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Isa Soares Tonight

Thailand Reels from Nursery Massacre; Ukraine Pushes Ahead with Counteroffensive; At Least 18 Migrants Dead after Boats Sink in Greek Waters; Teen Iranian Protester Found Dead after Days Missing. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired October 06, 2022 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: A very warm welcome everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, a country in shock after a brutal massacre in a Thai nursery

leaves dozens dead. Then Ukrainian forces push ahead with a counteroffensive as concerns grow once again over the safety of the

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. I'll speak to a Ukrainian official on the ground.

Plus, yet another missile tests from North Korea. We'll have the latest on how South Korea, the U.S. as well as Japan are all responding. But tonight,

we begin in a remote district of northeastern Thailand, and an unspeakable act of violence. Police say a heavily-armed former officer with a history

of drug-use stormed a children's nursery massacring at least 36 people.

Most of his victims were children who were killed as they slept. It happened in Nong Bua Lamphu province, a mostly agricultural region near the

Laos border. Police say that the 34-year-old attacker had just been in court on drug charges when he went to the nursery to find his two-year-old


When he couldn't locate him, he erupted in a shooting and stabbing rampage. People lining the road from the nursery pray this evening as a long line of

ambulance, you can see there, carried away the victims. Well, for those who witnessed the massacre, there's shock as well as disbelieve and profound

grief of course. CNN's Selina Wang hears from one teacher who describes how this horrific event unfolded.



SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A daycare center teacher describes the moment a former police officer storms the nursery,

pulls a gun from his waist and aims it at her face. More than 20 children killed during their lunch-time nap. A massacre inside a nursery in a small

and peaceful town around 540 kilometers northeast of Bangkok.

"I didn't expect he would also kill the kids", she says. Describing how he repeatedly used a knife to kill the children and a pregnant teacher, who

she says died inside the room. By a roadside, the body of a woman allegedly run-down by the shooter as he drove away in his car. Officials identifying

him as 34-year-old Panya Khamrapm; a former police officer who had been fired and was in court earlier Thursday on a drug charge just hours before

the shooting.

Police said he went to the childcare center looking for his two-year-old stepson, discovering the boy was not there, the man began shooting and

stabbing people at the nursery. Later driving home to kill his wife and stepson before taking his own life. Ambulances and medical workers rushed

to the nursery, family members of the victims were weeping outside the building.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha wrote in a statement, "I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families and the injured.

I've instructed the national police chief to quickly enforce the law, and all concerned parties, to give help and rehabilitate those who are affected


The prime minister has ordered an urgent investigation into what is now the country's deadliest ever massacre carried out by a lone perpetrator. The

country left in shock and horror. Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.


SOARES: Just horrific. CNN's Blake Essig is monitoring the latest developments for us from Tokyo. And Blake, this is heartbreaking and

horrifying at the same time. What more can you tell us about the victims at this stage?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, look, I mean, this heartbreaking story played out in the early afternoon on Thursday in a province located

northeast of Thailand, a peaceful, quiet area not known for violence, it is now believed to be the scene of Thailand's deadliest massacre ever carried

out by a single person.

And according to officials with Thailand's criminal investigations bureau, the attacker armed with multiple guns and a knife, entered the nursery

while these kids were asleep. Out of the 24 kids inside the nursery, police say 23 of them, some as young as two years old were killed. According to

the police chief, most of the victims were stabbed, saying, quote, "it seems that if there was a kid involved in this attack, the attacker would

use a knife".


One of the school's teacher said that she was eating lunch with co-workers when the attack started. She said that she heard what sounded like

fireworks and described the moment the attacker shot and kicked in the door before entering a nursery. Here's what she said she saw next. Take a



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I saw him using a knife, chomping at the bodies of the kids again and again. He also used a knife and stabbed

a pregnant woman who was due to give birth in one month. She died inside that room.


ESSIG: Now, police say the suspect shot and stabbed his victims before he fled the nursery, striking bystanders with his car in the process.

Investigators immediately launched a manhunt for the suspect to return to his home before killing his wife and two-year-old stepson before taking his

own life.

In the end, at least 36 people are dead, including 24 children, another 10 people are injured. Six seriously injured. Isa, police say that the shooter

and his family are included in the number of people killed.

SOARES: And Blake, you know, all these details that you're providing us are just incredibly distressing to hear those details. What are you hearing

from authorities at this stage, Blake, though, about the man behind the rampage and the motive here?

