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First Move with Julia Chatterley

Cold, Snowy Weather Hampering Search for Survivors; 5,000 Plus Dead in Quake as Race for Survivors Intensifies; Rescue Workers Try to Extract Survivor from Rubble; International Aids Pours in for Search and Rescue Efforts; Global Investors Await Powell Comments on Economy; Public Transport Disrupted as Unions Strike. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired February 07, 2023 - 09:00   ET




MAX FOSTER, CNNI HOST: I'm Max Foster in London. We begin with the race against time to rescue people still trapped under the rubble across Turkey

and Syria. The United Nations said 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hits that struck Southern Turkey early on Monday morning was the most powerful

recorded in the country since 1939.

More than 5000 people are confirmed dead thousands of trapped. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a state of emergency in 10

provinces for three months as a result of the devastation. Search and rescue teams around the world are rushing to the scene to help search

through the collapse buildings.

But cold wintry weather is making efforts much more difficult. One man says he can hear people trapped under the rubble calling out for help, but

there's no way to reach them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are alive but nobody comes. We heard them. They're calling out asking for help. They asked to be rescued. We cannot rescue

them. How can you rescue them?


FOSTER: Well through the despair there are moments of hope like this nearly 24 hours after the earthquake a little girl crawling out of ruins into the

arms of the rescuers there. The World Health Organization says tens of millions of people are likely impacted by this disaster. CNN's Nick Paton

Walsh filed this report from the quake zone.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Night blanketed the destruction with freezing temperatures,

flashlights fires reveal and unwavering operation. Rescuers with only their bare hands, listening for faint voices of survivors trapped under the

homes. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake killed and injured thousands in Turkey and Syria and left thousands more homeless sifting through the dust for

what's left of their lives.

NESET GULER, KAHRAMANMARAS RESIDENT: We barely escaped from inside the house. We have four children and we left the house with them at the last

moment. I guess there were several people trapped inside. It was a huge disaster. Our situation is very bad here. We are waiting without water or

food we are in a miserable state.

WALSH (voice over): Clock is another enemy here along with the bitter cold. Eight is pouring in from all over the world. Rescue dogs to sniff for signs

of life and trickling into Syria ravaged by a decade of civil war. The first rays of Dawn sunlight bring warmth and reveal the true scale of the

devastating earthquake.

The strongest this region has seen in nearly a century. Dozens of powerful aftershocks mean the building still standing tall could come crumbling

anytime. Nick Paton Walsh CNN, Southern Turkey.


FOSTER: The rush to get aid into the area is being hampered by the weather but also damaged infrastructure. Nick filed this report earlier too.


WALSH (on camera): This is one of the major problems about getting aid. The road ahead of us part of its missing because the damage done by the quake

and that's causing a delay in getting urgent aid get urgently getting people out. Frankly, some of the areas we've seen the road here jammed with

people getting out in fact, on the sides of it because of the appalling weather.

People have been in car accidents, but startling numbers here we've gone from 24 hours ago, a few hundred now over 5000 dead, over 20,000 injured.

As I say the weather a real problem here. Now it's relatively clear and sunny, but we've had intermittent horizontal snowstorms coming at here and

you can hear sirens.

Now on this road, we've seen three, four ambulances rushing past. We think that's from the epicenter town impacted that we're not far from. But this

is across the border of Turkey with Syria a consistent disaster. The Town of Hatay significantly hit further east as well as the AdvoCare hit two.

And that is inside Turkey which has declared a state of emergency for three months in the areas worst hit. But it's across the border in Turkey, in

Syria. You do have to remember that they don't have the same infrastructure, the same rescue resources here they've been beleaguered by

years of war. And now the U.N. is saying they're going to have to slow down or halt temporarily that supply of food aid.


WALSH (on camera): You can see the extract of a - a constant stream of excavators trying to get people out. Another ambulance here coming behind

me part of this effort wherever you look frankly, sees the agency that is pushing them through the traffic.

This is the problem really, because it's the delay as the damage done. It's the weather, which is making it hard for Turkey reasonably well versed

prepared for something like this, to be able to get the people that it needs out of the rubble fast enough.

They have a small urgent window here, particularly for children, particularly for more fragile caught on to the rubble. The thousands of

collapse houses that Turkey is just beginning to get an idea of now that will get smaller and smaller and the temperatures are far from a front

here, the bitter enemy they're fighting.


