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Isa Soares Tonight
Ukrainian Cities Suffer Blackouts; French Protesters Take To Streets Over Pay; Underground Hospitals Spring Up In Iran As Protests Still Continue; Iranian Women Take Up Arms In Iraqi Kurdistan; U.S. Tells Venezuelan Migrants They Will Be Sent To Mexico; Road To COP27. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired October 18, 2022 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Ukrainian cities plunged into darkness
as Russia targets energy infrastructure. I speak to President Zelenskyy's adviser about how his country is coping. Then taking to the streets. French
protesters demand higher pay as inflation takes its toll.
And when hospitals become a threat. How an underground network of doctors is saving protesters in Iran. But first, tonight, Ukraine's president says
Russia has destroyed 30 percent of the country's power stations in the past eight days. That's causing massive blackouts right across the country.
Now many Ukrainians are facing cold, dark nights without heat or even light. Russia confirms it launched more high precision strikes on Ukraine's
energy infrastructure on Tuesday. And those attacks killed at least three people in Kyiv. The city's mayor is pleading for people to conserve
electricity as well as water.
U.N. officials meanwhile say blackouts and the utter devastation of Russia's war will make for a miserable, deadly Winter in Ukraine. Nic
Robertson joins me now live from Kyiv. And Nic, just how critical is the situation right now across Ukraine following this almost daily -- I think
it's fair to say, drone attacks on energy infrastructure there?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, well, Ukraine's energy workers say that they are able to repair most of the damage within
about 48 hours. But we know that Russia knows the exact sort of layout inside these power plants. They're not just sort of looking at satellite
images of power plants and wondering whereabouts is the sort of the most vital and critical and expensive equipment and the best for us to damage.
You know, these power-generating stations were pretty much made, you know, at the time of the Soviet Union. And I was looking at a video, one of
Dnipro -- in Dnipro today that was -- that was hit today, cut and paste that with one in Moscow, very close to our Moscow office. So the Russians
know just precisely where to target them.
And this gets to your question, Isa, how deep is this problem for Ukraine? Because if you're going to continue to repair at the attrition rate, and
this is a war of attrition on the power supplies that Russia is mounting here. And the attrition rate that Russia is creating, you've got to have
the spares to be able to do it, and of course, the manpower to do it.
And if Russia knows which bets the target and is managing to hit, the president says 30 percent. Then if they -- if they don't have these big
generators and these big spare parts that they're going to need readily to hand, this is going to be an offensive that Russia can steadily over time
really turn off the lights in this country, and the heat coming into Winter. So it is critical.
But we have heard in the last few hours, from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, that NATO is going to send in hundreds of jammers specifically
to defeat the threat coming from drones. But of course, the power station that was hit in Kyiv today? That was hit by, you know, conventional
missiles. So Ukraine really needs those air defense systems as well.
SOARES: And it's clear from what you've really set out, Nic, that this is inflicting havoc really right across Ukraine cities that, like Kyiv, that
for many months now has been relatively quiet. What impact, Nic, does this have on the frontlines? The frontlines that you and I have been discussing
day in, day out in the east and in the south?
ROBERTSON: Yes, I think there's a big clue here. You know, I used the word attrition of the power supplies to try and turn off the lights in Ukraine.
And we often think about a war of attrition as being the attrition of, you know, the forces in the frontlines, killing each other, you know, attrition
of weapon systems.
Putin is losing on the battlefield, pretty much right across the board, not entirely, but pretty much. So the offensive on the cities here and on the
power, is not impacting that frontline offensive per se.
The frontline, as best we know around Kherson in the south, which is perhaps the easiest large chunk for the Ukrainian forces to take because it
is west of the big Dnipro River there -- Dnieper River, and that's important because it's easier for Ukraine to isolate and cut off, and
that's what it's been doing.
And we understand that over the past few days, Russia has been telling citizens there, Ukrainians living in that area that they need to evacuate
the area, which perhaps gives an indication that Russia thinks it's going to lose that territory or perhaps, it just feels, let's get these Ukrainian
citizens into Russia, and they essentially become a type of hostage for us.
