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Isa Soares Tonight

Collective Grief In Thailand As Families Struggle To Come To Terms With The Senseless Massacre Which Left Dozens Dead Inside A Nursery; Ukraine Says It Has Recaptured 500 Square Kilometers In Territory In The Last Week Alone; Iran Releases Official Coroner's Report On Mahsa Amini's Death; Fighting Takes A Toll On Russia's Wagner Mercenaries; Nobel Committee's Top Honor Given To Human Rights Advocates; Niemann Not Going To Back Down Amid Cheating Allegations; Maldives Resort Tackling Food Waster. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired October 07, 2022 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, collective grief in Thailand as families

struggle to come to terms with the senseless massacre which left dozens dead inside a nursery. CNN is there at the scene. Then Ukraine says it has

recaptured 500 square kilometers in territory in the last week alone.

As authorities in the Donetsk region say they've uncovered another mass grave. Plus, Iran says Mahsa Amini was not killed by beatings in custody,

but by underlying medical conditions. We'll have more on that coming up. But first tonight, it is difficult really to grasp the magnitude of

heartbreak as well as loss.

Reeling right now in a small Thailand town that has suffered incomprehensible acts of violence. In the rural community where a disgraced

former police officer massacred 36 people including 24 children at a nursery, the grief is overwhelming. Thailand's king and queen visited with

victims' families and survivors in the past few hours, really trying to bring a small measure of comfort.

But as Anna Coren shows us, any sense of recovery or even understanding of how this could have happened are still a long way off.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Shocking disbelief here in Thailand, especially in this province of Nong Bua Lamphu

in the country's northeast, that is reeling from Thailand's worst massacre in living history. Now, most of the victims who were children were brought

to this hospital as were a handful of survivors.

Well, those survivors were today visited by the prime minister as well as the king and queen of Thailand in a very rare appearance. Well, today, we

spent time with some of the families of the victims. And a warning to our viewers, you may find some of the images you're about to see disturbing.

(voice-over): Sitting in a stifling heat under a corrugated iron roof, a mother is unable to contain her heartache and anguish. Her pain muffled by

the collective grief being felt in the province of Nong Bua Lamphu in Thailand's northeast. After a disgraced police officer went on the

country's most murderous rampage in recent history inside a daycare center.

Of the 36 victims, 24 were children. Four-year-old Dan was one of them. This happy, cheerful little boy was expecting a baby brother in a matter

of weeks. His mother, barely conscious as she sits with other grief- stricken parents and relatives who have come to register for assistance at the government relief center, just meters away from the scene of the


"I can't imagine this kind of person exists", says his grandmother. "I can't imagine a human could be this cruel to children." For this couple,

clutching each other, their loss is unfathomable. They're three-and-a-half- year-old fraternal twin boys, Weyarap(ph) and Waropon(ph), their only children were slaughtered.

Here we see them in a car with their parents just days before their future was horrifically cut short. The father now speechless, the mother still in

shock. "They were so talkative. They were at that age where they talked a lot", she explained. "They had different characters, they were so lovely."

For the emergency crews, the carnage they witnessed when they walked through the doors is a nightmare they won't ever be able to erase. "The

first thing I saw when I opened the door, I was stunned. I had to gather myself", he says. "I have never seen anything like this before."

(on camera): We are learning gruesome details about what happened at this daycare center from the first responders who were on the scene. They say

that they found the bodies of the children and teachers spread across these three rooms. And we can still see the bloodstains splattered across the

floor. They said all the bodies had knife wounds to the head.

(voice-over): One of the children had tried to protect his face when the attacker wield the knife, one responder says. He also found two children

still alive.


"The first image I saw was children covered with blood", he remembers. I was trying to transport them to the hospital, some of the kids still had a

pulse, but I don't know if they made it. Well, children's pictures in animal masks decorate the walls, the innocence of this daycare center has

been lost forever.

Bloodstains smeared throughout the classrooms, the furniture and abandoned school bags, a ghastly reminder of the horrors and evils unleashed in this

refuge for the community's youngest and most treasured.

(on camera): You know, so much grieving and suffering going on in Thailand right now, but so is a great deal of soul-searching. As Thailand tries to

come to terms with this senseless loss of life. Back to you.