FOSTER: Salma was live for us in Istanbul, I mean, there is a lot of promises of support. And some of that aid is already getting through. But

it has to be organized, doesn't it? And Syria frankly isn't going to see a lot of it, particularly in those rebel areas.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Max, I think if there is kind of one glimmer of hope here, it's always when you get to see the

international community really step up to a crisis. And you're absolutely seeing that happen here in Turkey.

President Erdogan made that wide appeal the level four alert calling on anyone and everyone who can help to bring, that help you received calls

from capitals around the world saying essentially, what do you need?

What can we bring you? And now we know that 70 countries at least have provided aid or said or pledge that they will provide aid in 14 different

international organizations as well joining in overnight. We saw rescue workers, emergency workers arriving in their uniforms in airports and

locations across this disaster stricken region.

Bringing much needed equipment, bringing much needed expertise, bringing much needed help and support and really trying to fan around a fan out

rather across that expansive zone that's been hit by this devastating earthquake. But as you said, of course, Max, Syria will not get to access

that help in the same way Northern Syria, as you know, as a place of conflict.

It suffered more than 12 years of war and in that region that is affected in Northwest Syria. You have different actors on the ground. You have of

course government in controlled areas and remember the Damascus government is sanctioned largely by the West.

In those areas, President Bashar al-Assad's government is turning to its allies in the war. Russia and Iran to help it on the ground in aiding with

the search and rescue efforts we've seen images of Russian troops helping pull people out from under the rubble in Syria.

And then you have these other areas that are rebel controlled, held by opposition forces. There of course, resources stretched extremely thin. We

have these very dramatic images of the White Helmets. These are a rescue group that operate on the ground in Syria, again, trying to pull people

out, but that's where they can reach.

There are other parts more remote, where there's absolutely no help at all. So whereas here in Turkey, there is still just that tiny glimmer of hope

now 36 hours after this earthquake, that people can be rescued that people can be found.

You heard from that package there from my colleague, Nick Payton Walsh, just the voices of people saying, we know we hear people under the rubble,

and we can't help them, we can't say them. There's no equipment and absolutely terrifying ordeal for those families just standing by waiting on

the countless missing, waiting on information about their loved ones.

FOSTER: What's particularly stark about this crisis compared with similar ones that we've seen in the past is the weather isn't it? Because it's so

cold and that makes it very tough for the rescuers, but also for the survivors when they come out, but also when they are underground under that

rubble is going to be a tougher effort to survive.

ABDELAZIZ: And the weather is getting more and bitterer in the coming days. That's the forecast. Look, absolutely you're looking at an area where first

hit by an earthquake that means roads are damaged, that means tarmacs are damaged, that means communication towers are damaged.

So already a difficult place to access now adds on top of that rain, snow, sleet, freezing conditions and as you mentioned, of course Max, you've had

this 7.8 magnitude earthquake and then after dozens of aftershocks. So even a building that standing tall could collapse at any moment.

So people are too scared to go into any building. So they're left outside and in sometimes in some places. There is no access to food, there is no

access to water, and there is no access to heating or to bathrooms or to sanitation.


ABDELAZIZ: And in Syria that's compounded ever more, Max, because you're looking at the population already so traumatized. Already you have 4

million people who were reliant on humanitarian aid inside Syria and that Northwestern part of Syria fully reliant on that humanitarian aid. And then

they've been struck by yet another disaster.

So absolutely this weather, compounding the misery making the search and rescue efforts more difficult. And then just think about the sheer numbers

Max, right? We just got the latest numbers from the Turkish authorities, more than 22,000 wounded. Imagine how many hospitals, doctors, clinics,

nurses, beds, are needed to take care of those wounded just here in Turkey, that medical infrastructure is barely there at all in Syria.

So you're not just talking about finding people you are talking about finding survivors, and then trying to give them that medical treatment,

when there is so little of it left? Absolutely, that international health is crucial. It is necessary, but unfortunately, not much of it is going to

reach Syria.

