissa Bell is in Ukraine, Zaporizhzhia
region and an International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson. He's been in and out of Ukraine over the past 18 months, of course, reporting from
Let's start with you, Nic, what do we know about what was discussed between Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier today? Let's start there.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, look, Erdogan went there with the concrete proposals at the U.N. laid out U.N. Secretary
General center, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, last week. Russia's position on this and this is what we heard from President Putin
today is, you know, I'm ready to work with these proposals.
But we need to get guarantees. There have been promises we feel that we're being lied to by Ukraine's Western backers. And we don't take this at face
value. And he's offering an alternate proposal to get Russia's grain to some six African nations by shipping it to Turkey.
And then having Turkey on ship it to those countries potentially expanding there. What was actually agreed here, so if there was anything specific
really didn't come out in the public forum, but we did hear from President Erdogan. And he did say that he was hopeful that deal could be put back
together soon, I think was his word.
But we don't have a sense of timeline. And we don't have a sense of how the gaps between what the U.N. have in its proposal, what Russia wants to see.
Now we don't have a sense of how those might be bridged.
ANDERSON: Let me bring Melissa in at this point, because what we do know is on the eve, of course of this meeting, to discuss, Melissa, this reviving
of this grain deal, Russia has been bombing agricultural port infrastructure. So let's just start there and talk about what is going on
As President Zelenskyy, of course, replaces his Defense Minister, that's a big story. So, just to pick apart what we're hearing here?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we're seeing here on the ground, where as you say, just today before those crucial talks got going and
Sochi, Becky, more drone strikes not just in the east of the country around Dnipro, but also more symbolically, perhaps on the key infrastructure, or
in the Odessa region on one of its main exporting ports at Reni which is right down by the Romanian border on the Danube.
More drone strikes, some of them intercepted some of them got through and it was grain infrastructure, port infrastructures that were hit.
This of course, even as the counter offensive continues, Becky, we've seen more intense fighting on so many points of the frontline. But most
specifically, of course, what we're seeing in our eyes is very much on what's happening with the counter offensive on the southern front lines to
the south of Zaporizhzhia.
We've been speaking to a number of soldiers who've been involved in the retaking of Robotine, who really paint a grim picture of what's happening
down there. The sky black with drones, the extensive minefields, constant artillery strikes, aerial bombardments.
What we understand is going on right now is these are small assault groups that are being sent to try and consolidate those bridgeheads to the south
of Robotine. The plan appears to be twofold. First of all, getting enough room and strengthen consolidated position cleared in these extraordinarily
treacherous conditions with very angry Russian forces.
On the other side, that's what we're hearing from the soldiers who are taking out their anger on those positions around Robotine. Trying to
consolidate those positions that are larger scale offensive might be organized a larger scale of assault, to try and press ahead towards -- .
The second part of their tactics, their strategy is trying to draw towards this particular part of the frontline, some of those elite, some frontline
soldiers that Russia currently has a more extensively spread out. That second part, by the way, appears to be working already.
We know that from some of the Russian blogger that followed these things from independent analysts elsewhere and from Ukrainian sources as well. So
that appears to be working, the question is whether they can use this momentum, and this tactical advantage that they appear to have for the time
being just south of Robotine on the field to try and press ahead.
Despite all that is being thrown out them by the Russian forces, I think it's important to remember even as we listen to Vladimir Putin negotiating
with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, what is actually happening here on the ground. And that is those entrenched positions that the Russians have all along
The extra men and weapons that they're throwing at Ukrainian forces at various points along it, not just here, but the north in Kupiansk where the
Russians have amassed some 100,000 soldiers as they try and make the most of the fact that Ukraine has its attention focused on the south.
And of course, as you say, the drone attacks that are fairly regular, if not daily, and that target, that infrastructure, specifically, the grain
infrastructure, the agricultural infrastructure, the grain exports, Ukraine's ability to get its grain elsewhere in the world.
So even as that negotiation happens, and even as we hear the words about the fact that it may be possible to revive this, and in fact, what is
happening is a great deal more damage to Ukraine's infrastructures, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, it's fascinating, isn't it? Before I bring Nic back in, I just do want to get your perspective on the sacking of Ukraine's Defense
Minister by the President, -- why is this significant?