SOARES: Thanks very much, Anna Coren and team there in Thailand, of course, we will stay on top of that story for you. Now, as Ukraine's

counteroffensive makes progress, they're also making grim discoveries. Ukrainian officials say they've just uncovered two mass burial sites in the

town of Lyman which, if you remember, Ukraine liberated last weekend.

They say one of the sites has about 200 single graves where civilians were buried. And Ukrainian officials are holding rescue operations in the city

of Zaporizhzhia where Russian missile strikes earlier on Thursday killed at least 14 people. Meantime, the U.S. President is warning his Russian

counterpart against using even more destructive weapons.

Mr. Biden saying there's no chance Mr. Putin could use nuclear weapons without starting Armageddon. So a lot for us to get our teeth into. Katie

Bo Lillis is in Washington D.C. for us, Fred Pleitgen joins me from Kyiv. And Fred, let me start with you this hour. Let's start talking about really

the counteroffensive.

I mean, much of the territory that has been recovered by Ukrainian forces in the last kind of 2 weeks has been quite significant, isn't it? That most

of the territories has been in the last 2 weeks. You've been in and out of Ukraine right from the beginning of this war, Fred, how do you assess these


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think they're absolutely massive gains. And I think even the Ukrainian military

to a certain degree is surprised at how fast they're making progress. And I think one of the things that really is remarkable about what the Ukrainians

are doing is that, you know, a couple of weeks ago, a couple of months ago, there were many people who were saying maybe the Ukrainians might be able

to launch a smaller counteroffensive in the south of the country.

But that would be it as far as the military capabilities are concerned. And now, the Ukrainians are once again proving everybody wrong and showing that

they can conduct large scale offensives along many of the frontlines here in this country. And of course, we know that the contact line, the

frontline between the Russians and the Ukrainians, it's extremely long.

And they've been able to do it in the north of the country near Kharkiv, they're doing it right now in the east of the country. If you look at the

strategically important town of Lyman, the Ukrainians have already pushed well beyond that and are continuing to make progress there, they say.

And then you have the south of the country which you were talking about where right now, a lot of the fighting is going on there and the Ukrainians

managed to make sweeping gains there over the past couple of days as well. And today, an official said that in total, in the south of the country, the

Ukrainians have already taken back around 2,400 square kilometers of territory.

That territory is of course very important, strategically to the Ukrainians. But it also puts the Russian forces that are on the ground

there in the Kherson area, especially into an extreme bind. Because it's very difficult for them to get out of there. They're essentially pinned

back against the river.

It also makes it very difficult for the Russians to resupply their forces, and they're increasingly getting into artillery and longer-range weapons

range of what the Ukrainians have. So, certainly, so far, what the Ukrainians have been able to accomplish especially in the last couple of

weeks is definitely a lot more than many people would have thought.

And what the Ukrainians are saying from the defense minister to President Zelenskyy is, they want to keep pushing this offensive, because of course,

they understand that right now, the Russians are also trying to mobilize a lot of people to beef up their own lines. Isa.

SOARES: Yes, a very good point. Fred, do stay with us. Let me go to Katie, and Katie, on the politics front, President Biden who I believe was

speaking at a fundraiser and was not on camera warned of the risk of a nuclear Armageddon. Just talk us through exactly, Katie, what he said and

how national security officials are reacting to this stark warning.

KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Isa, this was some pretty striking words from the president of the United States appearing to warn of a higher

nuclear threat to the world since the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s. But U.S. officials coming out publicly today and on the record saying that

the president's remarks weren't based on any new intelligence, weren't based on any new information, suggesting that the threat has actually

changed over the last, say days and weeks.

And certainly, what we have heard from U.S. Intelligence officials here speaking publicly is that they have seen no evidence that President Putin

is imminently planning to use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.


Intelligence officials have also told CNN that while it's certainly true that the threat of a use of a nuclear weapon in the context of the

Ukrainian war is certainly higher than it has been since the beginning of the conflict, largely because Putin's conventional war has gone so badly.

They still believe that that's unlikely possibility. Now, that said, U.S. officials still taking this very seriously. We do know that the U.S. has

been warning Russia against taking such a step, both publicly and privately. We know that they have intimated that there would be severe

consequences if Russia were to take that step.

We don't know exactly what those consequences would look like. President Biden in the past has said publicly that it would depend on the severity of

what Russia did. Suggesting that there would be a different response from the United States if Russia were to, for example test a tactical nuclear

weapon out of the ocean somewhere versus if he were to use one on the battlefield in Ukraine, potentially taking Ukrainian soldiers' lives,

Ukrainian civilians' lives.