FOSTER: OK Salma, thank you. My colleague, Becky Anson has been with some of those rescue teams, she's in Turkey, and she's in Gaziantep, which is

the epicenter of this. Those teams are doing incredible work in very challenging situations.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR, "CONNECT THE WORLD": Yes, they are Max. And we've just walked about 50 yards up the road from where you and I spoke

about 10 minutes ago, where there's a search and rescue going on in a building that is partially collapsed. I want to show you what's going on

here now because this building has completely collapsed; it was similar to the building beside it.

So seven storey's, 36 hours ago, when this earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning as we understand it, there are at least 15 people under the rubble.

Now the good news is, we've been told they've heard the voices of three, and there has just been an extraction, I can't tell you whether they

extracted somebody alive.

They were certainly taken off in an ambulance. And I'll try and stand up whether that was somebody who was rescued alive. But I do understand that

they have heard the voice of three separate people in this building, and are, as you can see now working extremely quickly, to try and secure the

release of those that they have identified.

It is extremely tough work. At times, it looks as if the work has stopped Max, and then it continues again. So the rescues as you can see now are

working very quickly. I'm assuming that's in an area, where as I say that they are identified, somebody that I believe may still be alive.

FOSTER: Becky, what sort of I mean, we've been talking a lot about the weather, and how would you describe the weather? And what's it like for the

survivors, when they come out? I mean, it's really, you know, it's cold.

ANDERSON: Yes, it was extremely cold at 4:30 in the morning on Monday morning and it continues to be so. It's about one degree centigrade here at

the moment, but as soon as the sun drops, it's going to be in an hour or so it'll go down to minus five, minus six and spirit thought for those who

have survived this thankfully.

But are homeless at present there are a lot of people standing around, many of those are wrapped in blankets. And we are just across the road from a

shelter where there are people who are clearly not being able to go back to their homes. As of yet there are mosques and schools here in the area

accommodating people.

And there is a problem with water and with bread here. There are huge queues at the gas stations. We saw many, many people in their cars just by

the side of the road, as we came in from Gaziantep airport about 20, 25 minutes ago. I have to say Gaziantep hasn't been completely destroyed by

any stretch of the imagination.

There are pockets of destruction from this quake. And then there are areas as we were coming in that look relatively robust still buildings that

haven't been obviously affected on the outside. But when you get to an area like this, you can just see the sheer devastation. 36 hours on, obviously,

we're being told by authorities here that they will begin to run out of hope that there will be anybody further rescued alive from any of these

collapsed buildings.

But the hope does go on, and they won't run out our hope for hours. I've been in situations in earthquake zones when they're pulling people out

alive, four, five, six days in.


ANDERSON: You're absolutely right to point out that the weather conditions here are pretty brutal and it will be very, very difficult for people if

they're caught underneath a collapsed building like that in these sorts of conditions sadly to survive at, Max.

FOSTER: This is an area or region that you know very well you're often reporting on the politics and you know that. Is it very heartening to you

to see how all of those nations are coming together to give what support they can?

ANDERSON: It is I mean look Turkey is a country that isn't unfamiliar with earthquakes and so has a you know, a good system in place but the sheer

scale of this has really stretched authorities and you've seen the appeals by the Turkish authorities. And those appeals have been met we travel with

the UAE who are sending humanitarian aid search and rescue vehicles equipment and aid into both Turkey and into Syria.

It is of course easier to get that aid into Turkey. We do know that the situation down 100 kilometers from here and I'm just going to go quiet for

a moment because they are calling for quiet because this is an extraction I'm just going to let you just observe this.

And Max what they're calling for is water at this point. Max, what I'm hearing is that there is somebody alive under the rubble. Just put that

generator back on in order to provide some support for the machinery here. Desperate situation but one has to hope. There will be an extraction here.

15 at least underneath this rubble in the last few minutes, they have heard the voices of at least three so this now alive extraction.

On the two search and rescue gentlemen who are now just climbing up to the right hand side of this collapsed building. I've got a camera crew with

them. The idea being that they get that probe up to that extraction is going on just that they can see. Try and identify whether there is actually

a body or a person in a position to be rescued at this point.


ANDERSON: Just consider many of these search and rescue teams or members of these teams are likely to have been working around the clock for the very

notion that there is somebody alive. That will give them huge impetus to keep going.

