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European Scientists: 2023 was Hottest Summer on Record; Middle East Extremely Vulnerable to Climate Change; Dutch Police Arrest Suspected ISIS Official; Ukraine: 16 Dead in Russian Attack on Donetsk Region; Shi'ite Muslims Mark End of Ashura in Iraq. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired September 06, 2023 - 11:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back. This hour a Russian strike on a market in Donetsk kills at least 16 people including a

child. Just hours before that strike the U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken arrived in Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian officials about their

counter offensive.

Plus in your headlines this hour this summer was the hottest ever recorded according to a new climate report. This as flooding now inundates several

countries around the Mediterranean. And a CNN exclusive security camera video of ISIS prisons in Syria the terrorists did not appear to know they

were being recorded. Now the footage is being used to prosecute Islamic State members.

Ukraine of course is no stranger to Russian missile attacks after 18 months of war. But today the country's leaders are seeing right after a

particularly devastating strike on a shopping area. Well, that was the moment of the strike.

You can see that it was a residential area and civilians had to duck for cover. Officials now say 16 people were killed. President Volodymyr

Zelenskyy says this was a regular market of pharmacy. People who did nothing wrong calling it utter inhumanity. Let's get straight to our

Melissa Bell. She joins me now live from Kyiv, Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That image that you just showed, Becky I think says it all. It is the sound of that missile hitting what was a

market people going about their business their daily lives. The sound the suddenness with which that hit I think it's important to understand what we

just saw on that CCTV footage and how terrifying it would have been.

That town is just 19 kilometers to the West of Bakhmut and so within striking range. One of the questions I suppose Becky is the timing of this

coming as it does even as Secretary of State Antony Blinken is here for his visit looking to shore up support looking to find out what's happening on

the front lines.

But then to take a message back about what is happening here in Ukraine to shore up American support, which has been waiting for the ongoing effort

here. It's very difficult to tell whether it was timed or not certainly, we had heard from Dmitry Peskov earlier today in response to Secretary of

Blinken's visit here.

Saying that it signaled that America the United States was going to give everything it could in terms of financing this war until he said every last

Ukrainian had been spent. That was the reaction to Secretary of Blinken's visit.

But I think the events in the town of Kostiantynivka, Becky, are an important reminder of just what life is like, of course for the ordinary

civilians here in Ukraine. It came on the -- visit here in Kyiv by the way Justice Secretary Blinken was coming to visit also, ballistic and cruise

missiles hitting once again the defense is successfully fending them off with the debris causing damage in the Ukrainian capital is an important

reminder of why Secretary Blinken is here, what he's come to see and what he's come to hear from the Ukrainians about Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes, your reporting is extremely important. Now, Melissa, thank you very much indeed for joining us. Melissa Bell is in Kyiv this hour.

Well, a planet is just sweltered through its hottest summer ever.


That is according to scientists for the European Union. You can see just how much higher temperatures were than previous years and it could get even

hotter. The report says this is going to cause more erratic weather. Greece just weeks ago faced with devastating wildfires now flooding from a

Mediterranean storm has killed at least two people there.

So tonight we ask how severe is the real world impact of our warming planet? And for that we've got Meteorologist Derek Van Dam, who's been

tracking these extreme weather events. Our Chief Climate Correspondent, Bill Weir has more on what is this critical report. And Larry Madowo is in

Nairobi, where African nations say they are paying a steep price for climate change. Let's start with Derek Van Dam. You've been tracking

extreme weather around the globe. What have you found?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well Becky, whether it's the frequency of heavy rain events, perhaps the intensity of tropical cyclones across the

globe, or just the acreage or hectares burned by wildfires, the extremes are becoming more extreme. And that's associated with our changing climate.

We're just giving Greece as an example. But if we look at the globe as a whole, we know that it's warmed about 1.2 degrees Celsius on average since

pre industrial era, right? So what that means is that the atmosphere has the ability to hold more water vapor, so more water vapor leads to the

potential at least for heavier rainfall events to occur.

Now, there's also scientifically backed information that highlights and points out what's actually ongoing right now across the Eastern

Mediterranean impacting Greece, these cut off low pressure systems that literally meander for days, bring heavy rainfall to areas like Eastern

Greece like it's doing right now. And that will become more common and more frequent as we go into our warming world.

