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U.S. House Paralyzed after Historic Vote; Ukraine Credits NATO Tanks for Offensive Progress; Venice Bus Crash; U.S. Health Care Strike; Doha Upping Its Tourism Game; U.S. to Transfer Weapons Seized from Iran to Ukraine. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired October 04, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Welcome back, you're watching the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD from Doha in Qatar, where, later in the
show, we will bring you an interview with the CEO of Qatar Airways, one of the fastest-growing airlines in the world.
First up, our top stories this hour.
U.S. politics in turmoil at present. Republicans scrambling to find a replacement for the now former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He was sent
packing by a handful of rebels in his own party.
Meanwhile the Republican front-runner in the race for the White House, former president Donald Trump, is in a New York courtroom for the third
day, facing a massive fraud lawsuit which threatens to the strike a serious blow to his business empire.
CNN Brynn Gingras is outside the courthouse for in Manhattan, joining us now.
Look. He didn't have to be there. He wasn't required to show up in person.
So what does it say about the fact that Donald Trump has been in court the past three days?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it says a lot, Becky. He has said from day one he wants to defend his brand. Remember it's his brand, his
business empire, that he had before even getting into politics. It's what he is campaigning on now, the fact that he's a very rich. Man
He is defending all of that in his, mind because he is at risk of losing basically what he built. So again, yes, you're right; he didn't have to be
here. This is not something he is required to do until he is called to testify, which is very likely going to happen.
He said just yesterday he wants to testify. We will see how that goes for this civil trial. Listen, he just made some comments in the hallway, which
he typically does when he shows up to court or at least has been for the past few days.
He's being a little bit more careful, because there is a gag order that is now against him. And this is all because of the Truth Social post that he
made yesterday. It was a picture of the judge in this case, who, by the way, is going to decide the outcome of this civil trial.
It's his clerk in the picture with Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer. In that post the former president essentially says she is Schumer's girlfriend
without any evidence to back that up.
Well, that was a bridge too far for this judge. As soon as he came to the bench after lunch break yesterday, he issued this gag order, essentially
saying personal attacks of any member of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them.
He said that there would be strict sanctions if there are emails, any more comments made or personal attacks against members of his staff. So he has
to tread lightly here although it has not really stopped him in the past. So we'll see how that goes moving forward.
But it certainly is interesting to see him show, up I can tell you Becky, when he's in the courtroom, he is with his defense team. His son Eric is
usually behind him. And he is engaged. He's listening to the testimony and weighing in with his attorneys.
He is interested again in what is being said. He wants to testify as he defends his brand, of what's very possible could be stripped at the end of
ANDERSON: Yes, Brynn, good to have you. There thank you.
Meanwhile, Capitol Hill as we mentioned is being thrown into disarray by a few renegade Republicans who ousted their House Speaker with what was
essentially a vote of no confidence. CNN's Lauren Fox takes us through the dramatic events in Washington.
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy vowing not to run for speaker again after an
unprecedented vote Tuesday, plunging the House of Representatives into chaos.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Unfortunately, 4 percent of our conference can join all the Democrats and dictate who can be the Republican speaker in
this House. I don't think that rule is good for the institution but apparently, I'm the only one.
FOX (voice-over): The motion to vacate was filed by Representative Matt Gaetz who, along with seven other GOP members, voted to oust the speaker.
With Democrats' votes, the motion passed 216 to 210.
REP. AUSTIN SCOTT (R-GA): Those eight people are anarchists. And they're Chaos Caucus members.
FOX (voice-over): McCarthy's speakership was the third shortest in history and was plagued with GOP infighting over spending cuts, border security and
providing aid to Ukraine.
MCCARTHY: You all know Matt Gaetz. You know it was personal.
MCCARTHY: It had nothing to do about spending.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Speaker McCarthy's time is over. I wish him well. I have no personal animus to him. I hope he finds fruitful pastures.
FOX (voice-over): Now the race is on for House Republicans to elect a new speaker as another possible government shutdown is 44 days away.
REP. MATT ROSENDALE (R-MT): What I'd like you to take away from it is I'm tired of being lectured by people that have been here for decades, OK, and
have put us in $33 trillion in debt.