But still, bottom line here, U.S. officials believe the chances that Russia is actually going to take the steps to use nuclear weapons in this context,

relatively low, but certainly higher than it has been. Isa?

SOARES: Indeed. Katie Bo Lillis and Fred Pleitgen for us in Kyiv, Ukraine, thank you very much. Well, Turkey has close relations with both Ukraine and

Russia, and has pushed for peaceful end to the war. Today, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin

on the phone.

Let's talk about that with Ibrahim Kalin; the spokesperson for Mr. Erdogan, who joins me now from Istanbul. Ibrahim, always great to have you on the

show, thanks very much for taking the time. So, let's start with that phone call between President Erdogan and President Putin. Can you shed some light

as to what was discussed or said in that call?

IBRAHIM KALIN, TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON: Well, it was a follow-up call to the last call they had just before the annexation about 7-8 days

ago when our president actually urged President Putin not to go for the annexation, because that will escalate the situation as it did in fact over

the last week or so.

And of course, we are very much concerned that there will be more violence and escalation as far as the war is concerned. Our president also spoke to

President Putin about extending the grain deal which was struck as you know with the U.N. and with Turkey's efforts in Istanbul.

And as part of that grain deal, about 6 million tons of Ukrainian grain has been sent out to different parts of the world, and we want the extension of

that deal. We spoke to the Ukrainian side, they're positive about it. We are talking to the Russians, they have some concerns about sending their

own crop and ammonia and fertilizers, they had a deal with the U.N., so they're trying to work out some of the details.

So these were some of the issues, but basically, our president's message has been throughout this process to President Putin and Ukraine and others

as well, is that as bad as the war, it is -- and of course, we don't agree with any aspect of this war. Its illegal annexation was illegal and we

denounced it. We have to find a way for diplomacy even under the most adverse circumstances.

SOARES: I mean, just to clarify, that President Erdogan did denounce the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions into Russia, which of course is in

defiance with international law. Just we're checking that.

KALIN: Yes, of course. That's our principled position since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea, and our position has not changed in regards to the

four regions that were annexed last week.

SOARES: So, Ibrahim, talk to us then about kind of really what you were just saying now there. That kind of diplomatic effort by Turkey to put an

end to this war. Where are we on the negotiation front?

KALIN: Well, there's no negotiation going on at the moment, because of the annexation. That's kind of expected. I had a meeting with my colleagues,

Jake Sullivan, the U.S. National Security adviser and Andria(ph), aide to President Zelenskyy in Istanbul last week. And we spoke about this, of

course, we fully understand the Ukrainians are fully entitled to defend their land, of course, they will not concede any of their land as part of

any deal.

That's quite understandable. But we still have to find a way to, you know, advance talks, because the war will continue, unfortunately. It looks like

-- it looks almost inevitable it will continue for some time. But we will come back to the negotiating table. The question is, when we will come back

to it and how much damage will have been done by then? I mean, you look at the --

SOARES: Yes --

KALIN: Last eight months, I mean, unfortunately, you know, the war is still going on, and more Ukrainian lands have been lost. But the

negotiations, you know, still need to -- I have to -- I want to make a larger point if you'll allow me here.

SOARES: Go ahead. Go ahead.

KALIN: My understanding -- our understanding is that Mr. Putin wants to have a new grand bargain new deal with the West.


It's partly about Ukraine, no doubt. But the larger issue is really a new deal between Russia and the western world. The deal that was put together

after the end of the cold war. In the early 1990s, especially the BEKIRS(ph) agreement of 1997. The Russian perception of that is that, the

Russia of the day, of that day, that signed that agreement, that is the Russia of the Gorbachevs and the Yeltsins is over.

There's a new Russia. There's a new world. There's new reality, and they want to have a new bargain. This puts, of course, the entire global order,

liberal order to a test, a big test at the moment. So far, the response has been war from both sides. I fully understand, you know, the logic and the

emotions behind this.

But the more war will mean more deaths, more destruction, and perhaps, you know, going into some very dangerous areas as U.S. President pointed out

today, Armageddon and the nuclear warfare. I mean, these are not impossible when you consider the high stakes in this war. You know, we are concerned,

of course, that you know, a prolonged war will create not only more conflict and death, but also, it will affect, you know, energy prices, the

commodity prices and many other things.