BELL: Well, what we understand is Oleksii Reznikov, who has been widely praised, Becky, for all that he's done over the course of the last 19
months now wanted to step down. Now, the man who is taking over Rustem Umerov is widely praised here in Ukraine.
He's considered an extremely safe place, pair of hands. He's had extensive knowledge of so much of this for being involved, as he has been in some of
the prisoner of war exchanges. But he's also taking over at a crucial time, because what we understand from President Zelenskyy, what he's been saying
these last few days and weeks is that September is going to be an extremely busy period.
Not just as Ukrainian forces try and press ahead with their counter offensive, but also in terms of asking Western allies for more weaponry
that will allow them, they believe, to make the difference when it comes to their frontlines. So this man is taking over at a critical time, both in
terms of what Ukraine is going to be asking allies for.
But also about what Ukraine is trying to do in terms of its own weapons capability, bringing weapons that are able to bring this war to Russia
itself. And that is something that Ukraine has been doing more and more successfully. This Rustem Umerov takes over at a point when not only is he
going to pursue those two aspects.
He is also coming in at the time to draw a line under some of the corruption scandals that have so troubled Ukraine's Defense Ministry over
the course of the last 18 months, Becky.
ANDERSON: So the President replaces the Defense Minister and the war certainly enters a new phase. Thank you, Melissa. Let's just get Nic's
perspective on what that new phase is likely to look like, Nic?
ROBERTSON: Yes, there's going to be a drive to get more and get faster from Ukraine's allies get those F-16s get the Ukrainian pilots trained on them
faster, get the F-16s into action to try to continue to push ahead with the offensive. Look, the big thing for Ukraine at the moment is convincing its
backers that it's worth backing them the same way that they've been doing it until now.
So that means success on the battlefield. So I think Ukrainians were trying to push that narrative that they aren't getting successes. They are worth
backing they'll try to develop out their domestic military production infrastructure as best they can because they know that they may have a
harder task next year.
They may not get everything that they want. I think they will try to, as we've heard that consolidate what they've got. But I don't think anyone is
in any doubt that this war is going to carry on into next year that the Ukrainians might have better, more troops who are better trained.
We're likely to see more drone attacks in Russia, we're likely to see more drones in the air all round, we're likely to see more complex drone
attacks. The negotiations, I don't think are really going to gather momentum, perhaps not until about a year from now.
It just looks like that this is a battle by the Ukrainians to show and get some gains, lock them in for the winter, recharge, recuperate as best they
can under a serious Russian barrage and on assault at the same time, as to try to shake Russians, the citizens confidence in their leadership by
upping your tax on infrastructure in Russia.
ANDERSON: Good to have you, Nic. Your perspective is important, thank you. Well political observers say that the special relationship and I put that
in inverted commas as it were between Turkey and Russia may be shifting that as the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan feels more secure.
After his May re-election, you can follow that all the other big stories out of this region. Of course, I'm coming to you from our Middle East
Broadcasting hub here in Abu Dhabi. In our Middle East newsletter that is meanwhile in the Middle East access that by scanning the QR code at the
bottom of your screen, or signing up online.
South Africa trying to put allegations to aesthetic claims of "tarnished its image". South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa now says an
investigation has found no evidence that his country loaded arms ammunition onto a Russian cargo ship. Late last year, the U.S. Ambassador to South
Africa made the claim saying that he would bet his life on it.
CNN's Senior International Correspondent David McKenzie has been across all of this from Johannesburg. And while we wouldn't normally report rumor and
conjecture, David, I mean, there was such a furor around these alleged arms shipments the story coming from a key U.S. official in South Africa and his
statement against that now of course from Cyril Ramaphosa. Just explain what was going on here?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, you're right. We wouldn't report on rumors but ever since this sanction vessel
arrived in Cape Town and December last year, turned its transponder off, and definitely delivered something and allegedly, at the time was believed
to take something back onto that book.