FOX (voice-over): Several names have emerged as possible contenders for speaker, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise. Scalise has already
started reaching out to members, gauging a possible bid for the role.
REP. ELVIRA SALAZAR (R-FL): No one really knows who has the votes. So now we're going to go through that exercise right now and see who has our
FOX (voice-over): Another possible name floated is House Judiciary chairman Jim Jordan.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I thought it was unfair to -- unfair to Kevin. He's a good man and he didn't deserve this, in my judgment.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Will you run for speaker?
JORDAN: That's a decision for the conference.
FOX (voice-over): One person not interested in the job is Gaetz.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you putting yourself forward for the speakership?
GAETZ: Absolutely not. I have no desire to be speaker.
FOX (voice-over): McCarthy, for his part, says he has no regrets about his tenure as speaker.
MCCARTHY: I don't regret standing up for choosing governing over grievance. It is my responsibility. It is my job.
ANDERSON: Let's get you an insiders view now. Rina Shah is a Republican strategist and a former congressional aide. She joins me now from
Just how shocked are you to see what is going on?
The enormity of this. It cannot be understated. This situation came about because of deep divisions in U.S. politics. We knew about those divisions
but still, this is seismic stuff, isn't it?
RINA SHAH, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Having served two Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives myself, as a senior staffer -- nearly two
decades ago was when I first set foot on Capitol Hill -- I can tell you this is a moment that isn't just a shock to the system.
It really challenges the consciousness about how essentially the body moves forward in this unchartered (sic) territory. One thing we have not seen is
this kind of move. Of course, we know that this never came to a vote in 100-plus years.
But the very fact that Kevin McCarthy is no more the Speaker leaves us in a place not of really fundamental confusion but really a place where we
wonder, how will the Republican Party rebuild from here?
Does it even take the opportunity to do so after such a reckoning?
ANDERSON: Listen, the Democrats could have helped him out. They didn't. Were they right at the end of the day to your mind to take that decision?
It was a very partisan decision, of course.
But for the good of the functioning of the U.S. system, were they right?
SHAH: We've seen many a partisan game played on Capitol Hill in the modern era. In fact, it's reflected in American polling about how Americans feel
about Congress as a body.
Congress' disapproval rating continues to go up and that is no surprise. But what is surprising in this moment is that it was Republicans who ate
one of their own, essentially. That is just not something you ever see happen on Capitol Hill.
I don't think Kevin McCarthy felt that that could possibly happen. Of course, its whipping operation at the very last minute revealed that there
were not going to be the votes there for him to keep the Speakership.
But I do believe he thought that Democrats would come save him again in the same fashion that they did just a few days ago, with averting the
government shutdown. But one thing was very clear.
Leader Hakeem Jeffries was able to keep his caucus unified in saying we are not going to let Kevin McCarthy do this to this to us anymore. I think it
was in part personal and in part procedural. This could be a moment in which Republicans really ought to unify and they didn't.
ANDERSON: There are a few names out there but no real front-runner. So, you know, as you described it, the Republicans ate one of their own without
an obvious next speaker.
What do you think will happen next?
And when you step back, do you worry about the reputational damage for the U.S. that this sort of behavior has?
When I'm sitting here in Doha in Qatar, frankly, people I speak to here say, what is going on in Washington?
SHAH: There is a -- there are geopolitical ramifications here to Kevin McCarthy being ousted.
SHAH: One of those is now that a government shutdown looks far more likely than it would have had he not been ousted. So there is that.
On the other hand, there is the Ukraine funding, which has been contentious amongst Republicans in Congress and again is reflecting sort of the will,
the growing will of the Republican voter to not issue what has been dubbed as a blank check to Ukraine.
So there is that on the one hand. But in terms of making us look weak on the world stage, I wouldn't be so quick to say that. I think this is
healthy. On one hand, I was extremely shocked that this actually happened.
But burning it down to the ashes really leaves open the door for anything good to come from here. This could be a moment in which Republicans do not
cast away their eight colleagues who voted against McCarthy.
And they start to say, you know what, something is wrong with the body. We need to really audit how this body functions.
And one thing I heard from Congressman Burchett from Tennessee, one of the eight that, for weeks on end, has said this is about spending. And this is
how Washington continues to take trillions of dollars of taxpayer money, which is far more than what it takes. In
So for him, it wasn't about a personal animus toward the Speaker. It was about how the body no longer represents the people that elected to go to
Washington. And that is what I think conversations should be had.