ESSIG: Yes, you know, Isa, we continue to learn more by the hour. Authorities have identified the shooter as a 34-year-old man, a former

police officer who was dismissed from duty, fired and charged with a drug- related offense last year. His police chief said that this possession charge is a result of confessing and possessing yaba(ph), which means crazy

medicine in Thai.

And is a combination of meth and caffeine. The police chief also said that the attacker appeared in court on that drug charge just a few hours before

this massacre took place, with a verdict that was expected to come down later on today. Isa?

SOARES: Blake Essig, I know it's a story you'll stay on top of, thank you very much, Blake, appreciate it. Now, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog

is in Kyiv demanding a safety zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Right now, Russian forces control the facility, and on Wednesday,

President Vladimir Putin declared it Russian federal property.

International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Rafael Grossi says he will visit Moscow next and promises he will make clear that the IAEA recognizes the

power plant as Ukraine's. Have a listen.


RAFAEL GROSSI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: We are an international organization. We are guided by international law. And as

you know very well, you all know very well, annexations are not accepted under international law, the United Nations Charter and other instruments.

So, this is very clear that there are practical consequences and I am dealing with that as well.


SOARES: Well, meanwhile, Ukraine's military continues to make headway in the south and the east, straining Russian defenses even further. Clare

Sebastian joins me now here to break everything down. And Clare, let's start first of all on this kind of predawn missile strikes we saw in this

residential area in Zaporizhzhia. What more do we know?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So just to be very clear about where we're talking about. Zaporizhzhia, the city is where this happened. It is

in the Zaporizhzhia region which is one of the four that Russia said it annexed just under a week ago. But it is not in Russian-controlled

territory. It is still in Ukrainian-controlled territory underscoring the sort of confusion --

SOARES: Yes --

SEBASTIAN: Around all of this. What happened according to a local Ukrainian official was that there were pre-dawn strikes on residential buildings,

seven missiles were reported. Apparently, according to this official, while people were sleeping, one person confirmed to be killed, seven in hospital,

including a 3-year-old child.

And then another strike on Zaporizhzhia, a few hours later, a local governor there telling people to stay in their shelters. It really just

gives you a sense of the reality this is for Ukrainian people, seven months into this war still having to shelter, take cover from these missiles. That

clearly, Zaporizhzhia is under attack.

SOARES: Yes --

SEBASTIAN: It comes less than a week after very deadly attack we saw on a civilian convoy on its way out of Zaporizhzhia city towards the Russian-

controlled territory where, you know, many people died, 30 killed, 80 had wounded in that attack. So, clearly, the city is a target for Russia, a

very dangerous place for civilians right now.

SOARES: That is a city. Let's talk about what Rafael Grossi; the IAEA chief was talking about. And that's the Zaporizhzhia nuclear --


SOARES: Power plant. We heard from Putin, he wants to make that a federal asset. What is Ukraine saying about this? Because this is really on the

front line as you --


SOARES: Can see there on that map.

SEBASTIAN: Yes, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is in Russian- controlled --

SOARES: Yes --

SEBASTIAN: Territory. Putin has now signed a separate decree on Wednesday, essentially annexing it. I didn't know that was something you can do, but

apparently, he's annexed these nuclear plant --

SOARES: He's breaking very much every rule --

SEBASTIAN: Right, so this now means that Europe's largest nuclear power plant as well as being vulnerable to shelling, which is already damaged

buildings on the site, it's already taken out most of the power to the facility.


It is now in a situation where the management is disputing Ukraine as President Putin signed this decree, essentially installed the head of its

own state nuclear energy agency as the director of the plant. The head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi underlined today the stress that the Ukrainian

staff under there.

So, this means that he -- so, this is concerning enough to rush to Kyiv, he's then going to go to Moscow to talk about this, because they want to

make sure that in addition to the potential damage from shelling and things like that, there aren't confusions around who is actually running this.

SOARES: Very quickly. You and I were talking yesterday about that push in Luhansk.


SOARES: What more do you know?

SEBASTIAN: So, we were there talking yesterday about social media images --

SOARES: Yes --

SEBASTIAN: Starting to show Ukrainians crossing into the border of this critical region. They were forced out of there in the Spring. Now, we're

hearing officially from the Ukrainian head of the region in the military administration that they have moved in. He says they've taken a village

that's very close to the borders of those three regions, Kharkiv, Donetsk and then Luhansk.