The impact -- the impact is global, and will have to be and will continue to be global. Therefore, we are doing our best to bring the parties

together again to the negotiating table. We fully understand neither side is ready to do it right now because --

SOARES: Yes --

KALIN: The annexation just happened. But we still have to try harder. And this is the message we are giving to our western friends also, they should

be supporting, you know, efforts to bring an end to this war. The Ukrainian side of course, as I said is fully --

SOARES: Yes --

KALIN: Entitled to demand its lands back, that should be part of the agreement because you know, any deal will have to be based on international

law and the sovereignty --

SOARES: Yes, Ibrahim --

KALIN: And territorial -- Ukraine.

SOARES: But on that point that you were making, I mean, let me flash it out if I may. Your point that what is President Putin, what is Russia

wanting to bring to the table? Because -- and how do you see negotiations? Just clarify for our viewers around the world what exactly he thinks,

whether he thinks he's got a stronger hand at the negotiating table, I don't know, following his annexations --

KALIN: Yes --

SOARES: And everything that's happened in the last seven months, it's questionable. But explain to us what Putin is looking for right now.

KALIN: There are two levels to this -- to this war. One is what's happening on the Ukrainian lands, Ukrainian territories, which is

completely unacceptable. You know, loss of life, deaths, annexation, occupation, that's against international law and that is not acceptable. We

have to find a way to stop this.

The other level is the geopolitical muscling, if you like. And this has been going on for some time, it's not new. It began in fact, back in 2009

with the Georgian war, when NATO was trying to get Georgia into NATO, and we had the first clash there. And then we had the annexation of Crimea, and

then we had red lines in Syria, remember.

You know, the Obama administration put some red lines against Assad's regime, and then Iran and Russia saw that there was going to be no action,

just talk, you know, they took action, changed the entire Syrian equation. In fact, when the Syrian Assad regime was about to collapse, it changed the

whole thing.

And then Libya and a number of other things. So, other level of conflict is more geopolitical. And that's where -- again, in the short-run of course,

we have to find a way to get Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. All those principles based on international law. The other

one, the larger geopolitical battle requires a different type of thinking.

A more strategic look at where the world is. What kind of a power equilibrium on a global scale will be established, so that countries like

Russia, China, western countries and others, other rising powers will all feel secure within the new system that will be established with the

contributions of all countries.

This is something for the next couple of decades. I'm not suggesting --

SOARES: Yes --

KALIN: That this is something that -- done quickly. But we have to start thinking about this if you're going to bring an end to this war and prevent

any kind of nuclear war or some kind of that kind of a situation.

SOARES: I mean, it will be interesting to see how the negotiations, the diplomatic negotiations, how they pan out. What Turkey can do here because

of course, as you know, Ibrahim, President Zelenskyy has signed a decree formally ruling out the possibility of negotiations with Putin. So, I know,

as soon as you have more details for us, you will let us know, Ibrahim.

I always appreciate you taking the time to come on the show. Ibrahim Kalin, thank you, sir.

KALIN: My pleasure.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, private mercenaries, battlefield losses and lone road(ph). We'll have an exclusive report on Putin's private army.

That's just ahead. And after weeks of protests triggered by the death of a young woman in police custody, Iran releases an official coroner's report.

That is next.


SOARES: Now, she was arrested for so-called inappropriate attire, three days later, she was dead. Now, after weeks of protests, Iran says Mahsa

Amini was not killed by beatings in custody, but by underlying medical condition. Her family says the 22-year-old had bruises on her body and says

doctors told them she suffered head trauma. Amini's death had triggered of course, as you've seen the biggest wave of nationwide protests to rock Iran

in years.





SOARES: And these scenes almost unthinkable. Not long ago, women burning their head scarves in Tehran, chanting death to Khamenei. Let's bring in

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh for more. She's live for us tonight in Istanbul. And Jomana, what has been the reaction first of all from Iran and from your

sources on the ground to that medical report on Mahsa Amini's death?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, Isa, I don't think anyone is surprised by this --

SOARES: Yes --

KARADSHEH: Report. I mean, from day one, pretty much, the government came out and said that she had heart failure, and they blamed this on this

underlying medical condition. What we have today is a longer report essentially, and I have to look at my notes because they used a lot of

medical terms here.