Not all these members should be kissing the ring of a speaker. They shouldn't have to fall in line hard, they should be able to reflect the
will of their constituents. And so as a pro democracy advocate, I think this is a good moment for a representative democracy.
I do not find it to be very sad and I don't find it to be as chaotic as some are making it to be.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Good to have you, your perspective is so useful. Thank you.
Where does this leave funding for Ukraine?
The Pentagon warns the aid pipeline is running low and new funding cannot be approved until there is a new speaker. Even then, it's precarious as
some, just some Republicans are actually opposing arming Ukraine.
Meanwhile a Ukraine official writes on X, accused Western conservative elites of being reluctant to confront Russia, asking, "Why they let Moscow
reinforce its army and look for opportunities to attack other countries."
Well, that political turmoil in Washington could have a very real effect, very real ramifications on the battlefield in Ukraine. For, more let's get
you back to Frederik Pleitgen, who is in the east of the country.
When you talk about a very real impact, we are talking about the amount of money it costs in munitions, in arms to actually fight this war on the part
of the Ukrainians.
Can you give us some context?
Just how much are we talking about?
How important is that U.S. aid?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. aid is absolutely massively important. U.S. is by far the largest donor. And just
as far as military aid is concerned, they've already given around $45 billion just on military aid alone.
Aid in total for Ukraine to keep the country running, of course, also to keep the military running is well over $100 billion the U.S. has already
put up. That is obviously the money side of it.
Becky, also when you look on the ground, here in Ukraine. Look around the area where I am in Eastern Ukraine, the front lines. Here it is staggering
how much U.S. equipment is already on the ground.
You have U.S. vehicles that obviously also need to be serviced, U.S. armor that's on the ground here, U.S. guns that are firing on the battlefield.
But one of the main things that Ukrainians say it's a big issue is ammunition.
It's something they say they are running low. On, of course, that could be made worse if there are indeed funding gaps due to the things that are
going on on Capitol Hill. This comes as the Ukrainians, Becky, say are actually able to move forward, push forward in the counteroffensive they're
They say one of the reasons for that is that they have actually now learned to make better use of some of the Western main battle tanks that they have
gotten. Here's what we're learning.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Ukrainian troops trying to push forward on the southern front.
Leading the charge, a German made Leopard 2 main battle tank, showing, the Ukrainians say, that they've gotten much better at using Western armor.
PLEITGEN: But in general, it's more of a fast assault type way of using a tank, I assume.
RUSLAN, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES: Yes, you use it on assault but not on the minefield.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): It was a major issue when Ukraine first started using tanks like these in its large-scale counteroffensive in late June.
Expected to be an immediate game-changer. The Ukrainians now acknowledge losing both Leopards and American-made Bradleys in the vast minefields the
Russians had planted.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): But a tank unit that uses the Leopard 2 tells us they've vastly improved their skills.
"We realize what we need to know with this tank," he says. "The more you work, the more you understand and start working automatically."
PLEITGEN (voice-over): That soldier, whom we can only identify as Bahrs, even briefed Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the Leopard 2,
saying it easily withstood an explosion from a Russian kamikaze drone.
"It's a good tank," he said. "It withstood the hits."
PLEITGEN (voice-over): The crew says Western tanks like this also have better guns, better range finding and night vision capabilities than
Russian tanks, major assets both on the southern and eastern front lines.
PLEITGEN: The Ukrainians say that they've always known that these tanks have exceptional capabilities but now they say they're increasingly getting
used to using them effectively for assault.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): The southern front remains the main thrust of Ukraine's counteroffensive. Kyiv releasing this video, purporting to show
Russian vehicles hit near the town of Tokmak, leading to massive explosions, even though Russia's defense minister claims the Ukrainians
haven't managed to break through Moscow's defenses there.
"Through active actions, our troops significantly weakened the enemy's combat potential and inflicted serious damage to him," he says.
But the Ukrainians say they are the ones with the momentum, also thanks to their improved use of tanks they've received from NATO countries.