Now, when we talk about tropical cyclones, in particular, the forward speed of tropical cyclones from hurricanes and typhoons has actually slowed since

the middle of last century, about 10 percent globally. So what that does is it allows for more rain to fall in particular locations.

Once a storm makes landfall, we talk about stronger storms becoming even stronger in a warming world, but also the sea level and storm surge impacts

worsen as well. As we start to see the increase in our sea level rises, it's all pointed back to the heat trapping gases that we continue to burn

into the atmosphere.

And that in turn is of course warming our oceans near record warmth across the North Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico. And then when we talk about

wildfires, we just look what's happened across Canada this year, the seasons are becoming longer, and we're also burning significantly more

acreage or hectares of wildfire. And Canada is a prime example of that this year's acreage burned so far is literally eclipsing the past four decades

for Canada. I mean, that really says something that you believe, Becky.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Derek, that's really important stuff thank you. Let's get to New York and to our Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir, who can

walk us through this EU report, I think, you know, Derek has really sort of laid out just what we have, as context here. Tell us about what this report

lays out.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, it's the sort of the least surprising a new record report here after anybody who's gone

outside on three or four continents this summer, has felt that June and July were the hottest in recorded history, August on top of that, put them

together, the hottest three month period ever recorded going back to 1940 here as well.

But it's the amount that record has been broken, scientists are usually measuring these in 100th of a degree or so. But the new record over the

past 30 years, as you saw on that chart is nearly two thirds of a full degree Celsius as well. And this is just the beginning because El Nino, the

natural warming cycle is just beginning.

So the more chilling headline of this report, Becky is this could be one of the coolest summers of the rest of your life. And the thermostat obviously

has been controlled by humanity's use of fossil fuels. Exxon Mobil in the United States said this week that humanity will miss targets to hold

warming at two degrees, not 1.5 of the Paris Accord but two degrees because of the projected amount of fossil fuels oil that will be pumped by mid-


ANDERSON: Bill Weir with important information for you folks as temperatures rise thank you Bill across the globe. African Leaders there

attending the Climate Summit in Nairobi called on the international community to act with urgency in reducing emissions and by supporting the

continent to fight climate change.

They say Africa is not historically responsible for global warming but bears the brunt of its effect and its impacting lives, livelihoods and the

economy. For more on this, let's bring in CNN's Larry Madowo, who's been on the sidelines of the summit. And you've been looking at what came out of

this the Nairobi doctrine as it were you know this sort of closing statement what does it say and where does it take us at this point?


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So Becky, what the anaerobic declaration as they're calling it is asking for the world to take urgent action that

Africa is having in bearing the brunt of the climate crisis here.

And we spoke to the CEO of the African Climate Summit, who told CNN that he's most proud that African Leaders came together and spoke with one voice

to convey the urgency of the climate crisis here, and the need for financing for adaptation on the continent.

They've said this before they had to do a bit of a compromise on the language here in this Nairobi declarations to make sure it's matches what

the African group has been saying, as COP discussions in previous years, but also tries and advance this conversation forward.

And he feels that he did that. However, I spoke with two young Africans who've been here as well as the African Climate Summit, one from Nigeria,

and one from Uganda. And they have very different views of what they found.


GEOFREY MUTABAZI, COFOUNDER, KARAA ELECTRIC BIKES UGANDA: Most of the sessions that I attended, were, yes, talking about what we should do.


MUTABAZI: But there were very few people in the room actually talking about how we are going to do it and tangible, you know, targets of, you know, the

next steps of reducing climate change effects during transition measures and all that stuff.

MADOWO: David, your takeaway?

DAVID ARINZE, RENEWABLE ENERGY SPECIALIST, NIGERIA: I think that we're beginning to see that the solutions will come from Africa, by Africans to

solve Africa's challenges, you know, and that's for me, it's very fulfilling because African Leaders are coming together to say, we have this

problems, we know our challenges. Now we need to begin to take meaningful action towards addressing it. So while yes, you still have to talk to make

anything happen, I don't think --

MADOWO: Geofrey thinks there are too much talk and not enough action?

ARINZE: Yes, I know. You still need to talk because I don't think you're going to in negotiation room keeping quiet. If you do not voice out and

share certain key things that need to be achieved, how it could be achieved.

The kind of financing and the kind of support that is needed to achieve it, and then we will not move things. But this summit is one that has created

that platform, I mean, bringing relevant world leaders, and stakeholders to come in to say hey, now we can begin to put action where our mouth is.