But what they say is that, this was all caused by this underlying medical condition that she had that was caused by a brain tumor surgery she had as

a child. So they say when she was in custody, when she collapsed in that detention center, they say she had heart rhythm issues, blood pressure

dropping, that led to heart failure, she had hypoxia that caused brain damage.

And basically, they say because of that medical condition she had, she couldn't pull out of it, and whatever support she was given at hospital,

that didn't work. What we know, Isa, from her family, from the start, they have said, they've accused the government of lying. They say she was a

healthy 22-year-old. She never had any underlying medical conditions.

She never had brain tumor surgery. And I remember a couple of weeks ago, I spoke to her cousin who basically said, look, why did the government only

released and edited two minute CCTV video of Mahsa Amini in that detention center?


Why not release all the video? Is there any body-cam footage? Is there any footage from inside the van where the family says she was basically beaten

up as she was pushed into that police van. They really had no faith in the government being able to deliver any sort of a credible investigation into

her death.

And now three weeks after Mahsa Amini's death, you have two more young women who are dead, and the government now says it's investigating those




KARADSHEH (voice-over): With a cheerful salam or hello, Sarina Esmaeilzadeh welcome people into what she called my whole universe. The

video diaries of a 16-year-old. She could be any teenage girl anywhere in the world. Goofing around, dancing, singing, just having fun. But this

isn't anywhere in the world, this is the Islamic Republic of Iran where life's expressions are anything but free.


KARADSHEH: Three months after that video, Sarina joined the thousands of Iranian women and girls rising up for their liberties, demanding their

rights. Sarina was forever silenced on September 23rd. Amnesty International says based on information it has, security forces beat her,

striking her on the head with batons, severely beating her to death.


KARADSHEH: Iranian judicial authorities denied she was killed. They say Sarina died by suicide, jumping from the roof of her grandmother's home.

Their claim, just days after they said another 16-year-old protester, Nika Shakarami(ph) who was found dead in Tehran also died after falling from a


Arrests have been made in the investigation of her death. Family members of both girls have appeared on Iranian state media repeating the government's

claim. The U.N. Human Rights office told CNN, they received reports authorities forced Shakarami's(ph) family to give the interview.

Amnesty International says families of victims are being intimidated and harassed into silence. This comes three weeks after the death of Mahsa Jina

Amini while in the custody of the so-called morality police. On Friday, the government's forensic report blamed the death of the 22-year-old on an

underlying medical condition after the operation of her brain tumor as a child.

Amini's family repeatedly denied those claims. They say she was healthy. It was police brutality that killed her. They say doctors told them, she

suffered trauma to the head.

Anger over Amini's death sparked women's uprising like no other in Iran. Too many lives already lost in this battle for freedom, for change.


KARADSHEH: Many young lives ended too soon.


SOARES: And I think we've lost Jomana's signal there. Apologies. But the report really just shows you how incredibly strong and defiant the women's

protests there, women-led movement has been in Iran.

Of course, we'll stay on top of that story for you in the next couple of days. Still to come though tonight, the newest winners of one of humanity's

most coveted accolades, the Nobel Peace Prize, what this year's recipients have done for human rights as well as democracy.

And the scandal rocking the chess world. We'll look at why a wide-respected grandmaster is accusing a young rival of cheating. That's up next.




SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Russian troops are suffering heavy losses in Ukraine. And even President Putin's so-called private army is feeling

the strain. The Wagner group mercenary force was deployed at the start of the warfare remember intended to secure a quick victory for the Kremlin.

But as Melissa Bell found out, the war is taking a toll on Wagner's ranks as well as morale. And a warning, some of the images in this report are



MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The chaos of Ukraine's front lines through the eyes of a Wagner mercenary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Legs, guts, arms -- boys it's almost dark.

BELL: A video shared exclusively with CNN by a member of Vladimir Putin so- called private army. One of those have seen enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm sorry, bro. I'm sorry.

BELL: A far cry from the slick propaganda used by Wagner to entice recruits to the depleted Russian frontlines. Long kept in the shadows by Moscow, the

elite paramilitary group or the musicians as they call themselves, now lionized for their role in Russia's springtime victories, like the

surrender of Azovstal, or the full of Mariupol. The mercenaries experience initially making all the difference to Moscow according to this former

Wagner commander.