There has been wild speculation about the story. And it's not a small thing for a U.S. Ambassador to come out and publicly state that he'd bet his life
on the evidence that he saw. That said that the South African's loaded weapons and ammunition back onto the lady our vessel to send it back to
Of course, this was at a time of very tense relations between the U.S. and South Africa, who are generally on good terms in the overall sphere of the
war on Ukraine, which South Africa has repeatedly said it's not aligned on now, overnight Cyril Ramaphosa, the President gave a national address.
He had set up a three person panel, including a charge, Becky, to investigate these claims. Here's the bottom line from the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: When all matters are considered, none of the allegations made about the supply of weapons to Russia, have
been proven to be true. And none of the persons who made these allegations could provide any evidence to support the claims that had been leveled
against our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: Now a spokesperson of the Embassy did say that they gave certain information to this inquiry. The President of South Africa, Becky, said
that these allegations had a very significant impact on the economy, on the currency and understanding of South Africa on the world stage, because much
of this information is classified.
And the South African said that the boat or the vessel was here to deliver arms for the military that was ordered back in 2018. There's no real way of
corroborating any of this information. But if you look at the way the Americans are now talking about this, saying that they welcome the
seriousness of this investigation for what they said was a very serious matter.
It does appear whatever happened that both sides of the story or both countries at play here are trying to draw a line in the sand on this and
move on from this difficult period. Becky?
ANDERSON: David McKenzie on the story. Thanks, David. Well coming up, the president of Kenya tells me, he sees an opening for mediation efforts to
try and resolve the deadly crisis in Sudan that has caused so much suffering. Stick around to hear him and find out why.
Plus CNN is at the Africa climate summit now convening in Nairobi, will explain why organizers there are hoping to showcase Africa as a place for
climate investment, that all coming up after this.
ANDERSON: You're watching "Connect the World", I'm Becky Anderson. Well in Africa coup leaders in Gabon say that General Brice Oligui Nguema has been
sworn in as the country's transitional President despite international condemnation. The move comes just days after the military seized power from
President Ali Bongo whose family ruled Gabon for more than 50 years.
Well in a televised speech, Nguema vowed to and I quote him here, "To hold free, transparent, incredible new elections". And he said he intends to
return power to civilian rule, but did not provide a timetable for that. Meantime, we are learning about renewed mediation efforts in the conflict
in Sudan, which has been going on of course for nearly five months now.
Regional efforts have so far failed to stop the fighting. Kenya's President William Ruto, who has led mediation efforts through the East African bloc
known as IGAD says that warring factions have now agreed to come to the table for regional peace talks.
Up to this point, the leader of the Sudanese army Abdel Fattah al-Burhan had accused the Kenyan president of favoring his opponents see rapid
support forces, but that may be changing. Mr. Ruto spoke to me on the sidelines of the Africa Climate Summit, and here is what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM RUTO, KENYAN PRESIDENT: I had a conversation two days ago with Burhan, who is the leader of SAF, the people who initially accused Kenya of
being partisan. He now has dropped the partisan allegations. And he is ready for us as a region through IGAD to work with others, including Egypt
and the neighbors, including the U.S. and Saudi, using the -- process to harmonize these processes so that we can get to a solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, as I mentioned, President Ruto's remarks to me come as his country hosts the Africa climate summit world leader's policymaker's
scientists amongst those attending the three day event in Nairobi.
The summit is focusing on climate positive growth and financial solutions to battle, the climate crisis in Africa and beyond. CNN's Larry Madowo on
the sidelines there and we'll get to the summit in a moment. I just do want to get your thoughts on President Ruto's comments.
We are five months into this conflict in Sudan, deadly conflict, both sides accused of war crimes. What do we make of what we've heard today and where
that takes mediation efforts at this point, Larry?
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, this is a major development in this conflict in Sudan. What President Ruto is saying is that General Abdel
Fattah al-Burhan who leads the Sudanese armed forces, has essentially agreed that he can talk to General Hemedti that is Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo,
who leads the rapid support forces.
This paramilitary group that's been involved in this conflict since April with the Sudanese army. And President Ruto is saying that the quad the U.S.
the UK, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia could be involved in this Egypt as well, which has major diplomatic power and influence in Sudan. As
well as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development that is a regional bloc, that President Ruto has been leading their efforts to try and get
these two men to agree to some kind of talks.