MADOWO: So you feel optimistic coming out of the African Climate Summit?

ARINZE: I'm very optimistic.


ARINZE: Of course, a lot more action needs to be taken. And so for me, this is the formula. While we have already identified what we need to achieve --


ARINZE: -- we have been able to trickle it down to what actions needs to be taken meaningfully going forward, we need to begin to measure our progress.

As we are achieving this as we're going through this, are we making progress? Whatever actions we are taking? Is it taking us to the

destination? And if not, what do we need to start doing differently? For me, it's monitored action.

MADOWO: Geofrey, you are not optimistic, you're pessimistic why?

MUTABAZI: I'm pessimistic because if you've watched the movie "Don't look up" --


MUTABAZI: -- by Leonardo DiCaprio?

MADOWO: Right.

MUTABAZI: This feels like a scene or more like the script of the movie.

MADOWO: You feel like we're living through a "Don't look up moment" but in real life?

MUTABAZI: Yes, because I'll give you an example. We're looking at all these complex things like, you know, carbon capture and talking about carbon

credits and all this stuff, which is important. But there are a lot of low hanging fruits that we can take up and put all our weight behind to reduce

the impact on the environment and reverse the global warming crisis that we're facing.


MADOWO (on camera): So one of the interesting things that the Africa Climate Summit did Becky is convening a very interesting mix of African

Leaders. Mohammed Idris Debbie Edna from Chad, who took over in a coup I say if I wake you from Eritrea, who almost doesn't show up in Democratic


But they all admit that, yes, the climate crisis is something that they have to be actively engaged in. So they might not meet the criteria for

democratic countries. But in terms of the impacts of climate change in Africa, they are all united in one voice. And I think that's one of the

things that the efficacy Africa Climate Summit, CEO is very proud of Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, and I think Eritrea and Chad in the crosshairs of the climate crisis. So you're making a very good point. Climate crisis, of

course, doesn't discriminate. Larry, thank you, wherever you are, and whoever you are, but here in the Middle East, where I am with, of course,

broadcasting from our Middle East Programming Hub here in Abu Dhabi.

The effects are particularly concerning because this region is one of the world's most affected and most exposed to climate change that can be seen

in harsher droughts, more intense sand storms, and soaring heat waves.

We're here in the UAE for example, a place where all these consequences have been undeniably observed. This graph shows you the average annual mean

temperature of the Emirates over the last 50 years and in line with global trends the UAE's heat is not cooling down.


It certainly doesn't help at all that people across the region including the UAE face unparalleled water scarcity. Well, according to the World

Resource Institute, 25 countries are exposed to extremely high water stress each year and it's no surprise that the majority of them are in the Middle

East and North Africa.

Four of the top five water stressed countries are in this region. Three in the scorching hot Gulf that's Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, and then

further afield Cyprus, but across the whole Mena region 83 percent of the entire population is suffering from a dearth of water a resource that

sustains our existence on earth. Can you imagine that?

Well, if these trends continue, large parts of the Middle East will become uninhabitable by the end of the century. So as this country prepares to

host COP28 UN's Annual Climate Summit at the end of the year mitigating the issues it faces as a nation, and the region it belongs to as a whole will

undoubtedly take center stage. Well, just ahead here on "Connect the World".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Normal state of affairs, the hospital had CCTV Eleni. The members of Islamic State didn't realize that this was being recorded in

the background, and didn't think too much about it.


ANDESON: Let's go after those who are involved.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson. This is "Connect the World". Time here in Abu Dhabi is 18 minutes past 7. Well never before seen video

of the terror group ISIS operating a prison in Aleppo is now being used to go after former members and commanders. CNN has exclusive reporting on this

story from Jomana Karadsheh, my colleague who joins me now from London, Jomana?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky it's been more than four years since the fall of ISIS's so called caliphate. And for many people ISIS may

seem like something from the past a distant memory but the group remains a top global security threat the military battle against ISIS in Iraq, Syria

and elsewhere around the world continues and as does the battle for justice and accountability.

And this is an effort by many governments around the world as well as NGOs and one of those groups CIJA these are former war crimes investigators and

lawyers and they obtain the CCTV video from inside the Aleppo Children's Hospital back in 2013 this is when this video captured what was happening

inside that hospital back in 2013.