MARAT GABIDULLIN, FORMER WAGNER MERCENARY (through translator): Without their active assistance, the Russian armed forces would not have been able

to move forward at all.

BELL: The Kremlin didn't respond to our request for comment, but a month- long CNN investigation has found what the war has cost Moscow's elite fighting force, its men, its confidence, and its alure. Marat Gabidullin

says Wagner fighters are paid $5,000 a month to do the work regular Russian soldiers can't or won't.

GABIDULLIN: There is not enough motivation, only money. Russian peace for the American dollars.

BELL: Through their telegram channels and through intercepts, Ukrainian intelligence keeps a watchful eye.

Moral within Wagner is low says Andre Yusoff (PH). It wasn't designed to participate in a full-scale war.

GABIDULLIN (through translator): They are dissatisfied with the overall organization of the fighting, the inability to make competent decisions to

organize battles. And of course, this means losses.

BELL: This video shared with CNN by Ukraine's Defense Ministry shows a mercenary desperately asking why there is no body armor for them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There are no more flak jackets, no more helmets either.


BELL: Of the estimated 5000 Wagner mercenaries sent to Ukraine, 1500 have been killed according to intelligence sources in Kyiv. In Russia, that's

meant recruitment drives, from front pages to billboards. The W orchestra is waiting for you says this one with a number to call and no experience

needed. A recruiter telling CNN through WhatsApp that barring thuggery, terrorism, and sexual impropriety, all criminal convictions are negotiable.

A man who appears to be the founder of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, personally offering clemency to prisoners for six months of military

service. The illusive oligarch no longer denying ties to the group that the war in Ukraine has both exposed and transformed.

YURIY BELOUSOV, WAR CRIMES PROSECUTOR, UKRAINE: They really shows that these guys are in trouble so they really don't have people. They're ready

to send anyone. There's no criteria for professionalism anymore.

BELL: And that could mean more possible war crimes, especially on the retreat. This video shared with CNN by a Wagner soldier appears to show

mercenaries lining up the bodies of dead Ukrainian soldiers. In a chilling conversation, they debate whether to booby trap them, or shoot those who

come to retrieve them before realizing that they're out of ammunition. Melissa Bell, CNN Kyiv.


SOARES: Well, in light of Russia's unprovoked war in Ukraine, this year's Nobel Peace Prize announcement has been closely watched. And now, we know

the winners. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the honor to human rights advocates from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. They include the

Ukrainian organization Center for Civil Liberties, the Russian organization Memorial, and the jailed Belarusian advocate Ales Bialiatski

The committee is saying, "Together these laureates demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy. Our Nina dos Santos

has more on this year's recipients.



NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR (voiceover): It's the ultimate prize for promoting peace shared in this time of war by three winners. Norway handed

its highest accolade to human rights campaigners from Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia for documenting war crimes on Europe's eastern flank besieged by

increasing autocracy and aggression.

Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski founded the body Viasna in 1996 after the then-new President Alexander Lukashenko crackdown on protests.

Bialiatski who just turned 60 has been held in pretrial detention without a hearing since 2020 amid further unrest prompted by Lukashenko's disputed

reelection two years ago.

REISS-ANDERSEN: Despite tremendous personal hardship, Mr. Bialiatski has not yielded one inch.

DOS SANTOS: Ukraine's Center for Civil Liberties has been documenting war crimes since 2007. Its efforts all the more crucial now more than seven

months after Russia's invasion began where civilians have been targeted, along with the discovery of mass graves in Bucha and Irpin.

Reacting to the news of their win, the group called the prize a recognition of the work of many human rights activists in and outside of their country.


particularly at such a level, it is a motivation to do even more, take up new important initiatives, important projects, so that there is peace in

our country, freedom, and democracy.

DOS SANTOS: Founded in 1987 as communism crumbled, for over three decades, Russia's Memorial has meticulously documented the horrors of Soviet times,

from Joseph Stalin's murderous purges to political persecution and of Vladimir Putin. That was until it t0o fell foul of the state and was shut

down by Russia Supreme Court last year.

The Nobel Committee announcing the award on Putin's 70th birthday, said that they wanted to ensure Memorial's work was never forgotten.

REISS-ANDERSEN: Confronting past crimes is essential in preventing new ones. The organization has also been standing at the forefront of efforts

to combat militarism and promote human rights.