There's been talks previously in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, we've covered that extensively those led nowhere. And so far, this conflict has just raged on
with thousands of people killed more than 4 million people displaced, so if this is sincere, and this is a big if because so far, the two parties have
had some levels of dishonesty.
If this is sincere, if they can actually talk, that could be a way to finally talk about ending this conflict, which has been, which has had such
a devastating impact in Sudan.
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. I mean, any solution at this point is sorely needed. So any mediation efforts, I'm sorry, towards the solution sorely
needed. Of course, Larry, thank you. Back to the climate agenda, then in Nairobi, the first African climate summit ever to be held. This is a sort
of warm up to a certain extent, to COP28, which will be held here in the UAE at the beginning of December, end of November. President Ruto calling
for a new, clean energy pact for Africa, have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUTO: As a continent, we have the largest reserves of clean energy, or renewable energy resources. And we want to see how these renewable energy
resources can be consolidated, can be packaged into bankable opportunities. 60 percent of the world's renewable solar resources are in Africa.
And we want to use these resources to power our own growth in a responsible manner, that we are not using fossil fuels, we are using renewable energy.
And we want to do it not just for Africa; we also want to use these renewable energy resources to decarbonize the world economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Of course, it's not just solar, wind, or hydro, which could be so useful to a clean energy future. There are, of course, enormous researches
associated with batteries and an energy transition in Africa, which are great opportunities going forward. The President, Larry, there is talking
to me about bankable opportunities.
How are those looking and how are leaders there and the world of business because this is about private public partnerships? How are they looking to
address those bankable opportunities?
MADOWO: President Ruto made this point, Becky, that Africa's carbon footprint is minimal. But the real human tall of the climate crisis here is
devastating in so many parts of the world. And he's hoping that he can rally fellow leaders from the African continent to have a unified platform
going into COP28.
But also the president gets criticism sometimes for saying all the right things, but not having enough of a follow through. And I want to get a
reaction here from a young climate activist. He's Somalian formal settlements here in Nairobi, Geoffrey Mboya, he only 23 active about these
issues. What's your reaction to what President Ruto said today?
GEOFFREY MBOYA, KENYAN CLIMATE ACTIVIST: I mean it's really a brilliant acknowledgement that Africa needs to step up on climate crisis. But at the
same time, we keep seeing this conversation every other time. We need now to move from conversation into real tangible actions.
MADOWO: As a young African what is that real, tangible action you want?
MBOYA: Yesterday we did present a youth declaration with action points that we want the president as the chair of the heads of states, African heads of
state, committee on climate change, to present the African Union and ensure that every other conversation has a young person represented.
MADOWO: You've been telling me that you come from an informal settlement here, what some people might call a slum, and you feel that the urban poor
are not being considered in the climate conversation.
MBOYA: Yes, I may come from Mukuru KWA Njenga, which sits in the most populated constituency in Kenya for far too long. People when they think
about informal settlement, they think about Kibera. But Mukuru has a rich history of the negligence that has been perpetrated by the government in
This month, we had over 100 people who were killed because of an oil spillage that flowed into the rivers and it caused a huge fire.
MBOYA: So it's a matter of prioritizing the poor people, those who are affected, the most vulnerable.
MBOYA: At the COP conversation of climate change.
MADOWO: And that's all coming up. Hopefully you want that to come up in the conversation that COP28 later this year in Dubai. So there's a lot of young
people who are here Becky, actively engaged and hoping that the leaders who are coming here over the next three days can listen to them.
ANDERSON: Yes, and you know what, Larry, it's so important that we hear from them. So thank you for bringing him on. And it's so important that we
understand climate crisis through everyone's perspective at this point, tangible action is what he is calling for. He's absolutely right to call
for that. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Ruto and I discussed at length what Africa needs and why these needs are crucial, crucial at this climate summit finance, to global cooperation
and everything in between. You can catch that full interview tomorrow on "Connect the World". Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories
that are on our radar right now.