This is when this video captured what was happening inside that hospital that was being used by ISIS as a detention and torture facility. It was

their headquarters in the city of Aleppo, they shared this video. Some of these clips with CNN exclusively. And we have to warn viewers that the

video they're about to see is disturbing and graphic.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): It was an ISIS Hallmark slick Media Productions terrorizing the world. It's what they wanted us to see, but not this.

CHRIS ENGELS, COMMISSION FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY: This film is different. This film is Islamic state without Islamic State knowing

it was being filmed.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Never before seen video inside the groups headquarters in the Syrian city of Aleppo in 2013. Children's Hospital

turned into a house of horrors. CCTV video that captures the reality of the Islamic State where torture was routine hundreds of Syrians were held in

this makeshift prison, many never made it out to tell their stories. Others did, including some Western hostages with chilling accounts of what they

survived and witnessed.

DIDIER FRANCOIS, FRENCH JOURNALIST: We could hear the Syrian prisoners in the first places where we were detained in the Aleppo hospital for

instance. We could see some of them in the corridors and we could see some people dying in their blood.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): This video is much more than just a snapshot of ISIS's reign of terror.

ENGELS: As a normal state of affairs, the hospital had CCTV running. The members of Islamic State didn't realize that this was being recorded in the

background, and didn't think too much about it.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): And the cameras rolled for months capturing scenes like this, a captive left hanging in a stress position. Blindfolded

detainees marched down the hallway. Here a fighter laughing as he pushes down the head of handcuffed and hooded detainee is only a few of the clips

shared exclusively with CNN by the Commission for International Justice and Accountability CIJA.

ENGELS: This is exactly the type of treatment that we've heard about from survivors. What makes this important is as you see right there, the Islamic

State Member without a mask on walking down the hall. That's a person that would normally try and hide his face outside.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): We've blurred faces to preserve ongoing investigations and possible future prosecutions.

ENGELS: That's incredible evidence at trial for several of these individuals who have been identified.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): According to Engels fighters from all over the world, including senior members from Europe and the U.S., we're operating

in the facility. This video he says has already been used to identify a French suspect. Evidence gathered has long allowed them and law enforcement

in various Western countries to identify and track down ISIS members who fled before the fall of ISIS's so called caliphate. CIJA's war crimes

investigators worked undercover collecting evidence like this from the battlefields in Syria and Iraq.

ENGELS: It's often the case that domestic law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities have enough evidence to prove that they were a member. What we

think is important, is it wherever possible, we're able to prosecute them for the torture for the kidnapping for the murder.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): This is not just about the past, ISIS remains a top global security threat.

ENGELS: These are individuals that have already proven that they are a threat. And we don't want to give them the opportunity to decide to go down

that path again. We've had several 100 requests for information, our law enforcement partners have not at all forgotten about the conflict.

KARADSHEH: Just before dawn on January 17, heavily armed Dutch police descended on the street in the village of Arkel. They raided a house and

arrested a man suspected of having been a senior ISIS commander in Syria.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): His arrest in the small sleepy town where he lived a quiet life with his wife and children shocked the nation. Residents here

were reluctant to speak to us about the suspect identified as -- , he allegedly operated in Damascus, not Aleppo. So it wasn't the CCTV video

that led to his arrest. It was a tip from a Syrian NGO and witness testimony that triggered a year's long Dutch investigation.

Sources say he had a long history of extremism in Syria holding leadership positions first within an al Qaeda affiliate and later ISIS. -- who rejects

the government's accusations now face his life in prison.

MIRJAM BLOM, PROSECUTOR, NETHERLANDS PUBLIC PROSECUTION SERVICE: He had a leading position within a terrorist organization.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Mirjam Blom is the lead public prosecutor on the case. She's charged him with two counts of membership in terror

organizations with the aim to commit war crimes.


BLOM: In order to charge him with separate war crimes, like execution or violence, arrests, or torture, you need more evidence than indications.

KARADSHEH: And so this is ongoing.

BLOM: And we have, we have investigation still going on. Yes.

KARADSHEH: Was he hiding?

BLOM: He was not hiding. He was -- living there openly, people like him, and also war criminals come to the Netherlands hiding in the legitimate

stream of refugees. And to be able to investigate and prosecute those cases is very, very important aspects in our mission not to be a safe haven for

war criminals.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): The trail of terror ISIS left behind will haunt not only their victims, but those who tormented them.