DOS SANTOS: This year's winners were selected from among 343 candidates, the second highest number of entries ever, after 2016 is record 376. As

always, the award acknowledges the political backdrop of the time offering an acknowledgment of the perennial struggle the people's rights to

democracy and dignity. Values now starkly under threat in today's uncertain world.

Nina dos Santos CNN in London.



SOARES: And new just coming into CNN from the United States. The school district in Uvalde, Texas says it's suspending its entire school police

force in the wake of the massacre in May that led 19 children and two teachers dead. It is also suspending to school officials. The report cites

recent developments that uncovered new concerns about how the school police department operated. The police response to the shooting has come under

considerable criticism as details have emerged about the tragedy.

Earlier this week, the school district announced that it was terminated the position of the newly hired officer after a CNN report revealed that she

was one of the State Troopers under investigation for our actions on that day.

You are watching the CNN. Still to come tonight, a damning investigation, accusations of cheating, and fierce denials. We'll take a look at the

controversy shaking the chess world. That is next.


SOARES: The chess grandmaster accused of widespread cheating says he's "not going to back down." Hans Niemann likely cheated in more than 100 online

matches. And that is according to an investigation published Tuesday by popular online platform And last week, his rival Magnus Carlsen

accuse Niemann of cheating in over-the-board in-person games.

Niemann, despite admitting cheating in two online games when he was younger, fervently denies the accusations which are shaking really the

foundations of the chess world.

I want to bring in chess grandmaster Susan Polgar who knows Carlsen personally. And she joins me now. Susan, great to have you on the show. I

can tell you that my colleagues, my team, we've all been talking about this scandal this whole week. So, hopefully, you can bring some clarity to this.

Now, from what we understand, you know Magnus Carlsen personally. Have you spoken to him, Susan, about these cheating claims?

SUSAN POLGAR, CHESS GRANDMASTER: Actually, I have known Magnus practically half his life as well as his family and I have not spoken to him regarding

this issue lately. But you know, obviously he's been very careful what he's willing to say. He's been making hints. He's been making allegations but

not exactly saying that Niemann was cheating against him over the board.

So, the facts so far only are, as Niemann admitted himself, that in the past couple times he have cheated online. But he has not been admitting to

any kind of cheating over the board. Neither he has improved the (INAUDIBLE) so far.


SOARES: Well, this investigation, Susan, I mean, into Niemann by, as we were saying, says that he cheated -- more than likely cheated in more

than 100 online matches. Just explain to our viewers around the world how he could have cheated online.

POLGAR: Well, unfortunately, online, it's not terribly difficult because the chess engines that is available to anybody, even just on a simple

smartphone, they can defeat even the best humans like Magnus Carlsen by ease. You don't even have to be a grandmaster but even an amateur player

can do that. So, the engines are so powerful, the chess engines, that if especially if they have another person helping and holding a phone and

giving signals is not terribly difficult, especially given that a chess grandmaster does not need the help of an engine every move. Only a couple

of move a couple of times in critical moments, will do the job. So, on online, it's not terribly difficult when somebody is in a comfort of their

own home.

SOARES: Right, yes, in his own home, it's slightly harder to prevent any sort of cheating from happening. But he admitted -- he admitted to cheating

when he was 12, I believe, and he was 16. Carlsen, like you said and what we've been saying, admitted that he's cheated more recently. Do you think

Carlsen has evidence of this other than feeling that the game was different?

POLGAR: I cannot talk for Magnus Carlsen, obviously. He -- I have a feeling he knows more than I do. But, as you said, came out with this 72-

page report where they claim that Niemann cheated in at least over 100 times online. And I have talked to Danny Ranch who is has been for many

years the chief chess officer of, and he feels very confident over the years ago when I spoke to him that whenever they say that somebody

has cheated, they are willing and ready to defend their position in any court of law.

SOARES: I mean, what is interesting is, you know, having read through the report, you know, the report basically says -- and I think is we've got a

little graphic here, Hans likely cheated online much more than his public statements suggests. However, our view, there is a lack of concrete

statistical evidence that he cheated in his game with Magnus or in any other over-the-board, in-person games.

I mean, if was not certain that Hans cheated, why did they revoke his invitation to the global championship. Just put really this kind of

crisis this moment into context for us.

POLGAR: Well, we can mix online with over-the-board because events are online. So, they have proof, they claim, that Niemann did cheat

online but -- so, it has nothing to do with the over-the-board events. And does events online, not over the board.