So, he says it will be harder this time because Russian forces that retreated from Kharkiv and Donetsk have amassed here. Plus, there isn't the

element of --

SOARES: Yes --

SEBASTIAN: Surprise they had with that counteroffensive in Kharkiv, but it's happening.

SOARES: Clare Sebastian, appreciate it, thank you very much. Well, a Russian-appointed official in the occupied city of Kherson is blaming

incompetent Russian commanders for its losses in the region. Ukraine is winning back more territories as Clare was saying and exposing the

destruction and desolation that Russian forces are leaving behind.

Our Nick Paton Walsh visited one newly-liberated town, and a warning for you, this report contains graphic images.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): We don't leave our own behind. A Russian war slogan you hear less these days

especially along the roads south by the Dnipro River where the Russians seem to be collapsing since the weekend on yet a third front.

(on camera): The pace of Ukraine's advance, you can feel on the roads here. That is hour by hour that they move forward this road line with Russian

bodies, abandoned Russian positions. It's clear people left here in a hurry.

(voice-over): In just the last three days, they've swept along the west bank of the river through Russian positions, the shallow, shabby fox holes

of an army with almost nothing at hand. Even what little they had was abandoned, especially this tank. A model that first came into service 60

years ago when Vladimir Putin was nine.

Here, the village of Mykolaivka right on the river is getting cellphone service for the first time in six months, and aid. Shells slammed into here

90 minutes ago from the Russians still across the water. It's the price of their freedom. "The Russians would check on us", she says, "trying to make

us vote in the referendum, but we didn't. Still, we survived. We owed people always have food supplies."

Outside the village are more of the short-lived occupation left in the tree-line with a sleeping mat and shells. In nearby Liubymivka, there was

heavy fighting Saturday, and then Sunday, the Russians just vanished. Gratitude for aid and liberation going spare to almost anyone.




WALSH: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Smiles, and it is over and shock of how fast.

"It was very scary, we were afraid", she says. "Hiding, they were bombing, robbing, we survived. They ran, the rain came, and they ran."

(voice-over): Signs all-around of how their unwanted guests just did not know what to do when they got here or have food or beds. So, they fill that

gap with cruelty. Andrei(ph) had a generator and would charge local's phones so the Russians decided he was Ukrainian informer and beat him.

"They brought me from here and they put a hood on my head and taped it up", he says. "Then we walked a few steps up and down." They beat him so badly

his arms turned blue from defending his head. Still there months later. Stalemate had torn these huge expanses up for months. Now it's broken.

As has the fear of the Kremlin's army here. Bereft, abandoned, filthy, and vanishing down the road. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, along the Dnipro River,

Kherson region, Ukraine.


SOARES: Powerful report there from our team. Well, joining me now to talk more about Ukraine's counteroffensive is Yuriy Sak; the adviser to

Ukraine's Defense Ministry. Yuriy, great to have you on the show once more.


Look, what we have been reporting, have been seeing, Nick just showed that part of that really to large scale as well as simultaneous operations both

in the east and the south by Ukraine's forces. And what has been, I think it's fair to say, quite a pacy counteroffensive. We're seeing the push in

the east in Luhansk, what more can you tell us about the territory gained there?

YURIY SAK, ADVISER TO THE MINISTER OF DEFENSE OF UKRAINE: Good evening. Yes indeed. This has been from -- you know, this counteroffensive actually

exceeded our own expectations, and this is something that we've said before, and you know, in the last just couple of days, for example, in the

Kherson region, Ukrainian army was able to regain control, basically recapture 29 villages and more than 400 square kilometers --- 400 square --

400,000 square kilometers.

So, essentially, you know, this is our military objective, the complete de- occupation of the Ukrainian land despite whatever happens in the Kremlin and in spite of their decisions to attempt annexation to conduct

mobilization. We have to liberate our land, and this is what we're doing.

SOARES: On that point, the decisions made by the Kremlin, of course, Luhansk is one of the regions that President Putin has proclaimed, you

know, as to be annexed with annexation decree, if you remember. How do you see, Yuriy, the battle playing out in Luhansk, because I'm not sure if you

heard our correspondent, Clare Sebastian, she was talking about this being a tougher territory because there's no longer the element of surprise,

which is what you had in Kherson.