Gazans have, of course, very, very close to the epicenter of this earthquake. The worst earthquake to hit this region in 100 years and many

of the small towns around this area we are told have been very heavily affected. So, this one neighborhood of Gaziantep in a city that is actually

relatively unscathed outside of these sorts of pockets of destruction and is still very unclear.

What is going on in other places away from this seaming conurbation? Remember Gaziantep is a relatively new city or certainly has relatively new

buildings. And what we're told is in areas to the north of here, were the buildings will be older, and not nearly as robust. The fear is that the

devastation is likely to be a lot worse and do spare a thought for those who are in the Northwest of Syria, in Aleppo and in Idlib.

Where there is no water, no electricity, no gas, no fuel, was speaking somebody just earlier on who has spoken to his sister there who says that

they are sheltering the mosque there. And then certainly in the area that she is in Aleppo, buildings have been massively destroyed. And there is

very little help and aid getting in to that area.

Continuing to watch what is going on behind us here where the search and rescue teams are desperately hoping that they are able to extract somebody

alive from this collapse building, Max.

FOSTER: I know that they were asking the Brits for sonar equipment, this is you know, vital, isn't it in situations like this to get it out there to

try to, you know, there's a massive job building through the digging through a hole collapse building. And if they can focus their efforts,

that's hugely helpful.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely, I mean, we were on a flight coming in from the UAE earlier on today. And the military were helping with the logistics of

deploying what were search and rescue and ambulances big huge sort of multi ton trucks calling for quiet once again.


ANDERSON: And once again, putting the generator back on and continuing this painstaking work, at least 15 people still trapped underneath that

collapsed building. Three of whom that they have heard from in the recent hour also. Max, you and I were talking about the sort of equipment that

sort of help that's needed, both here and in Syria at --.

Its heavy equipment, its search and rescue equipment. Its dogs, its sonar equipment in the areas that aren't accessible to authorities as of yet the

needs haven't even been assessed what it seems. So yes, I mean, it's the sort of help that can be provided by some of these teams, some of these

international teams, that have offered to redeployed is just so important at this stage.

Workers like these have been going all night, and they will continue that work, but they need the equipment to ensure that they can make this work


FOSTER: And we're speaking to an architect earlier on Becky, who was describing how dangerous that work is, because the buildings surrounding

those rescuers are all weakened, particularly in Gaziantep.

I think Istanbul is, you know, better protected, isn't it? And the architecture is a bit stronger to withstand these earthquakes. But in

Gaziantep, those guys are really taking a massive risk standing below that building alongside.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely right. Somebody's just show me a message. Somebody that we're working with here, one of our drivers has just got a

message. I can't verify this, of course, but I mean, you know, at this stage, people are just doing their best. But he's got a message from

somebody it says somebody from below.

I in that building there have just sent a message saying we are stuck under the debris save the citizens. There is a citizen alive from the wreckage.

That's a message that's just been shared with me. That's been sent, ostensibly, by somebody under there.

I mean, there is a I'm sure the architect that you've been speaking to is there's probably reported this here. There are conceivably pockets of areas

where people are actually in relative safety underneath that debris. I know it doesn't look like that when you witness it from here, but it's

conceivable that there are of course still people alive.


ANDERSON: And that's what will keep these search and rescue members and the members of the search and rescue teams going Max, because it is painstaking

and it is heart-breaking for them.

FOSTER: I mean the amazing thing about modern technology that people can be texting from beneath the rubble. Becky we'll be back with you as that

rescue takes place. There will be many more as well in Gaziantep and across Turkey and Syria. I will be back in just a moment.


FOSTER: Welcome back, returning to Turkey and Syria where countless people are still trapped beneath mountains of rubble after Monday's earthquake.

We're just with Becky Anderson in Gaziantep where someone was texting police beneath the rubble hoping to get the attention of the rescuers.

You have to actually reach them under that rubble. The death toll currently topping 5200 search and rescue teams from around the world have a colossal

task in front of them. There are thousands upon thousands of clouds buildings like these to dig through.

But freezing temperatures and powerful aftershocks are hampering the rescue efforts and making the situation even more dire and dangerous. Gaziantep

airport people wait in long queues for flights out of the country. The World Health Organization says up to 23 million people could be affected by

this quake. Getting urgent assistance to hard hit regions of Turkey and Syria will be a massive task in the days ahead.