PLEITGEN: That momentum is thing we can see in the south of the country and see firsthand in the east of the country as well. We've been around the
battlefield, today and we have seen some areas that, beforehand, were actually under massive fire from the Russians because troops are pretty
Now the Russians have been pushed out and the Ukrainians are operating there. But that doesn't change the fact that Ukrainians say they are still
at a major disadvantage, especially when it comes to ammunition.
We were speaking to one unit earlier today, that said, despite the fact that Ukrainians are moving forward, which always makes them use a lot of
ammo, they say, in some cases, the ratio is still 10:1 the Russians being able to fire 10 rounds, artillery rounds in this case, for the Ukrainians
being able to fire one.
That, of course, is a big disadvantage and something the Ukrainians fear could become worse if there are gaps in that funding from the United States
ANDERSON: Yes, that context is really valuable. Fred, thank you.
Just ahead, a tragedy near Venice. Children are among the dead in what was Tuesday's bus crash. Now officials are asking what caused it. More on that
And health workers have started their largest strike ever in the United States. What they are demanding and where the impact will be felt most is
ANDERSON: Welcome back.
Now Venice has just released graphic video of a deadly bus crash near the historic city.
ANDERSON: It shows the horrifying moment when a passenger bus plunged from an overpass on Tuesday. Children were among the 21 people killed. I want to
bring in CNN's Ben Wedeman, live from Rome.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, yes; this was a night of death in Venice. Now the video that we're about to show, you
however, we must warn viewers that some may find it disturbing.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): CCTV catches the moment at 38 past 7 pm Tuesday, when the bus crashed through an overpass guardrail outside Venice. What
followed was an apocalyptic scene, in the words of the city's mayor.
The electric powered bus plummeted 15 meters, about 30 feet, onto railroad tracks, then burst into flames. At least 21 died from the fall and
resulting inferno, including two children, with more than a dozen injured.
"The bus caught fire and so we had to first extinguish the flames in order to get inside," says the spokesperson for the fire brigade. "We carried out
a rapid intervention, which allowed us to save 15 people. But, unfortunately, we could do nothing for the victims."
Most of those victims were on their way to a tourist camp on the outskirts of Venice. Among them, Ukrainians, Germans, French, Croatians and
Austrians. The Venice prosecutor has launched an investigation into the crash, using videos of the crash to determine if other vehicles were
Also looking into the possibility that the driver, a 40-year-old Italian national, who also died in the crash, may have suffered a health issue. So
far, there is much speculation but little else that provides clues to why this disaster happened.
WEDEMAN: Now the Venice prosecutor just put out a statement, saying there is no sign that the bus driver applied the brakes before the bus careened
off of the overpass. In fact, Italian media have been saying there were no skid marks, where perhaps the driver tried to take control of the vehicle.
So this really just deepens the mystery of how this catastrophe could have happened -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben, appreciate it. Thank you.
Thousands of health care workers are on strike in the United States after they failed to reach a new contract agreement with their employee, Kaiser
Permanente. Support staff, some nurses and pharmacists are among the 75,000 unionized employees who are expected to walk off the job today.
They are demanding higher pay and a plan to tackle the chronic staff shortages that have plagued U.S. health care since the COVID-19 pandemic
began. Natasha Chen is in Los Angeles.
Which, as I understand it, Natasha, has several Kaiser medical facilities.
How does the organization plan to handle the strike?
What will the impact on patients be?
Is it clear?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, yes, there are several locations for Kaiser hospitals and clinics. Here this is one of, them and
you see all of these workers out here.
They have been out here since 6 am, here in Los Angeles. As you mentioned, this is going to affect patients. However, the hospital system has said
they are bringing in contract workers.
The doctors across the country at all of their facilities will still be at work. So in a sense, the patients won't see that huge of an impact because
of these walkouts.
But the patients that I spoke to, especially one yesterday, did indicate to me that, despite this disruption and the uncertainty of his wife's surgery
schedule this morning, he does understand why this is needed.
He told me that he himself had to wait in an emergency room for 12 hours just to be seen for his knee's torn meniscus and has not been able to get
an appointment for a couple of weeks.
So he says the effective understaffing is already being felt by patients. So they understand why these workers need to do this. We also spoke to a
radiology technologist. Here's what he said about the bargaining with the Kaiser health system.