Pope Francis is back in Rome after what was a four day trip to Mongolia. Main purpose of his trip there was to visit the countries small, I'm really
mean small Catholic community. While he was there, the pope also sent reading Sunniva nearby China, asking Catholics there to be good Christians
and good citizens that ken has a strained relationship with the Chinese Communist Party over freedom of religion.
Well, the French government is stepping up its fight against smoking as part of a larger national plan or will now be a ban on disposable e-
cigarettes. According to the French Prime Minister, smoking kills 75,000 people a year in his country.
Morocco's House Speaker will make an historic visit to Israel's parliament, the Knesset this week, sir according to the Israeli Government; the speaker
will be the first Moroccan official ever to enter the Knesset coming amid warming relations between the two countries following the signing of the
Abraham accords nearly three years ago.
Organizers of the annual Burning Man festival are hoping that people there can start to leave today. More than 70,000 were at the event many still
stuck in the Nevada desert venue as Camila Bernal explains flooding in the mud left leaving of behind. The mother it left behind has made leaving
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We find on leaving right after the burn which is Saturday night. And then it started raining on us like that night.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A dramatic washout at Burning Man trapping tens of thousands at the festival and delaying the
events marquee moment what a massive wooden effigy known as the man is set on fire. The decades old gathering in the Black Rock Desert is no stranger
to extreme heat. But rarely like this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's sinking. Think barefoot is the way to go.
BERNAL (voice-over): Two to three months' worth of rain falling in just 24 hours turning the desert ground into a thick cement like paste. -- --
Festival goer Dean Zeller from Santa Monica, California shot this video with his ankle deep into the mud. And from the air you can see the standing
water muddy roads and countless RVs, vans, trucks and other vehicles parked and helpless.
ANDREW HYDE, STRANDED AT BURNING MAN FESTIVAL: When it was really wet, you couldn't do anything you just lived here. If there's really no way to walk
miles, you know to get out of it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We couldn't leave like we were stuck basically; people could barely walk, let alone drive their bikes or drive out of here. And
so, that's sort of getting a little scary.
BERNAL (voice-over): Many of those who tried to drive away were stuck. The situation so concerning that even President Joe Biden was briefed on the
matter. While organizers have often described the festival as a self- expression event where harshness meets creativity, few expected it to be this bad.
HYDE: Survival event like you come out here to be in a harsh climate and you prepare for that.
BERNAL (voice-over): Event organizers said roads remain too wet and muddy and local authorities have told thousands of people to shelter in place,
though some attendees braved the conditions to make it out, including actor and comedian Chris Rock, and another festival attendee -- DJ Diplo.
They posted a series of videos as they track more than six miles in the mud before they two got to ride on the back of a fans pickup truck. Local
officials are urging those still on site to conserve food, water and fuel. Still, some attendees downplayed fears telling us they think they'll manage
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think that it's going to like people are going to like starve or do anything over there. The community in itself would
help each other and there's a lot of people who overstocked for this thing too. It's really beautiful actually, when you're going into the camps
everybody was helping each other out.
BERNAL (voice-over): Camila Bernal, CNN Blackrock Sea.
ANDERSON: You're watching "Connect the World" live from Abu Dhabi where the time here is half past seven in the evening. Still ahead buying time, one
of the biggest property companies in China just escaped a catastrophic default that could have sent shockwaves through the country's economy. And
further we'll take you inside the huge prices up next.
And then little boy lost, returns home after 42 years. We'll show you the incredible reunion with his mum and explain how he and so many others
ANDERSON: Right, half past seven or just past that here in the UAE 7.34. This is "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson. For the first time ever
Chinese leader Xi Jinping may skip the G20 summit. Instead China indicated that the premier would go to New Delhi and his place this weekend.
Now that news comes as tensions rise between China and the host country, India over their disputed border. Let's get you more from Kristie Lu Stout
who is in Hong Kong.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Will Chinese Leader Xi Jinping attend the G20 summit in India later this week? Well, according to China's
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Premier Li Qiang will be at the gathering in New Delhi. And this is the clearest sign yet that Xi is not attending the
summit amid speculation that he would be a no show.