SAK: Our military command, and we have seen it in the past, is planning this counteroffensive operations very skillfully and very carefully. And of

course, where the situation, the operation situation on the front lines allows, the advance of our army is faster. But we have a high regard for

human life, both, you know, the soldiers, as well as civilians of course.

And this is why, you know, all the military operations are planned very carefully with a view to minimizing the human cost of these operations. So,

the ultimate goal remains unchanged. You know, we will liberate, ultimately, Luhansk, God bless, Donetsk, God bless, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia,

all of them including Crimea. But of course, the pace could differ depending on the situation on the frontlines. It's a very volatile and very

dynamic frontline.

SOARES: I understand, and the goal remains the same. In terms of Luhansk, do you believe the challenges would be different?

SAK: Well, the challenges will be -- you know, thought about by the military command, and at the moment, we are -- well, the challenges remain

the same. You know, Russian army is, you know, well equipped. They have a lot of heavy artillery, but we are conducting smart military operations,

smaller groups, so we'll have to see how it pans out.

SOARES: And Yuriy, I want to just so our viewers, if I can ask my producer to bring up this map. Look at the -- really, at the amount of territory

that has changed hands in just a matter of not just weeks, days in fact. How do you -- far do you think it can go? I mean, this is October 5th, as

you can see there.

And we have another map just in terms of comparison, how much really, Ukrainian -- the Ukrainian counteroffensive, this September 6th. Do you

think, Yuriy, that Ukraine, if you continue going at this pace could retake Crimea if it continues, obviously, to recapture territory at the pace it is

doing right now?

SAK: Of course, it is difficult to make any concrete predictions as to how far the Ukrainian army will go. But what we can say with certainty, is that

the major secret, major factor of this success of the counteroffensive has been the skillful warfare on the part of the Ukrainian army as well as

western weapons in the arms of the Ukrainian soldiers.

So, for the counteroffensive to progress at the same pace to be faster and to -- for the Ukrainian army to be able to put an end to this war, we need

to receive more weapons, you know, we -- tanks, we need armored vehicles, we need combat aircrafts, and hopefully, you know, these are the items that

will be discussed on October 12th during the next lunch time meeting.

SOARES: But is Crimea part of your goal here?

SAK: Crimea is an internationally-recognized part of Ukraine's territory. So, whether it will be retaken, you know, militarily or in other ways, this

will have to be decided by the highest military and political command.


At the moment, we have sufficient number of military objectives in the temporarily-occupied territory which has been captured by the aggressor

since October 24th. So, we're focused now on these territories. And you know, once we achieve that goal, our military and political command will

decide how to advance further and what to do about Crimea.

SOARES: Yuriy Sak, always great to get your insight, I appreciate it, Yuriy.

SAK: Thank you very much. Thank you.

SOARES: And still ahead tonight, a show of force in the sea of Japan. We'll see how the U.S., Japan and South Korea are responding to the latest round

of ballistic missile tests by Pyongyang. Plus, tragedy off the coast of Greece, bringing Europe's migrant crisis into the spotlight. Once again,

we'll bring you the latest on the search as well as rescue efforts from the two migrant boat wrecks. That is next.


SOARES: While the U.S., South Korea and Japan are responding to North Korea's latest ballistic missile test with a show of force of their own.

The U.S. Defense Department released these images of American warships taking part in trilateral exercises in the sea of Japan on Thursday. As

CNN's Paula Hancocks reports, joint drills come after the sixth round of North Korean missile tests in less than two weeks.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As North Korea continues to break its own missile launch records, South Korea says trilateral Naval

exercises are back in its waters. The U.S., South Korea and Japan, holding drills to track and intercept missiles, a response to the North's launches.

ANDREI LANKOR, PROFESSOR, KOOKMIN UNIVERSITY: What is the impact of all this, you know, American aircraft carriers cruising around Korea? Pretty

much, nothing. It will probably make some people in the United States and Republic of Korea a bit happier. But it will have zero impact on North

Korea's behavior and decision-making.

HANCOCKS: North Korea blamed their recent flurry on the U.S., Thursday, calling them just counter action measures -- South Korean Naval drills.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: It will only increase the condemnation, increase the isolation, increase the steps that are taken

in response to their actions.

HANCOCKS: But a United Nations Security Council hearing this week suggested Pyongyang is not isolated. While the U.S. blamed Russia and China without

naming them for enabling North Korea, Russia and China blamed the United States for increasing tensions. A schism that benefits Pyongyang.