JAMES BELL, RADIOLOGY TECHNOLOGIST: We were there, during COVID. Front line health care workers were there for our patients, for our communities.
We were touted as health care heroes.
BELL: And now when we're bargaining, all we are told is were too expensive. Meanwhile, Kaiser executives, a lot of them are
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: He says that one way to attract more workers, because of the staffing shortage, he says, is to have more attractive wages and benefits.
The bargaining has been happening overnight. Kaiser did release a statement this morning, saying they have made a lot of progress.
There are agreements reached on several specific, proposals late yesterday. And they say we remain committed to reaching a new agreement that continues
to provide our employees with the market leading wages, excellent benefits, generous retirement income plans and valuable professional development
To make, clear this strike is supposed to go on through the rest of this week. These workers are expected to go back to their jobs on Saturday
morning. However, if there is still no agreement that is suitable for all, they do plan on a longer strike in November -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Good to have, you thank you very much indeed.
Just ahead, economic woes force the British prime minister to scale back an ambitious project. More on that from London is coming up.
And on the day after the U.S. House ousts its speaker, we gauge reaction here in the Middle East.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Welcome back, you are with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson out of Doha in Qatar this evening. Your headlines this hour.
Donald Trump back in a New York courtroom for day three of a massive civil fraud trial. He is accused of repeatedly overstating asset values to get
good deals on loans and insurance.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump falsely claimed the court agreed that his Mar-a- Lago estate is worth up to 100 times the attorney general's estimate.
Authorities in northern Italy are investigating the cause of a bus crash that killed --
ANDERSON: -- at least 21 people and injured 18 others near Venice on Tuesday. Two children and the driver are among the victims. Italian police
say they haven't identified all of the bodies yet.
Speculation swirling in Washington over who will run to succeed ousted U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Eight House Republicans joined Democrats and
voted to remove McCarthy from the post, the first time that has happened in U.S. history.
There is no clear alternative to McCarthy right now. He says he won't try and run for the speakership again.
ANDERSON: I just want to pause for a moment because this political chaos that's playing out in Washington is, of course, being viewed in this region
and around the world.
Mahjoob Zweiri is joining me to discuss this. He's a professor in contemporary Middle East politics at Qatar University.
It's great to have you with me here tonight. As we headline not, one but two big stories happening in the U.S., the chaos in Washington and then, of
course, Donald Trump in court on this massive fraud trial.
Let's start in Washington. You know, you live and breathe geopolitics. You look at the relations the U.S. has with countries around this region, not
least out of Qatar. You know, on a regular basis.
What do you make of what you see?
MAHJOOB ZWEIRI, QATAR UNIVERSITY: There is no, doubt what's happening in Washington is very important to the region. In the last four weeks, there
are major things happening. It's all of those events are at the center of American politics.
One is the utter humiliation between America and Iran. And the second one is the allegation about corruption between (INAUDIBLE) --
ANDERSON: -- used to be --
ZWEIRI: -- committee (ph). And the third one is actually what happened in yesterday, when the Speaker basically forced to leave his position.
And now this adds one major, I think, level of uncertainty to what's happening in the region. In the region, there is an expectation about
future elections, what will happen and who will be in the White House, how the American foreign policy will be.
There is a lot of speculations. There is a little bit of uncertainty about war in Ukraine, where things are moving. So now all of -- at least what's
happening in the House and also the issue with the committee chair of foreign affairs, this adds more uncertainty to the current situation. I
think it's more complexity to the situation.
ANDERSON: This is absolutely fascinating, because, of course, this is an administration who has asked this region to get its own back yard sorted
out. Let me put it that way.
This region is deciding, you know, what we will do that. Qatar here, you see taking this very important mediation role, putting diplomacy at the
front of it. You're also saying that, let's be quite frank out of the Saudis and the UAE.
We've seen the Saudi-Iran rapprochement -- call it what you will. We've seen the UAE working with the Iranians on the economic file (ph).
How much -- you talk about there being a deficit of confidence out of Washington at the moment.
How much trust does this part of the world have --
ANDERSON: -- administration?
ZWEIRI: I think it's, to be honest, is very little. The economic situation, the failure in Iran, the affair (ph) in Afghanistan, the
domestic politics scene of the United States in the last -- since Trump came to power, in the last five, six, seven years actually.