KARADSHEH (on camera): And Becky as you know, about a decade ago, tens of thousands of foreigners traveled to Syria in Iraq, they joined ISIS, many

of them have been killed. You also have thousands, who are still in prisons in Iraq and Syria, a major burden that Syrian Kurds still have to deal

with. But you also have countries in recent years that have been dealing with returnees the repatriation of foreign fighters.

And in some cases, as you saw there, some European countries have also found suspected ISIS members who have made it into their countries with the

stream of refugees. And this is why evidence like this is crucial. It could help authorities to try and identify some of these suspects as well as

provide prosecutors in cases with the evidence they would need to go after these suspects.

For more specific crimes, not just for membership and material support that would carry lighter sentences. And for organizations like CIJA, for the

prosecutor, they are Mary and Bloom in the Netherlands who we've spoken to. They say their mission is to hold the perpetrators of these horrors to

account and to try and deliver justice for ISIS as countless victims, Becky.

ANDERSON: Jomana Karadsheh on the story. Appreciate it, Jomana, thank you very much indeed. Well, there's a lot more on this story on the website

find Stay up to date with all the biggest stories in this region. You can subscribe to CNN's "Meanwhile in the Middle East"

Newsletter that is sent three times a week from CNN's experts across the region, you can use a QR code at the bottom of your screen to sign up.

Well, Israeli police say a man was stabbed near one of the main gates to Jerusalem's old city and a 17-year-old from East Jerusalem has been

arrested. Hospital officials say the victim was wounded in the face, neck and hand. Incident is taking place on the Promenade along the city walls

north of Jaffa Gate, a highly trafficked area and a main tourist location.

A spokesperson for the Palestinian militant group Hamas called the attack, "A natural response to the crimes of the occupation". Ukraine reeling from

one of the worst attacks by Russia in months -- had lied to the U.S. State Department for an update on that. And Secretary of State Antony Blinken's

meeting in Kyiv with top Ukrainian officials.



ANDERSON: Welcome back, you're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson, your top story this hour. At least 16 people have been killed in

a Russian missile strike on a market in eastern Ukraine. This is one of the worst attacks in months. The Ukrainian prime minister says one child is

among the dead.

The President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the attack utter inhumanity. Well, this happening while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in country,

he is in Kyiv. This brand new video we've just gotten in of Blinken meeting with Zelenskyy. Blinken doubling down on America's pledge of support in

Ukraine's counter offensive against Russia's full scale invasion.

For the very latest on the situation in Ukraine, let's bring in U.S. Security Correspondent Kylie Atwood from the State Department in

Washington, DC. What more can we expect to hear from Antony Blinken, while he is in country? We've certainly heard sort of key words of support. What

is there of substance at this point Kylie?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so I think you know, when it comes to his rhetorical support for Ukraine, we're going to hear a

lot of that, we just heard that in his meeting with President Zelenskyy. But he's also going to be rolling out a billion dollars in new U.S. support

for Ukraine, that's humanitarian support, military support, economic support.

You know, a broad range of different types of support, to show that the Biden Administration isn't just talking about this support for Ukraine, but

also, you know, putting their money where their mouth is. Now, in this meeting with President Zelenskyy, it's notable that the Secretary talked

about the engagement that we have seen over the last few months with this counter offensive, now being very, very encouraging in his words.

Now, that isn't how all U.S. officials have characterized Ukraine's efforts in this counter offensive facing Russia. So I'm having been critical saying

that it hasn't moved ahead quickly enough, or they've been privately critical of how the Ukrainians have approached that counter offensive

strategically. But the Secretary of State, you know, saying good things about it.

And also looking forward, he said, to hearing from Zelenskyy, who has just visited the front lines to get his assessment of what he saw to understand

what the Ukrainians plan to do in the coming weeks. So the U.S. is doubling down on its support for Ukraine, but also really trying to get the

temperature on the ground there.

And some details in terms of how the Ukrainians plan to forge ahead here, particularly heading into UNGA, which is, as you know, Becky, when you

know, all the world leaders are going to visit New York be together, hear from the Ukrainians about how things are going and what more they need from

their supporters.

ANDERSON: Yes, the timing of this trip couldn't have been more important. The reality of life for Ukrainians laid bear with this attack today in

Donetsk, where 16 people lost their lives as a result of a missile strike by Russia, one of those was a child.