CARL SCHUSTER, FORMER U.S. NAVY CAPTAIN: Kim Jong-un is doing what he thinks he can get away with, he's not expecting any kind of strong U.S.

reaction. He's letting the South Korean government and the U.S. government know that he has significant capability.

HANCOCKS: North Korea is expected to continue capitalizing on geopolitical turmoil, as seventh underground nuclear test is expected at any time, if it

happens, most likely, after the Chinese party congress so as to not anger its main benefactor. Kim Jong-un also released a 5-year plan less than 2

years ago. He appears to be working his way through that list.

(on camera): This leads many experts to believe that this cycle of testing will continue, especially as Kim Jong-un knows that he is very unlikely to

face any more U.N. sanctions, while Russia and China are in no mood to side with the United States. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


SOARES: Well, a U.S. official tells CNN the Biden administration has repeatedly tried to contact North Korea through multiple channels, but its

efforts at diplomacy amid the flurry of missile tests have only been met with silence. CNN's Oren Liebermann joins me now from the Pentagon and


Oren, good to see you. So just explain to our viewers around the world, I mean, how does the U.S. Interpret or assess this flurry of ballistic

missile tests and the timing of it?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've seen this flurry as Paula pointed out over the course of the past 2 weeks, six in just that

period alone, totaling -- a total of 10 ballistic missiles. The vast majority, nine to be exact, I mean, short-range ballistic missiles, some

launched alone, some launched in pairs.

But there is one intermediate range that flew over Japan the first time that's happened in the course of the past 5 years. The U.S. sees this as

simply North Korea's Kim Jong-un's in particular, his policy, and one that he refuses to back away from. In fact, Secretary of State Antony Blinken

said just yesterday while he was in Chile that, even as the U.S. has attempted to make contact to see if there's a chance or an opportunity to

chart a different course here, essentially.

North Korea has continued upon this wave, and Blinken said it would simply lead to more isolation, more condemnation of North Korea as this continues.

The U.S. making its point that it will not be deterred, and its responses will emphasize its partnerships, its alliances in the region, in particular

with the South Korea and Japan, as we've seen this flurry of launches, we have also seen the U.S. respond with the Naval missile defense exercise

intended to improve the detection, tracking and interception of potential future North Korea launches.

But also the launching of ATACMS precision long-range-guided missiles, surface-to-surface missiles, and an anti-submarine exercise last Friday as

the first time that's happened according to South Korea in some 5 years. And more exercises -- so, the U.S. making the point, making it a point to

respond and respond in a way that highlights to North Korea that it will not be deterred from working with its allies there. Isa?

SOARES: Yes, on the diplomatic front though, Oren, I mean, we were saying there's been no contact or communication between U.S. officials and

Pyongyang. That is very different from what I can remember from the previous administration. Why is that?

LIEBERMANN: Part of that is the Trump administration made it a point of trying to reach out in a way that allowed or appear to allow Kim Jong-un to

back away, but just for a period, right? There were a series of launches in 2017, quite a high number there, then there was a break that followed the

Trump administration's outreach.

But that then fell apart, and there were more launches. The Biden administration has said, look, we're not closed off from diplomacy or

dialogue, but if that's not going to happen, we're not simply going to sit here and we're going to go back to the exercises, the large-scale exercises

we had before the Trump administration. And those exercises essentially were scaled back and turned into, for example, table top exercises for a

period, there.

SOARES: Oren Liebermann there for us at the Pentagon, thanks very much, Oren, I appreciate it. And still to come tonight, Greece seize two migrant

boats wreck in one night. The latest on the search and rescue efforts. And why officials are having to pull these survivors to --




SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

We are seeing dramatic new video of the search and rescue efforts off the coast of Greece. It is bringing Europe's migrant crisis once again to the


Here, you see rescue teams on top of the cliff, helping survivors who made it to shore after their boat sank near Kythira. The mayor said the spot

where it crashed was the worst possible place on the island. No one could get them by sea.

This is one of two migrant boats that wrecked late Wednesday. The other was near Lesbos. Elinda Labropoulou is in Athens, joining me now.

We are talking about two incidents here. Give us a breakdown of what you're hearing from authorities and what is happening here.

ELINDA LABROPOULOU, JOURNALIST: At the moment, there are still two rescue operations underway in both islands, Lesbos and Kythira. They are two

separate incidents, both with boats carrying migrants.