The United Nations has temporarily halted cross border aid into Syria citing road challenges. The Turkish president says 70 countries and 14

international aid organizations have offered disaster assistance with much needed supplies already beginning to pour in. And that is with us pouring

into Turkey, but certainly not those rebels held areas of Syria.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: And that is really the concern here because of course, this is a population that is already so extremely vulnerable not

only following this devastating earthquake, but previously, of course, the conditions there were awful to say the least.

And the weather conditions terrible. Now, for those who've been displaced now, many of them for not just the first time, second time, but multiple

times as a result of war, and now this natural disaster.

But the key focus is getting that aid to those most vulnerable most in need in north-western Syria, not only getting support, of course with the rescue

effort, which is something that they are so desperately in need of, but also to support those who are, of course, recovering from injuries, those

who have been left homeless as a result of this earthquake.

And we've already heard pledges of support have seen pledges of support rather from some regional countries, including Algeria, the United Arab

Emirates, Iraq and Iran. Just in the last hour or so we've heard confirmation from Egypt that President Sisi, there has been on the phone to

President Bashar Al Assad in Syria, committing support on that front.

But of course, there is the question of that dividing line between Syria of course, in Damascus; the government there has blocked the transfer of aid

in the past to those rebels' held areas in north-western Syria. There is only one border crossing, which of course, the Syrian Government is

controlling in Syria.

And there is concern that that could prove disastrous if they aren't able to get the aid as quickly as possible. And we have heard today from the

Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, - Bashar Jaafari.

He said that his country that the Syrian Government should be responsible for the distribution of aid across its territory. They say that, you know

if these aid groups do offer support directly to those rebel held territories that could undermine serious authority. So they have been

accused by some aid organizations of playing politics here.

The question, of course, now is whether or not we will see that actually translate to action on the ground by the Syrian Government to offer support

to relinquish those dividing lines between the state government and the rebel held territories to provide that much needed aid to those in those

rebel held areas.

And of course, there is a huge emphasis on providing support on the rescue effort, because of course, this is a region that has been obliterated,

completely devastated. And we've heard from those aid groups, we've heard from the White Helmets, saying they are literally using manpower trying to

dig people out with their bare hands.

So, they need all the support that they can get. And we have seen a huge outpouring of support towards Turkey. They've seen a number of

international partners, President Erdogan has more than 70 now pledging their support to the Turkish Government. But the real question now is

whether we will see a similar effort being made for those in north-western Syria.

FOSTER: OK, Nada, thank you. The freezing temperatures are making it harder for that aid to reach the people who need it most and making the situation

even more precarious. Take a listen to what those from the Red Crescent in Turkey are currently saying.


KAAN SANER, TURKISH RED CRESCENT: We are very much focusing on the coverage of the basic needs, such as blankets and the provision of foods because we

are at the very initial stage of the response. So, we are trying to protect people from a harsh winter condition.


FOSTER: So, let's go to the CNN World Weather Center. Chad Myers has the details about you know conditions which are bad already, but you said

they're going to get worse.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: They are going to get colder. The cold front has come through it came through yesterday, and there's cold air wrapping

in behind it. It's the cold air that's out over the Mediterranean, believe it or not, but it will be wrapping in all the way across the Middle East

and into Syria and Turkey. Here is the center of the low right there.

You can see the spin of it, the cold front right down through here, bringing in all of the cold air behind it into Aleppo into the areas that

were so hard hit by this earthquake. The good news is Max, we haven't had a 4.5 earthquake or greater in the past four hours.

Now I don't want to jinx that there are still some shaking going on twos and threes and low fours, but at least the bulk of the very large

aftershocks seem to have calmed down just to touch but look at the low temperatures for tonight.

From all the way up, these temperatures here are six to 10 degrees below where they should be this time of year. And with the wind, they will feel

more like 10 to 15 degrees below normal. We know where the big aftershocks have been to the north kind of up into the Hillier range.

The bigger aftershocks to the North have been about six to 7000 meters higher in elevation than the initial quake and there's snow on the ground

some spots with over 10 centimeters of snow already on the ground. At least there's no more coming but that's not helpful - how cold it is that snow is

not going to melt.