Kylie, meanwhile, two high level officials from the U.S. are in Saudi Arabia. Today as the United States pushes for normalization between the

kingdom and Israel, the White House National Security Adviser stress that the trip is focused on broader regional issues.


I just want our viewers to hear from Jake Sullivan. And then you and I briefly will discuss what he has said.


JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Normalization will be one of the topics on the agenda, but it's not the main thrust of this trip. And

like I said before, with respect to the phone calls Secretary Blinken made today, we don't expect any imminent announcements or breakthroughs in the

period ahead.


ANDERSON: I think with respect, let's be quite clear, this is Jake Sullivan, Kylie managing expectations here. My sources tell me that any

talks of normalization and any talks between the Saudis and the Palestinians very importantly, and the Saudis, of course, want to see

support for the Palestinians are, in what I've been told at the initial stages. What did you make of what Jake Sullivan said?

ATWOOD: Yes, exactly, Becky. I mean, I think, you know, we have to take credibly, what the national security adviser is saying in terms of no

immediate breakthroughs. But at the same time, that does not mean that U.S. officials aren't working this portfolio incredibly, tirelessly.

We've seen Brett McGurk in the region. Now, time and time again, in recent months, we know from talking to U.S. officials at the State Department at

the White House, that this is indeed a priority for the Biden Administration as they enter into what could be President Biden's last year

in office.

And they do think that this will be a fundamental win for the administration, a fundamental win for the region, if they do it correctly.

And that's the key here, because there's so many different elements to it. So the United States wants to make sure that they leverage every different

entity in terms of you know, what they can get from this to make sure that it is an agreement that makes the most amount of people happy.

And also creates some, you know, prosperity for the region that has been prevented, because these two countries, Saudi Arabia and Israel don't have

normal relations. So this is a complex one. But the fact that they are on the ground there in Saudi Arabia, following what was the Palestinians trip

to Riyadh just yesterday does indicate that the wheels are turning.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. I agree. Good to have you. Thank you very much. Indeed. Well, the price of oil has been hitting new highs for the year

after Saudi Arabia and Russia decided to continue cutting back on production for another three months, at least. The two countries, the

world's biggest exporters of crude oil, of course, and the global Benchmark Brent crude trading, you can see today higher, around $90, while the U.S.

benchmark around 86.

According to the IMF, Saudi Arabia needs Brent crude to trade around $81 on the barrel, so it can balance its budget with its 2030 vision, of course,

very much in focus. Russia looking to boost revenues to support its ongoing war in Ukraine and likely if you ask them both would say the macroeconomic

picture, particularly the slowing picture of growth and the picture of slowing growth in China are one of the reasons that they have made this


Anyway, there you go, Brent and WTI, those two numbers on the boards for you to see. I will be back with more news in just a moment.



ANDERSON: Spanish football star Jenni Hermoso is taking legal action against the president of Spain's Football Federation. Hermoso filed a

complaint with the Spanish prosecutor's office. Earlier she accuses Luis Rubiales of kissing her without her consent after Spain won the women's

world cup.

This is the next step required for the Spanish justice system to proceed with a case against Rubiales. Hermoso's complaint comes as her former coach

was let go. Jorge Vilda led the Spanish team to victory and says he shouldn't have been let go. Vilda was replaced by Manager, Montse Tome, his

assistant since 2018. Tome is the first woman to coach the Spanish national team.

Well in tonight's parting shots, we take you to the holy city of Karbala in Iraq, where the large crowds you are seeing have gathered for the religious

pilgrimage of Arbaeen to mark the end of Ashura, a 40 day mourning period for the grandson of Prophet Muhammad Imam Hussain.

The event commemorates a major battle which took place in Karbala in 680 AD which led to the death of a sane or revered figure in Shiite Islam and

resulted in a split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. The Iraqi government says more than 22 million people have participated in the pilgrimage this

year including more than 3 million just from Iran in the last few weeks.

Good to have you on board. Thanks for joining us, a slightly shortened "Connect the World" tonight because Marketplace Middle East is up next,

stay with us.



ELENI GIOKOS, ANCHOR, MARKETPLACE MIDDLEEAST: Welcome to Marketplace Middle East, I'm Eleni Giokos in Riyadh Saudi Arabia.


GIOKOS (voice-over): From an $8.9 billion stake in the electric automaker lucid to multimillion dollar stakes in Meta and Microsoft, Saudi Arabia is

diversifying its assets in a race towards change.