In the first case, the island of Lesbos, close to Turkiye, where the boat began its journey, we have 18 people who have been confirmed dead; 16

women, one child, one man. The boat was carrying about 40 migrants; 25 people have been rescued.

The accounts of the people that were on board, the authorities describe 10 of the women rescued at first, being in a complete state of panic.

In the second incident, very much what we saw these images of, people trying to pull migrants up through the cliffs, it was a dramatic rescue.

Really difficult weather conditions. People on the sailboat, about 95 people on a very overcrowded sailboat, sinking just outside the main part

of the island.

Locals going to the rescue as people held onto rocks and cliffs. We understand that a crane was used to help these people be pulled up.

At the moment we understand there is at least 15 people still missing. Eyewitnesses have been describing seeing people disappear under the waves.

So a very dramatic rescue, a very dramatic day for Greece. They describe this as a double tragedy. It is not the first time that we see these

shipwrecks but this was a particularly difficult day.

SOARES: Let me ask you this. As we are looking, the pictures are -- really just how dangerous this rescue is. As we heard from the mayor, saying it's

the worst possible place on the. Island talk to us about the routes that migrants are taking.

How they are changing these routes given the migration policy change we've seen over the years from Greece.


LABROPOULOU: Well, we are seeing these routes are indeed changing. For a long, time it seems that the responders were choosing routes that were the

closest contact between the closest crossings between Turkiye and Greece.

But now in order to try to bypass the Greek authorities and to bypass the regulations, the E.U. patrols in the area, they seem to be changing the

routes. They seem to be taking less obvious routes, such as the one we saw just outside the island of Kythira, like 450 kilometers from the Turkish


The idea was to try to reach the Italian shores and bypassed Greece completely. We have seen several such shipwrecks as a result of certain

decisions. But the feeling in Greece is, what needs to be done, what the authorities said, the E.U. should come together in trying to decide what

cohesive policy of dealing with migration.

Elinda Labropoulou in Athens, Greece, thank you, Elinda.

Migration is a key issue facing Europe right now, along with the war in Ukraine,, of course and the energy crisis, all of which are front and

center as European leaders and meet in Prague; 44 nations are attending the inaugural summit of the European Political Community started by the French

president Emmanuel Macron.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has details what to expect from the summit.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The leaders of more than 40 countries gathered in Prague on Thursday for the inaugural meeting of the European

Political Community.

This is the latest club of nations, this one proposed by French president Emmanuel Macron. That goal behind it is to bring the 27 member states that

make up the E.U. to bring that bloc closer to other countries.

Those are countries like Ukraine, which wants to join the E.U., or countries like the U.K., which in this Brexit world want to maintain a

close relationship with its neighbors. Of, course in the wake of the war on Ukraine, the goal among these leaders is to show a united front. Take a

listen to how the French president describes this.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): The objective is to share the same understanding of the situation, which is affecting

Europe, and to battle out a common strategy so strategic conversation, which doesn't really exist at the moment and which could reduce the


And I hope that we can come out of this with a common project. So there are countries which are members of the European Union. There are countries

which are in the process of trying to join.

There are others who have just left the European Union and others which can't accede. But we all share a common space and sometimes also a common

history. And it is in our interest to meet here to write our future together. And that is what the European Political Community is about.


ABDELAZIZ: One of the major victories for Macron in this meeting is the attendance of British prime minister Liz Truss, who was reluctant at first.

Downing Street only confirmed her attendance last week.

Truss the, prime minister is coming off the back of a horrendous week of British politics. Just to quickly go over, it over a week ago, her party,

her government, announcing this mini budget. That caused an economic backlash with the British pound plummeting.

Mortgage rates were. Rising pensions were crashing. Eventually, the prime minister doing a U-turn and slashing the idea of cutting the tax rate of

some of the wealthiest in this country. Still very much on shaky. Ground

Attending this meeting in Prague, trying to show a strong front on the world stage, while very much lose trust and confidence back home -- Salma

Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


SOARES: Still to come tonight, the United States has just announced new sanctions on Iran as a human rights organization and urges the world to

help stop the country's deadly crackdown on dissent.





SOARES: Human Rights Watch says international pressure is needed to stop Iran's use of excessive and lethal force against protesters. In a new

report, it says Iran is crushing dissent with a, quote, cruel disregard for life. Those anti government protests are still going on today.