There is a lot of speculation about domestic politics of Agincourt (ph). And all of this adds more complexity to the situation. One of the major
things, I think we have to add to all of this is the expectation was, the region will work to solve its problem as you said.
And Barack Obama said that the region should work together to solve their problem. Now they try to do it, there are more obstacles because there is
concern of (INAUDIBLE) about this kind of -- the ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
There is a real concern about what's happening between Iran and Iran is improving its relation with the region. And also there is the fact about,
is there any possible resources (ph) with Saudi Arabia?
Despite the fact that, Biden administration is on board on this case in particular (ph).
ANDERSON: There's also, of course, the U.S.-China spat. With Washington pretty much asking this region to choose a side. There has been a very loud
message from many countries in this region, saying we're not going to choose a side at this point.
You have asked us to sort our own back yard out. If we do business with China, that is the way it's going to be.
ZWEIRI: Yes. You know there are two narratives in the region about China and America.
ZWEIRI: One says America is good for security, America is good for politics, America is a heavyweight. It's good to have strong ties.
However China is important when it comes to economy. China is a huge economy. We cannot close our eyes.
The second narrative says no, the priority is to strengthen our ties. After examining the Americans for years, and we witnessed in the last five or 10
years, withdrawing gradually from the region. We don't know what will happen after five or six years.
There's a little bit of uncertainty, there is a little bit of doubt. So now (INAUDIBLE) say OK, I'm defending human rights. I'm not like China. I am
good in helping on security. I can't help economically. And these things need to be more strong in America --
ANDERSON: I'm going to ask you one very quick last question. The mediation of the U.S. hostages, wrongly detained --
ANDERSON: -- the U.S. that Qatar was successful in.
What does that mean about Qatar's involvement in any mediation of nuclear talks going forward?
ZWEIRI: I think Qatar has interest to see more stability and security in the region, especially when it comes to the nuclear issue. They have strong
interest to convince both parties get together, talk; talk is better than - - talk is a guarantee to connectivity. Disconnectivity is not good for all the region.
ANDERSON: So good to, have you thank you very much.
ANDERSON: -- on what is, I have to, a beautiful night as the sun goes down in Qatar this evening.
The British prime ministry is scrapping the northern leg of England's high speed railway project. Downing Street says the cost of what was Europe's
biggest infrastructure project, H2S (sic), have been spiraling. So now the U.K. government says it will spend billions building network north,
CNN Bianca Nobilo is a longtime observer of Downing Street, joining us now live from London.
You are or have been for years at a Conservative Party conference. I wonder whether you think -- and this is coming out at conference this year. I
wonder whether you believe Rishi Sunak is leaving conference week or stronger after this.
This is a big announcement. Many people have anticipated it. But this H2S (sic) announcement is huge.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It is, Becky, and perhaps perplexing that the prime minister allowed whether not he would actually
kill this project to overshadow the entire Conservative Party conference.
This was the main focus of discussion, that and who might replace him when the conservatives, something inevitably win, lose the next general election
in the U.K. So those things taking into consideration, Rishi Sunak doesn't appear to be leaving conference any stronger.
In fact, what we saw today from the keynote speech and the fact that he was introduced by his wife, who very rarely makes the public appearance, giving
him an encomium of praise, did suggest in some ways he feels like he really has to double down on selling himself to the party.
There was a whiff of desperation to elements of it. And he positioned himself as someone inheriting Thatcher's legacy.
As I'm sure you noticed, in conservative party politics, when candidates and leaders do, that it's usually because they're feeling a little bit
threatened. So he said like Margaret Thatcher was a grocer's daughter, he's a pharmacist son. He harked back to her.
And oddly said the last 30 years of British politics had been tarnished by vested interests and that he was someone that was going to disrupt that
status quo. Quite strange because the Conservative Party has been in power at least half of that time.
So I think it's been a chaotic conference for him, with some rebellions on the sides and the Conservative Party flirting with shifting even further to
the right. So troubling times ahead for the Tories.
ANDERSON: It's good to have you, Bianca. Thank you.
Still ahead, keeping ahead of the pack can be tough. The CEO of Qatar Airways tells me how he deals with the fierce competition in this Middle
East travel sector. That is coming up.