Today Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said this, "At the invitation of the government of the Republic of India, Premier of the State Council Li
Qiang will attend the 18th G20 Summit to be held in New Delhi, India on September 9 and 10. There was no mention of Xi in the statement.
Now Xi has attended all other in person G20 meeting since becoming president in 2013. In 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he joined via
video link. At this year's G20 Xi would be missing out on key conversations on climate in Ukraine. And his expected no show New Delhi comes as China
and India clash over a border dispute.
It also comes as China battles a number of economic challenges with one of the country's largest homebuilders warning of default. On Sunday, the U.S.
President Joe Biden told reporters that he was disappointed that Xi was not attending the summit, but suggested that he will be meeting with him in the
future. Biden did not elaborate.
A U.S. tensions and tensions with China have flared over Taiwan, trade and territorial disputes in the South China Sea. And in a bid to stabilize a
relationship, a number of senior Biden officials have visited China in recent months, including the U.S. Commerce Secretary.
President Biden previously told CNN that he would be meeting with Xi Jinping in the fall. And they may still have an opportunity to speak on the
sidelines of the APEC summit in San Francisco in November. Biden and Xi last spoke on the sidelines of the G20 in Bali last November.
And that has been the only in person encounter between the two leaders since Biden took office in 2021. Kristie Lu Stout CNN, Hong Kong.
ANDERSON: Well Xi does have problems at home. The Chinese property Giant Country Garden will avoid default at least for now for the next few days at
least. The company reportedly want to get extension from creditors. But Country Garden isn't out of the -- as it were here to walk us through what
is going on.
And its significance is Anna Stewart. Anna, this will be a welcome relief. Let's explain why. Why it is that this company is so important?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes. And what was, what happened today was actually really significant. The bond debt that was due was Yuan
denominated, but was worth more than half a billion dollars. And that's now been extended into 2026. There was a relief rally; we saw the stock up some
15 percent. But on the year Becky, it's still down 60 percent.
And its troubles are far from over. So that relief rally probably very short lived. Here are the problems. Country Garden being a massive private
developer in China has already missed two payments on U.S. denominated debt. So it's already missed those it's now in a grace period. But that
ends next week.
So default could be around the corner. And actually, this is something that the company warned about just last week. They warned that they could
default on debts; they also posted a loss of $7 billion for the first half of the year. Now Moody says it has around $4.3 billion of debt that matures
between now and the end of next year.
Perhaps we can knock half a billion dollars actually off of that after the debt extension we got today. But right now what Country Garden really needs
is a revival of China's property market because that is what has sunk and pushed into default so many property developers at the stage for over two
and a bit years.
ANDERSON: And of course, the property market holds such a sort of oversize impact on the China growth story as a whole. So what is the Chinese
Government doing to help the property market at this point?
STEWART: That is such a good point. I mean the property market in China directly and indirectly accounts for almost a third of the economy. And
this is the second biggest economy in the world. So frankly, it doesn't just matter in China. This matters to all of us.
And the Chinese government has unveiled a few policies in recent days to try and really sort of revive the property market because sales have
slumped. I mean, I was just looking at some data that showed that for the country's biggest developers home sales plunged 33 percent in July from the
So the policies that they recently announced include easing mortgage requirements, so people that want mortgages, preferential rates for first
time homebuyers, is it enough. And particularly when you put this against the backdrop of unemployment particularly for the youth and all the people
coming through into the workforce, it doesn't look all that good, Becky.
ANDERSON: Good to have you Anna, as ever, thank you. Elsewhere in China, two people have been detained and accused of damaging part of the Great
Wall with an excavator. This happened in Shanxi Province last month. Police say the pair breached the wall so they could have a shortcut and caused
The part that was damage is known as the 32nd Great Wall. It's one of the surviving complete walls and towers that date back to the Ming Dynasty.
Well it's banned in many countries in the Middle East; UAE could legalize this multibillion dollar industry soon, more on that up next. And a child
stolen and sold from a country under dictatorship is reunited with his mum 42 years later.
ANDERSON: the UAE could be one step closer to becoming the first nation in the Gulf region here to legalize gambling. The country recently announced
the launch of a commercial gaming regulator. And that could pave the way for establishing casinos potentially worth billions of dollars annually.