Its foray into sports might be the biggest win of this year. From the stadiums to the screens, we explore the kingdom's ambitions to become a

global hub, and the multibillion dollar gaming and e-sports market.

PRINCE FAISAL BIN BANDAR BIN SULTAN, CHAIRMAN, SAUDI ESPORT FEDERATION: We want Saudi and Riyadh and -- to be a natural part of that conversation.

GIOKOS (voice-over): And its football superstars sign multimillion dollar deals, we speak to the Chief Operating Officer of the Saudi Pro League on

its plans to be among the top 10 Football Associations in the world.


GIOKOS (voice-over): Music, crowds, e-games and sheer excitement. This is Saudi Arabia in 2023. Over two months this summer, it's been playing host

to one of the largest gaming and e-sports festivals in the world, Gamers8, with total prize money of $45 million dollars. It has attracted over a

million players and visitors and hundreds of millions of viewers online according to its organizers. Kingdom says it's putting Saudi on the map as

a global e-sports destination.

JOHNNY YAACOUB, PRINCIPAL, STRATEGY & MIDDLE EAST: Effectively, you're bringing in the top talent, the top game developers, publishers, leaders,

putting them in state of the art facilities and studios. The Saudi government is really trying to propel this industry to new heights and not

just, you know, be visible in the sector.

GIOKOS: There's nothing like a game of packman on an old arcade. It reminds me of my childhood. But gaming has evolved dramatically since then.

GIOKOS (voice-over): There are more than 3 billion players using PCs, consoles and mobile phones. The industry is expected to grow from $227

billion in 2023 to $312 billion dollars in 2027 according to PWC, a big number that the Kingdom wants to tap into.

YAACOUB: In early 2022 we saw the creation of Cyber Games, which effectively was given an approximately $38 billion dollar watchers to

effectively invest in everything gaming and e-sports related.

GIOKOS (voice-over): A key player driving the kingdom's multibillion dollar investment into gaming and e-sports is Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Sultan.

I caught up with him to find out more about the kingdom's strategy, and its implications on economies in the region.

SULTAN: Our outlook by 2030 is to have a GDP contribution in Saudi of roughly 50 billion Saudi Riyals, which will roughly be around 1 percent of

the GDP, which I mean; I'm not a numbers guy. But when they first told me, we're looking to be 1 percent of the GDP, and I kept saying, do we want to

say 1 percent? That sounds like such a small number.

And then they translated that to being 50 billion Riyals. But can we take it down a little bit, maybe point eight? But it's a growing industry

worldwide. So to be an additive part of that as Saudi with our community with our investments, not just here, but globally, is something that's very

important to us.

GIOKOS: How are you looking at the entire value chain? And where does it make sense?

SULTAN: Some of our overarching KPIs in the national strategy for gaming and e-sports are not just the GDP contribution, but 40,000 jobs created,

250 companies based in Saudi, both local and regional headquarters.

GIOKOS: Are you worried that you're not going to hit your targets?

SULTAN: No, because I know this community, I know the talent we have; I know the efforts that are being put behind it from the top level all the

way down. Well, we are ambitious. And what's important is, we're not just being ambitious, we don't just have big targets, but we're being given the

tools to succeed in those targets.

So when you look at all the movement that's been happening in the vision 2030 and the diversification of the economy, one of the most important

things that we've been looking at is, how do we really become by 2030, a global hub for gaming and e-sports.

You know, when people think about gaming, you think about Japan and Tokyo, you think about Seoul and South Korea, you think about, you know, Burbank

in California, we want Saudi and Riyadh and -- to be a natural part of that conversation.


GIOKOS: We are very aware of how oil and gas has been absolutely pivotal. How important is it going to be to get out of that legacy industry?

SULTAN: Well, I think it's very important, diversifying away from that creates the ability to be more look at things in a more long term stable

way. And I think that's what's key to everything that we're doing, whether its entertainment, whether it's gaming, whether its tourism, you know, we

all work in lockstep together to make sure that we're creating the best for the future of our people.

GIOKOS: Up next, we take a look to see how Saudi Arabia is scoring on the pitch by locking in some of the biggest names in football. But first, let's

catch you up on the business calendar in your Marketplace minutes.