Plus Pope Francis isn't mincing words when it comes to climate change. When we come, back his message to world leaders and those denying the crisis.
ANDERSON: Welcome back, you join us live from Doha this evening.
A little shy of a year ago, the streets here were teaming with football fans, taking in the action at the 2022 men's World Cup. Doha, however, is
far from standing still after what was that high profile tournament.
ANDERSON (voice-over): The crowning achievement of Lionel Messi's career, a World Cup trophy. The emir of Qatar gifted the superstar with a
traditional Arab dish (ph). The scenes broadcast in living rooms across the globe.
The World Cup placed Qatar squarely on the international map. I was on the streets during the tournament when millions of fans filled the Souq Waqif.
ANDERSON: A sea of fans mingling here -- Tunisia, Argentina, Senegal.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Doha's centuries-old trading market transformed into a truly global village. Now Qatar is setting its sights on becoming a
tourism hub in the region. This week alone, three major international events kicking off around the city.
The horticulture expo, the Geneva International Motor Show and the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
ANDERSON: By most traditional metrics, Qatar has been dealt a weak geopolitical hand. It's a small place with a small population in a
neighborhood with ambitious countries, like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran.
DANYEL REICHE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: It has a weak military compared with (INAUDIBLE) sectors (ph), Saudi, Iran. So soft power, the politics of
attraction is very important to build relations with other countries in the world but also to gain influence and punch above its weight in
international scales (ph).
ANDERSON (voice-over): Last month, Doha successfully mediated the release of five Americans wrongly detained in Iran, a reminder of Qatar's
diplomatic prowess. Its focus now, showing off what's on offer here. And that is paying off.
Earlier this week, UAE president Mohammed bin Zayed was in Doha to visit the horticulture expo, only his second visit since golf heavyweights lifted
their blockade against Qatar.
A new era in regional relations. And the emergence, Qatar hopes, of a new regional player on the tourism map.
ANDERSON: The goal here in Qatar is ambitious. Officials aim to increase tourism to 12 percent of GDP by 2030. They are reporting 2.5 million
visitors already this year and are aiming to attract 6 million annually.
Hosting the World Cup was clearly a big step toward that. It was the most expensive World Cup in history. The event, of course, mired in criticism
over the country's human rights record.
I sat down today with the CEO of Qatar Airways, who's also the chairman of Qatar tourism. And I asked him if that World Cup investment is paying off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AKBAR AL BAKER, CEO, QATAR AIRWAYS: It will be a good return on investment over a period of time, of course.
BAKER: You know you do not invest something and you expect the return to happen tomorrow. This is a long term investment my country has done.
ANDERSON: You weathered an awful lot of criticism in the leadup to the World Cup.
Any valuable lessons learned?
BAKER: The most valuable lesson we learned was to ignore everything, mind our own business, do the event that we wanted to host so that we don't get
diverted by all this jealousy and all this negative publicity.
To see if this whole FIFA exercise that my country has been working for nearly 11 years, has sacrificed so much for it. They wanted it to fail. And
ANDERSON: Let's talk about Qatar as a hub.
The airline's business connects how many people a year through Qatar?
BAKER: Last year we connected nearly 37 million people, just over 37 million. This year, we are expecting it to exceed to at least 43 million to
44 million people by the end of the year.
ANDERSON: What happens going forward?
Let me ask you this because you face significant competition from, for example, not just Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the rest but from Saudi Arabia going
forward. The new airline, Riyadh Air, launches into 100-plus markets, disrupting the balance of power in this market.
What is the strategy for this increased competition?
BAKER: I have said it many, times and I will repeat again that I like competition. We have been in the middle of competition, very strong
competition, much stronger than Riyadh Air would have -- will bring to us. And we survived.
And today we are the second largest operator in our region. And don't forget Saudi Arabia is also a big market with over 40 million population.
Riyadh Air has themselves a very huge market. And they are opening up in a way.
And I'm sure that this opening up of the country will also help them. But at the same time, we're not going to sit with our eyes shut. We will make
sure that we protect our market share but, at the same time, we are open to work with them if they want to work with us.
ANDERSON: By slashing prices?
Is that how?