Let's bring in Eleni Giokos who is down in Dubai for more. And that's where the significance of this news, of course, lies. What do we know at this
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, we have a lot of questions. You've got this gaming authority that has been announced, which basically
opens up the door for anything gaming, it includes lottery potentially includes casinos, maybe horse race betting, as well. But we don't have the
What is very telling, though, Becky, is that you've got two veterans that have decades of experience in the casino industry in the United States that
are heading up this authority, which again, is giving us a little bit more of an indication of what they're trying to achieve with this regulation.
Important to note that under Sharia law, gambling is illegal, you can go to prison, you can face a big fine, but frankly, this regulation has been
under discussion for a very long time. We know that in Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates here in the UAE has seen a big investment from Wynn
Resorts which has casinos from Las Vegas to Macau; they're putting in $3.9 billion.
In fact, there's been a running joke that Ras Al Khaimah will be known as Ras Vegas, purely because there's an expectation that a casino will be
opening up there. Now during an earnings call, the win CEO Craig Billings said this, "I expect that we will have a license for Ras Al Khaimah
But there should be no concern that there is a legalization process that needs to occur, for a broader legalization for gaming to occur in that
property". So this happened in April. This call was in April which again is a precursor to what we're seeing right now for the entire UAE.
ANDERSON: We know competition is heating up in the region for investment, of course. And we certainly know that an emirate like Dubai is going to
have to think out of the box in an attempt to stay one step ahead of Saudi Arabia, where there is massive investment at this point. So could this be
an attempt to do that? Is that the sort of received wisdom here?
GIOKOS: It is. Yes, absolutely, yes. Many would argue that Dubai and the UAE genuinely is many steps ahead from Saudi Arabia, while there's so much
discussion about just opening up tourism in Saudi Arabia, for example, even, you know, starting the discussion of potentially even bringing an
alcohol, Dubai has deregulated the alcohol industry.
It's changed its weekends, it's changed laws around owning property here. It's really trying to entrench itself as a tourism hub. And this was the
next step. Now if you want to go gambling, or you want to go to a casino, basically, in the entire region, you have to go to Egypt, we have to go to
Lebanon and locals are not allowed.
So that might be interesting in terms of what the parameters will be around there. But in terms of economic benefit, yet, as you mentioned, it's in the
billions according to Bloomberg, it could be around $6.6 billion. And just looking at the potential investment of other hotels, you're going to need
more capacity; you're going to see more FDI coming through into the UAE.
And I think we need to focus on what we see in Ras Al Khaimah that will be really interesting example of when they get the license. What we'll be
seeing through coming through there in terms of who's allowed to go into this casino. How will it operate? I think the regulatory environment is
shifting dramatically Becky. And this is because the UAE wants to stay a leader and wants to keep its position as a prime tourist spot in the
ANDERSON: Eleni Giokos on the story out of Dubai for you, thank you. Still to come, abducted, then adopted, we take a look at a systematic scheme
which made its money by stealing children, that is up next.
ANDERSON: In Chile, a joyous ending to 42 years of sorrow. A mother, who was told her son died at childbirth got a stunning phone call telling her
he is actually alive. There's Rafael Romo tells us many babies were stolen there in the 1970s and 80s. And this reunion is heartbreakingly one of just
a very few.
JIMMY LIPPERT THYDEN, STOLEN AS A BABY IN CHILE: When I arrived in Chile, I felt like a lost puzzle piece, a piece that had been lost for 42 years.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a birthday party that had to wait for more than four decades.
THYDEN: They stole 42 years, but they will not steal 43.
ROMO (voice-over): Jimmy Lippert Thyden is celebrating with a family he never knew he had.
THYDEN: I am blessed in the fact that I have a loving family on both sides of the equator.
ROMO (voice-over): His story begins in 1981 in Bolivia, a city in southern Chile.
THYDEN: My mother, my mom, she gave birth to me one month premature. They told her, you know, oh, he looks jaundiced. You know, he looks yellow. We
need to put them in an incubator, and they carried me out of there. Before she could hold me before she could name me, they carried me out. And then
they came back and told her that I had died.