FOSTER: Chad, thank you. For more on relief efforts, let's bring in Shadi Alshahdeh. He's partnerships officer of the Union of Medical Care and

Relief Organizations. He joins me now from Geneva. Thank you for joining us. Your teams are taking huge risks going into this quake zone, we're

seeing buildings still collapsing, we're seeing the aftershocks also the very cold weather. How are they doing?


SHADI ALSHAHDEH, UNION OF MEDICAL CARE AND RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS: Thank you, thank you very much for hosting the situation is actually catastrophically

region mainly hit in Syria has been facing military operation shelling for the past decade. The 4.5 million people population, two thirds of this

population are already internally displaced means already people who have no homes in this region.

And that means people who already lost their homes again yesterday, people who had no home, who found a huge home, have a sore lost their home

yesterday, after the earthquake hit the region. As you say 280 shocks about recorded now even a bit more. And we keep recording, we keep hearing of

more and more aftershocks coming.

I want us to imagine that this mental state of parents leaving and going with their children through these 280 Chuck's seeing others losing their

lives seeing others trapped under rubble. Imagine the state and then imagine the recovery process we have to take even later after the emergency

response right now.

FOSTER: What do you need most of all?

ALSHAHDEH: I think, I'd like to comment on one thing you wouldn't have your guests on if you'd colleagues just mentioned that there is one crossing

border. Actually, there are more. But there is one authorized by the UN Security Council after the war, two political war took place in the UN

Security Council to allow one only crossing border from Turkey to Syria.

This one crossing border is now suspended its work due to the earthquake that took place yesterday. What we need more is equipment's, medical

supplies, medicines, all that is highly needed an emergency like in for the emergency response. We can't wait to have this. It has to be now and now

and now today.

FOSTER: You're saying there are more crossings that the UN could approve effectively between Syria and Turkey? Are you pushing for that? I mean, is

there any progress there?

ALSHAHDEH: I mean, the UN Security Council itself approved for crossing border in northern Syria, a few years back, then this was reduced to two

and then this was reduced to one crossing border. It was for one year mandate; it became six-month mandate. So, the UN Security Council knows the

515 states know there is more than one crossing border.

FOSTER: And the road as I understand it that you know they currently can use is damage. So that's why no aid is getting in from the Turkish side of

the border.

ALSHAHDEH: That is true there is another cross border commercial one not the one we use for the humanitarian aid, not the one that UN for the - is

reported. And this needs to be confirmed to start functioning to start working. And that is not --.

FOSTER: Is any aid getting in from the Syrian side as far as you understands?

ALSHAHDEH: information of that.


ALSHAHDEH: You mean the masker side; we have no information of that kind. We did not have such information for the past 10 years.


ALSHAHDEH: Unfortunately.

FOSTER: Shadi Alshahdeh, thank you very much indeed for joining us, our thoughts with everyone in those areas that just haven't been reached yet.

For more information on how you can help the earthquake victims, you go to our website you'll find a list of organizations working on

rescue and relief efforts again that's



FOSTER: Welcome back. Let's take a look at the markets for you. U.S. stocks up and running a Wall Street, a mix open as you can see the NASDAQ is up,

but the other two main indices are down as investors wait. Fed Chair Jay Powell has comments on the economy. He'll be speaking at the Economic Club

of Washington in a few hours.

Powell could throw cold water on market hopes for fed interest rate pours. From the state of the markets to the State of the Union and President Biden

delivers his annual address to Congress tonight. He is expected to defend his economic agenda and his efforts to expand U.S. manufacturing.

Biden will also reportedly call on Congress to pass a stock buyback tax a minimum tax on billionaires and expand rich expand tech regulation. He's

also sure to urge Republicans to pass a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling and foreign policy will be high on Biden's agenda as well, just

days after the downing of the suspected Chinese spy balloon.

And just weeks before the first anniversary of Russia's war on Ukraine, all this is Biden gears up for an extended re-election bid a lot to take in.

Greg Valliere joins me now. Chief U.S. Policy Strategist at AGF Investments thanks for joining us. Which are those things you're looking at most

closely? What's most important for you?

GREG VALLIERE, CHIEF U.S. POLICY STRATEGIST, AGF INVESTMENTS: Well, good morning, Max. First of all, a lot of this pales in comparison to the human

tragedy in Turkey and Syria I'd say of all of the issues, the one that is most perplexing for the White House is that Joe Biden's job numbers are

bad. A lot of Democrats are not excited about him running for re-election. Most Americans think the economy is in bad shape.