BAKER: No, I don't believe in slashing prices. If we had to do that, I think we would have undermined many other airlines in the region, which we
didn't. We need to be profitable. We are not here as charity just to have bums on the seat and reduce our heels (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That is the CEO strategy for Qatar in this region. But the airline is aiming for big growth across the globe. Tomorrow I'll have more
on Al Baker's plans to pull that off plus how he believes the industry's sustainability goals, frankly, are a far cry from reality. More news after
this short break.
ANDERSON: Well, this just in to CNN, amidst discussion over funding arms for Ukraine, we are now learning that the U.S. will transfer weapons to
Kyiv that it seized from Iran. U.S. officials say this could alleviate some critical shortages the Ukrainian military is facing. I want to bring in
Natasha Bertrand, who is in Washington.
Natasha, U.S. weapons seized from Iran, from where?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, these are weapons that have been seized going from Iran to Yemen, that are being used by the
Iranians, of course, to support (INAUDIBLE) there.
These are weapons that include assault rifles, ammunition, really extensive amounts of equipment that the U.S. has seized over the last several months
from the Iranians; thousands of assault rifles and thousands of rounds' worth of ammunition from the Iranians, that they have intercepted
essentially as they have been being shipped to Yemen.
So the U.S. now, instead of essentially keeping these weapons and ammunition in storage, has made the decision that they will be sending them
to the Ukrainians to use on the battlefield there.
This is really an interesting breakthrough because it's unclear at this point just how the Biden administration is justifying this legally. There
is a U.N. arms embargo that states that the U.S. and its allies, if they do seize these weapons and equipment and ammunition, that those weapons, they
need to be destroyed or stored.
And the U.S. has stored these seized weapons in facilities across the Middle East. But now it appears the Biden administration has found a kind
of legal way to justify sending these weapons to the Ukrainians.
Now this is really interesting because it could drive a wedge between the Iranians and the Russians, as you know. Iran has been providing Russia with
drones, Russia has been providing the Iranians with some technology. And help with their military programs.
So the fact that Iranian weapons are now going to be in the hands of Ukrainians really makes for an interesting dynamic over the next several
months. Of course, this is going to be very welcome news for the Ukrainians, who are struggling with critical supply shortages, particularly
when it comes to ammunition.
Well, now they could be receiving a pretty substantial amount of that.
ANDERSON: Let's see how this story develops. Natasha, thank you.
Pope Francis slamming climate change deniers and what he calls "irresponsible Western companies," as he warns the effects of climate
change are, quote, "already irreversible." The pontiff claiming world leaders and big industries, saying, our responses have not been adequate.
For more on Pope Francis' apostolic exultations, as it's known, I want to bring in Barbie Nadeau from Rome.
This isn't the first time that the pope has been outspoken about climate change and the environment. What is different this time?
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know it's really interesting; he wrote his first encyclical on climate change in 2015, eight years ago. He
in fact, starts this 7000-page -- or 7,000 word -- excuse me -- letter, saying, eight years ago I warned you, that there needed to be a change and
there needed to be a new attitude.
He puts a special blame on the United States, who says emissions are two times higher than China, seven times higher than poorer nations. He blames
even the Catholic Church, saying that it's up to its diocese and the clerics and things like that to really start telling their population,
their people about the dangers of climate change.
But he is really, really scolding those climate deniers. Now it's really interesting about this document. It doesn't focus a lot on theological
teachings. It really does embrace the science, going on, into great detail, about some of the specifics that are discussed in the science and how
climate change deniers are really the problem here.
The pope saying, I warned you eight years ago; you'd better start listening now, especially ahead of the COP28, which is the end of November, first
part of December, to be held in Dubai. He says that should not be a missed opportunity.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. I wonder whether he will be there. Thank you.
Well, finally singer Mariah Carey is gifting fans with a holiday tour. The self-proclaimed queen of Christmas announced her Merry Christmas One and
All concert on social media.
(VIDEO CLIP, "ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU")
ANDERSON: Ticket presale starts Thursday; the general ticket sale launches 24 hours later. The tour is set to kick off on November the 15th in
California. Other stops include Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago and Montreal. It will wrap up on December the 17th at New York's Madison Square Garden.
That is it for CONNECT THE WORLD tonight from Doha in Qatar.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. Stay with CNN. "STATE OF THE RACE WITH KASIE HUNT" is up next.