ROMO (voice-over): Thyden says that it was all a scheme to make money out of unsuspecting foreign families looking to adopt children, especially
Americans who had no idea what was going on.
ROMO: Your adoptive family in the United States had no idea that you had been stolen as a baby.
THYDEN: They never believed for one second, they were buying a child they never would have would have done that.
ROMO (voice-over): During the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s and 80s, babies were funneled to adoption agencies, some from the
upper classes taken or given up to protect reputations of their mothers and some from the lower classes where children were simply stolen.
Chilean authorities say many priests, nuns, doctors, nurses and others conspired to carry out illegal adoptions. Authorities told us the number of
stolen babies could be in the thousands. But the investigation into the adoptions has languished over the years. And some of the hospitals where
the children were born have shut down, as we have found out over the years.
ROMO: For many women in this country, what this hospital in ruins means is a place where their children were stolen, the place that became a nightmare
for them. They were looking for a place where they would deliver a healthy baby instead, they left empty handed.
ROMO (voice-over): Constanza Del Rio, the Founder of Nos Buscamos says that after Jimmy Thyden got in touch with them, she recommended a DNA test. When
a match came back a few weeks later, she says she knew the next step was making a phone call to a woman who had believed for decades her son had
died shortly after being born.
She couldn't believe it, she said, she thought it was a joke and poor taste because she had been told her premature baby boy had died.
THYDEN: She didn't know about me, because I was taken from her at birth. And she was told that I was dead. And when she asked for my body, they told
her that they had disposed of it. And so, we've never held each other, we've never hugged. Today, I'm going to get to do that for the first time.
ROMO (voice-over): After several agonizing months, Jimmy Thyden was finally able to travel to Chile to give Maria Angelica Gonz lez, his biological
mother, the hug that had to wait for 42 years.
ROMO: What would you like the world to know about what happened to you? What do you want people to know about your case?
THYDEN: I want them to know that there's tens of thousands of children like me, we tell our story. We do these interviews because we tell these stories
until every child is found.
ROMO (voice-over): How do you get back the time lost? You can't, Jimmy Thyden says. In the end, he added the wisdom about what happened came from
one of his daughters, who told them if a bad thing hadn't happened, she wouldn't be here. And thanks to that her father now has not one but two
families who love him deeply, Rafael Romo, CNN, Santiago, Chile and Atlanta.
ANDERSON: And you will find that email@example.com. You know that cnn.com or on your CNN app where you can find all of our digital content, all right, in
our parting shots tonight, lift off and splashdown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dragon endeavor continuing it's slow descent. There we can see splashdown on screen. Those parachutes are then cut and released.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And there it is, NASA welcoming home four astronauts after their successful return from a near six month stay at the International Space
Station. They were traveling more than 17,000 miles per hour before the Crew Dragon vehicle deployed parachutes and splashdown off the coast of
The astronauts are from the United States, the United Arab Emirates where I am now and Russia. The astronaut from the UAE is this man Sultan Al Neyadi.
Upon his return, the country's president said he was immensely proud of him, writing on X formerly known as Twitter, "You carried the dreams of a
nation to new frontiers. And we celebrate your pioneering journey and safe return. I spoke to Al Neyadi just two months ago from the Mohammed bin
Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, while he was aboard the International Space Station. And he was quite literally over the moon. Take this into part of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Emirati Astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi has -- the crew up portion of the Quest airlock.
ANDERSON: Tell me about the spacewalk Sultan, amazing or terrifying as an experience?
SULTAN AL NEYADI, EMIRATI ASTRONAUT: Both and actually, the name is spacewalk, but we don't walk, we use our hands. So we need to have very
strong forearms to be able to move from one place to another. So it was amazing. It was seven hours continuous. I didn't feel it because I was
really focusing into the mission. The first time I saw Earth, it was a profound moment.
We're flying almost 400 kilometers on top of this planet. And you see everything, you see the mountains and the forests and the desert and
everything that you know of. And it's really great to see this magnificent planet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Sultan Al Neyadi for you folks, congratulations mate. And wherever you are watching in the world, it's a very good evening from me
and the team working with me.