This video you're looking at, obtained by a pro reform outlet, shows high school students chanting, "Death to the dictator."

Just a short time ago, the U.S. and announced new sanctions on Iran condemning its violent suppression of peaceful dissent. Let's bring in

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh for more. She is live for us tonight in Istanbul.

Does this human rights report, what they call excessive force, match what you have been hearing from your contacts and your interviews on the ground?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. This is exactly what we have been hearing from the start. The protests in Iran, the security forces

have used excessive force against protesters across the country, unnecessary force.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have done quite a lot of work on this over the past couple of weeks. They have been collecting and

documenting testimony from eyewitnesses.

They have also really analyzed a lot of the video and photos that we have seen coming out. They are concluding that security forces are shooting

directly and deliberately at protesters. They are using live ammunition in many cases. They are using metal pallets. They are firing shotguns and

assault rifles at these peaceful protesters.

The really worrying thing, there is an estimate of the death toll. It depends on what organization you talk to and it depends on what numbers you

look at. It is anywhere from 50 to more than 100 people who are killed. We can't independently verify the casualties.

What's making it difficult for us to try and gather information, it's the internet shutdown. The Iranian government has put this in place. There's a

lot of concern that the death toll is going to be higher once these restrictions are lifted.

People are really bracing for what's going to come out on the other. End and I can tell, you, what's also really difficult, you and I discussed

this, case of a young woman, Nika Shahkarami. She disappeared and then turned up dead. We are still trying to find out what really happened to

her. And right now there are more questions and answers.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): This is Nika Shahkarami, one of the thousands of young Iranians who took to the streets on September 20th. But Nika never

made it back home. She disappeared.

10 days later, her parents found her, a lifeless body at the morgue of a detention center in Tehran. Nika's aunt spoke out in a BBC Persia


ATASH SHAHKARAMI, NIKA'S AUNT (through translator): I was in contact with her until 7:00 p.m. on September 20th.


SHAHKARAMI (through translator): Her friend said Nika put a story on Instagram to show she had burned her headscarf and she said to her friend,

she was running away because security agents were after her. That was the last contact from her.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): According to her aunt, Nika's phone was switched off and her social media accounts deactivated.

SHAHKARAMI (through translator): At the morgue, they showed the body. They only allowed her mother and her brother to identify the face. They were not

allowed to unzip the cover to see the torso.

KARADSHEH: While the circumstances of her death remain unclear, human rights groups have documented the brutal force used against protesters.

Iranian security forces have dragged unveiled women by their hair, with some also reportedly sexually assaulted according to Amnesty International,

Iranian state media released the CCTV video that investigators say shows Nika going into a building, possibly falling from it later. They say

they've arrested eight workers who were there.

Authorities say there is no evidence the teenager was killed by police. Prosecutors say they've launched an investigation into her death. That

comes just weeks after Mahsa Amini collapsed and died in morality police custody.

Amini's family say doctors told them she had head trauma and believe she was beaten to death. Police said the 22-year-old died of a heart attack,

they deny any wrongdoing. And it's been nearly three weeks since that investigation was announced.

Nika's funeral, this mourner cries, today was your birthday. Congratulations on your martyrdom.

Nika Shahkarami was buried on what would have been her 17th birthday.


KARADSHEH: A short time ago in a statement to CNN, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights tells us that they are following

closely the events surrounding the tragic death of Nika Shahkarami.

They say she went missing during the protests reportedly as she ran from security forces. We call for an independent and impartial investigation

into her death and all other serious violations in the context of the current protests in Iran.

SOARES: Thank you very, much. Jomana

Starting Friday, passengers arriving in the U.S. from Uganda will be routed through five airports for Ebola screening. This comes as Uganda races to

contain an outbreak of the deadly virus; 44 cases are now confirmed. The World Health Organization has a team on the ground in the East African

nation. Larry Madowo has more.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even the dead are a risk. Every departure is a potential new case as Ebola continues to spread through Uganda.

LT. COL. DR. KYOBE HENRY BBOSA, UGANDAN HEALTH MINISTRY: The epidemic appears to have started around the beginning of September when people

started dying in a small villages in (INAUDIBLE).

MADOWO (voice-over): The outbreak only declared much later on September 20th. After a diagnosis in the central Uganda district of Mubende. Two

weeks later, it spread significantly. Yet experts fear there may be dozens of underreported cases.