SOARES: And what impact this has had on the chess world very briefly, Susan.

POLGAR: Well, obviously, temporarily, it's somewhat of a negative image, but I'm hoping that solutions will be found for anti-cheating measures. And

at the end of the day, it will help put just in the mainstream highlight -- limelight and everything will be good in the long term.

SOARES: I have a feeling there's more to come on this story. Susan Polgar, great to have you on the show. I really appreciate it.

POLGAR: My pleasure.

SOARES: Well, I was fortunate enough to sit down with Norwegian chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen back in 2016 who explained that the game isn't

always as black and white as it seemed -- might seem. From the first moves, it requires a psychological strategy to get to checkmate.


SOARES: So, when you play, when you make a move -- and I know you probably -- if I make any sort of wrong move, how do you --

MAGNUS CARLSEN, CHESS GRANDMASTER: Now, that's a -- that's a decent move.

SOARES: -- I mean, you -- OK, thank you. When you're making a move, are you already thinking four moves on? Is this -- is this also about strategy


CARLSEN: Yes --no -- I mean, you always have to think ahead. Sometimes you can think very far ahead.

SOARES: How much further ahead?

CARLSEN: I mean, at this point, I couldn't think so many moves ahead because I know that what your -- I probably know what your next two moves

are going to be.

SOARES: Right. At this early stage?



CARLSEN: But not more than that.



SOARES: Pretty genius that guy, really fascinating conversation with him back in 2016. We'll have much more news after this short break. Do stay

right here.


SOARES: For all this week, our Journey Matters Series is taking you to the Maldives, a country vulnerable to the impact of climate change. And one

resort is doing what it can to reduce its carbon footprint working to create greener menus to help minimize waste. Our Christina Macfarlane has

more for you.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN ANCHOR (voiceover): Maldivian weather is unpredictable were told. On this day, rain is in the forecast. It doesn't

make it any less beautiful. A 45-minute boat ride from the capital in Male, we're on route north to the four manmade Fari Islands, and one of them is

the luxury resort Patina Maldives.

Abdulla Rifzan is a junior sous chef who works at Patinas restaurant ROOTS. He hopes his work will change menus and minds. His restaurant is pushing a

plant-based concept using ingredients from the resorts organic garden, finding ways to minimize food waste and reduce its carbon footprint. Rifzan

was trained in French cuisine so learning to make vegan food was a challenge. But as a Maldivian it was important from an environmental


ABDULLA RIFZAN, JUNIOR SOUS-CHIEF, ROOTS RESTAURANT: They are looking for a sustainability way to introduce our cuisines to the guests. It's really

important from our side.

MACFARLANE: ROOTS is one of 12 restaurants in the Patina Maldives, the others may not be quite so eco-friendly, but for the head of culinary, it's

about creating options for visitors.

JOHN BAKKER, HEAD OF CULINARY PATINA MALDIVES: They're never going to worry about sun and sand and sea and nice villas, but they worry about what are

we going to eat. And to have this breadth of diversity makes it an optimal choice for guests.

MACFARLANE: Even so, he says, they're looking to take steps to be more sustainable.

BAKKER: How we source things is incredibly important. Which suppliers we nominate, what we import into the Maldives is optimally important. And then

on the other side, after we have things on the island, minimizing our own waste, minimizing overproduction or things like that.

MACFARLANE: A more plant-based dining isn't new to the Maldives. Patina hopes to make the ROOTS restaurant a mainstay for guests.

RIFZAN: It's really important to control the sustainability at the same level to keep the place the way how it is. You know, it will help to the --

our next generations to correct things, you know, to keep the standard.



SOARES: That looks delicious. It makes me very hungry. And finally, tonight, an announcement that many music fans had been anxiously awaiting,

which city will host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. And just minutes ago, it was announced on the BBC that Liverpool beat Glasgow for the

coveted spot.

20 U.K. locations initially offered to host before it was narrowed down to those two cities. The Fame music show is being staged in the U.K. after the

initial winner, of course, Ukraine was unable to host because of the war.

And that does it for me for tonight. Thanks very much. Don't forget you can catch up with interviews and all the analysis from the show online on my

Instagram @IsaSoaresCNN, as well as on my Twitter feed. Details are right there on your screen. Thanks very much for your company. I shall see you

next week. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next. Have a wonderful week. Bye bye.