GIOKOS (voice-over): From Sports and Tourism to entering the global mining industry, Saudi Arabia has announced a $2.6 billion deal to take a stake in

one of the world's leading mining companies, Brazil's vale base metals. And in a move to leverage its global influence, the BRICS group invites Saudi

Arabia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt among other countries to join their bloc.

Plus, one of Europe's biggest delivery firms delivery hero takes full control of Saudi subsidiary hunker station for $297 million. And in Qatar,

its sovereign wealth fund invests $1 billion in India's Reliance retail venture, the retail arm of billionaire Mukesh Ambani. In Dubai, the city's

Chamber of digital economy will host one of the biggest annual tech events GITEX; it will take place between 16th to 20th of October.

And in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh will host its seventh edition annual future investment initiative that will attract global CEOs, policymakers,

investors and young leaders.



GIOKOS: Welcome back to Marketplace Middle East. Now it has been a busy year for the Saudi sports sector with headlines about how they've been able

to secure some of the biggest names in the football world.


GIOKOS (voice-over): It all began with signing of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, with a two and a half year contract estimated by media to be worth

more than $220 million.

To former Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, Jordan Henderson, former Aston Villa's manager, Steven Gerrard and PSGs Neymar. Saudi Arabia wants to

create its own superstar Football League with plans to disrupt the Global Football industry.

MICHAEL GOLDBERG, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SPORTS FINANCE DBRS MORNINGSTAR: I think the Saudis have put everyone on notice. You know, the values that are

being reported are five to six times the salaries that are being offered in Europe. So certainly any athlete that's offered that, again, they have

short careers in football. They definitely have to consider that because they'll have to sustain themselves on that money for the rest of their


GIOKOS (voice-over): Saudis critics say the kingdom may be seeking to improve its reputation with these high profile deals, and distract from his

human rights record. But the man behind the Saudi Pro League Carlo Nohra says the country has to defend its own interests.

NOHRA: Everybody's entitled to their own opinion. We've got a plan, we've got a strategy. It's a long term approach. This isn't a flash in the pan

and we're going to go away next year. We've just opened a new channel for plants that didn't exist, and why can it not be in the Middle East? Why can

it not be in Saudi Arabia? Why does it have to be exclusively in Europe?

We are challenging the status quo. What we're doing, we're doing something for Saudi Arabia, we're doing something for the local people. And that's

something that everybody else has got to get comfortable with.

GIOKOS: What do you say to that that counter of that argument that they're coming here for the money?


NOHRA: At the moment, all we can do is put on the product. And as you could see, it's not one player. It's multiple players. It's not one club, it's

multiple clubs. It is elevating the tide, that's going to raise all ships. But it's not enough for me to just tell you these things. It's going to

take a bit of time for everybody to be convinced that that's where we want to go.

And other leagues have been through the same thing, you know, MLS comes to mind. It's taken them many years, and they have evolved over time. And

that's, it will be exactly the same journey for us.

GIOKOS: What is the strategy? Why are you doing what you're doing?

NOHRA: SPL was given various objectives a few years ago, to improve on pitch performance with worthless players involved, to increase the number

of attendees and to drive the commercialization of the league through the assets that we control. And combining all of those three, then to move

ourselves up the league ladder to become one of the respected top five top 10 leagues in the world.

And what we've seen with the Ronaldo factor is record attendances in the 22, 23 season just past. We've seen interest across the world through our

broadcast rates, what is clear, is that the interest is just growing day by day.

GIOKOS: So tell me about what your targets are in terms of economic contribution, GDP contribution?

NOHRA: We are grounded in the vision of the entire country, and where vision 30 wants to take Saudi Arabia. So we feel that the commitment to

continue to drive and support the league is imperative for our future. But I also have to say this; football should be a net contributor to GDP.

We shouldn't be sitting here talking about how much it's costing the country. It should be about how much we're contributing to cut through the


GIOKOS: How confident are you that you can pull that off?

NOHRA: It's not a choice. We have to; we're busy developing an industry need. What we can't do is continue to import talent to manage the industry

for us. There are more than capable talent in Saudi Arabia that can be groomed to take over the reins and continue to build on the foundations

that we've set for them.


GIOKOS (on camera): From the pitch to the screens, gaming and sports are intertwined. Well, thanks so very much for joining us for this edition of

Marketplace Middle East. If you want to take a look at more of the stories that we cover on the program, you can go to

From me, Eleni Giokos in Riyadh, I'll see you next time.