And the fact is the economy's in quite good shape unemployment and a 50- year low inflation coming down, GDP looking strong. So, I think a major objective in this speech is to try to convince the American public that the

economy is not all that weak.

FOSTER: In terms of the national security issues, obviously, it's going to play in, isn't it in terms of coverage because of what's happened most

recently with China. But we've also seen the president be very careful to reassure everyone that this balloon incident hasn't affected U.S. China

relations. And this is not just diplomatic, is it, is economic?

VALLIERE: It is economic. And I must say right now in Washington, the antipathy toward China is really widespread. And in both parties, it's

bipartisan. I think that Congress is probably going to pass a resolution condemning this. And just when you think U.S. China relations can't get

worse. They do.

FOSTER: In terms of what the markets are looking for, is there something they're desperate to hear from the president as opposed to what they're

going to hear beforehand from Powell?

VALLIERE: Yes, good question. And I think the main thing the markets we're going to listen for are any kind of sign that there is a conciliatory mood

on the debt ceiling on the threat of default. I think the markets would be looking for Biden to say, he will negotiate or at least have conversations

with Kevin McCarthy.

If it's all strident, if it's all just angry rhetoric about a government default, I think the markets may start to get more worried that we could

actually see default later in the year.

FOSTER: It's also a test, isn't it the Republicans and McAfee to see how they react to this under McCarthy's leadership now?


VALLIERE: Yes, they have some real pressure on them. McCarthy is on a very, very short leash. And there's not a lot he can do without the House members

all going along. As we get into the spring, there's going to have to be the beginnings of a dialogue on spending restraint. And I think one of the big

themes this year in Washington is that both fiscal and monetary policy is going to be pretty restrictive.

FOSTER: OK. Greg Valliere, you'll be watching closely as we will as well, thank you for joining us from AGF Investments. Coming up on CNN, France is

in the midst of a new round of protests and strikes today, we'll be live in Paris for you after this.


FOSTER: For its protesters and strikers are taking to the streets once again to demonstrate against pension reforms. It's the third protest

against government plans to rise the retirement age for most workers from 62 to 64. CNN Senior International Correspondent Jim Bittermann joins us in

Paris with the details. I mean, it's a nicer day. So, you get bigger protests. But obviously, you know, they're pretty vociferous there.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All very much so, so much, and I can't even hear you, Max. Basically, yes, this is another

third in a series of demonstrations against that, that reform bill retirement policy in France, which would bump up the retirement age from 62

to 64.

At the venture mall, most universally opposed to once about 64, 65 percent or so, the French say that they do not like this idea. And so, a lot of

people are out in the streets here protesting. However, not as many people as 10 days ago or so the 31st of January, when in fact there was another

demonstration like this, they had 1.2 million people in the streets during that demonstrations.

And by all accounts, we haven't got the official figures yet. By all accounts, there are fewer people out here today and fewer people on strike

today. This is the first of the two demonstrations this week is going to be another one on Saturday.

Some thought that perhaps because there's another one on Saturday that workers are going to wait and protest then and all that, but the other

explanation from the Unionist is that, in fact, we're in the middle of school holidays here. So that might have an impact also on the number of

people turning out.

But in any case, we'll get the official figures in a few hours and from then we can sort of see if this has been bigger or whether they've strike

sentiment here is building or diminishing. One thing also that's playing into this is that the actual legislation that's going to reform the

retirement rules is it before the National Assembly, the parliament here.

And there's been more than 1000 amendments issued on that and they are going to consider those amendments one by one which should take into March.

So, in fact that legislation the enabling legislation on this could take a while.


BITTERMANN: And that may wane that might diminish some of the enthusiasm, although this crowd today pretty enthusiastic, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Jim, thank you very much indeed for that. Thank you for joining us from Paris as we watch. Those protests take place and whether or not

there'll be any progress with the government. That's it for the show. I'm Max Foster, thank you for joining us. "Connect the World" is next with

Becky Anderson, who will be of course, in Gaziantep.

We've been watching her with those rescue teams and the immense efforts as dusk sets in and it starts to get colder, they got a huge challenge ahead

of them the latest on the Turkey and Syria earthquake coming up.