BBOSA: This is a rapidly evolving picture.

MADOWO (voice-over): Uganda is no stranger to Ebola. The last outbreak in 2019 only ended a year later as the world was waking up to COVID-19.

Experience with the disease partly why the government has been downplaying it.

YOWERI MUSEVENI, PRESIDENT OF UGANDA: (INAUDIBLE) Ugandans and all residents that the government has (INAUDIBLE) outbreak as we have done


MADOWO (voice-over): Uganda has decided against closing public spaces but it says the same infrastructure and practices used to curb the spread of

COVID-19 will be used to keep Ebola in check.

BBOSA: We think that using what we've done before, we should be able to approach a response to this type of outbreak.

MADOWO (voice-over): While the variant responsible for this particular outbreak, the Sudan virus, does not currently have a vaccine, trials could

start in 4 to 6 weeks.

DR. SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN, WHO CHIEF SCIENTIST: There are about six candidates, vaccine candidates available for the Sudan Ebola virus, which

are mostly in early stages of development. But three of them have had some human data, some (INAUDIBLE) and safety data. And so they can actually

proceed to be used in the field.

MADOWO (voice-over): The idea is to vaccinate health workers and contacts of known positive cases to slow down the spread, as so-called ring

vaccination similar to what was done in the DRC in 2019.

Among the vaccine candidates to be trialed is a jab developed by Oxford University, using the same technology employed in the COVID-19 vaccine they

developed with AstraZeneca.


MADOWO (voice-over): Fresh hope against a deadly disease that has ravaged the African nations for decades -- Larry Madowo, CNN, Ghana.


SOARES: We'll be back after the short break.




SOARES: All this week, the "Journey Matters" series is taking you to the Maldives, as the lowest lying country in the world it is right at the

forefront of climate change. Our Christina Macfarlane looks at how one resort is using the sun to help reduce its carbon footprint.



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Maldives, the world's lowest lying country, we find Priyantha Kulathunga pretty high up.

More than 20 meters above the Indian Ocean.

Originally from Sri Lanka, he is the chief engineer of Kudadoo Maldives.

Looking every part the action hero, he is on the roof of the resort's social hub to show us one of the property's most defining features, nearly

1,000 solar panels built over an area of more than 17,000 square feet.

PRIYANTHA KULATHUNGA, CHIEF ENGINEER, KUDADOO MALDIVES (voice-over): The main challenge on the island is the electricity and water.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): On sunny days like today, he explains that the solar panel installation takes care of both of those things. It powers the

entire resort.

It run everything in the villas, restaurants, machines like the compost, recycling system as well as water treatment and (INAUDIBLE) stations.

KULATHUNGA (voice-over): We can save the environment and reduce the carbon dioxide. We can reduce the burning diesel.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): General manager Brad Calder has been here since the beginning.

BRAD CALDER, GENERAL MANAGER (voice-over): One thing I learned when I first came to the Maldives, if you are not selfsustainable on an island like

this, you would never maintain its natural beauty.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): And while the resort's solar installation is a start, both of them are figuring out storage is next. It is typically

expensive to purchase.

KULATHUNGA (voice-over): We can install in everywhere. But if we don't have it in the storage capacity (INAUDIBLE).

MACFARLANE (voice-over): So when wet weather lingers around for more than a couple of, days which tends to happen in the Maldives, the resort still

needs to turn to generators for several hours.


CALDER (voice-over): This has been the perfect size resort to achieve and try to do something with solar energy, where the larger resorts, the metric

technology is still not price competitive as yet.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): It is not the only resort in the Maldives running on renewable energy. But it hopes to do more in making the archipelago

greener in the future.

While that might mean a lot more work for Priyantha, for him, that is welcome news to his ears.


SOARES: Finally, French author Annie Ernaux has won the Nobel prize for literature. She's known for her work examining family, class, politics as

well as gender. The Nobel academy said they initially had some trouble tracking her down to tell her about the victory.

Just hours, later she was celebrating, saying it is a great honor as well as a great responsibility. On Friday, the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded

with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, one of the bookmakers' favorites to win.

We will bring it all to you. Don't forget, you can catch up with interviews, analysis from the show or online. Go to my Instagram, Isa

Soares or my Twitter feed. Thanks very much for your company. Stay right here. We'll be back after a very short break. I will be hosting "QUEST