Because we've got a bunch of Ukrainian citizens more than we had before. But it does seem to indicate that Russia is expecting to potentially lose
more ground there.
SOARES: Yes, and this is something that we have seen in the last few months, and some would say perhaps, that's where we're seeing different
tactics now with these kamikaze drones across Ukraine, definitely economic exhaustion, perhaps hoping to Inflict on Ukraine. Nic, really appreciate
it, Nic Robertson there for us in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Now, I want to discuss these attacks on Ukraine's infrastructure that Nic was talking about. Tymofiy Mylovanov is an adviser to Ukrainian President
Volodymyr Zelenskyy and a president of the Kyiv School of Economics. Tymofiy, great to have you back on the show. On the energy attacks that Nic
was just talking about there, on energy infrastructure. Can you tell us right now how many cities are without power?
TYMOFIY MYLOVANOV, PRESIDENT, KYIV SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Several large cities, but they're not fully without power. Even Kyiv, today, this morning
and during the day, a couple of areas we are closer to the power plant which was hit.
A couple of areas were down, but I am, you know, right now with you from Kyiv, and there's light in my apartment. So our -- apparently, our workers,
our repair workers, crews can restore the power plant, so at least, they can access the other(ph) sources of energy quite fast.
SOARES: Yes, you're saying quite fast. How quickly are we talking about? I mean, President Zelenskyy saying 30 percent in the last week or so, the
last 8 days or so. If Russia continues to up the ante with these kamikaze drones, how quickly can Ukraine restore this infrastructure, this critical
MYLOVANOV: It depends on what's being hit. It's a power line or connector? Then it's relatively quick, but still can take a couple of hours. But
again, if it's going to be Winter and the temperature is going to be freezing, then a couple of hours might be very -- might feel very
SOARES: Yes --
MYLOVANOV: If it's something more serious like a large transformer station, or even a power-generating -- just the engine, that might be even
non-replaceable. So, for now, we rely on the backup stations, we have backup capacity, but how deep it goes, well, we'll find out.
SOARES: And Tymofiy, look, let's -- help us understand really how you view this. Is this Putin trying to plunge Ukraine into a dark Winter? Do you
think this is his strategy?
MYLOVANOV: I think their strategy is basically terror. They're trying to put people in a psychological condition that, you know, people say that's
enough, let's go and surrender and negotiate, so that stops, you know. And I think they've been successful, at least, domestically, in Russia to do
that, but it doesn't work with Ukraine.
We also know that from other historic experience, if the country is winning on the frontlines, it's unlikely that, you know, razing cities to the
ground will force a surrender. In fact, it just boosts the morale. So, I don't think it's going to be successful, but I think their style -- tactic
is completely misguided, and in fact, it's a war crime.
SOARES: It's misguided. It's a war crime, and the resolve from the Ukrainians as you said is very much still there. But what are you telling
the population? Is the population preparing for a tough Winter? What advice are you giving out to Ukrainians?
MYLOVANOV: Yes, everyone around me, everyone I know, is preparing. You know, people are trying to find houses, make them insulated. You know, some
people are investing in the centralization of electricity grid. For example, I myself, thinking about buying a battery which can sustain me in
my apartment for several days.
And it's all available on the market. It's amazing. You know, over the last two weekends, we've been shopping to ensure that even if Kyiv goes dark, we
have plan A, plan B, and plan C, and the equipment is there. I'm not sure everyone can afford it. That's what my --
SOARES: Yes --
MYLOVANOV: Main concern is.
SOARES: Yes, of course. That might not be something that everyone can afford, but clearly, like you say Tymofiy, everyone is preparing. Let me
ask you about these drones, these kamikaze drones, of course, that we have seen now hitting different parts of Ukraine. Iran is being accused of
providing these, they deny it.
"Washington Post" is reporting that Iran is poised to send Moscow additional short-range ballistic missiles. I know Ukraine is calling for
more sanctions. Do you think though this will stop Iran? Because the country is already so heavily-sanctioned here.
MYLOVANOV: Yes, I don't think the sanctions will work as the main source or main reason to stop. It can only be a complimentary force. I think what
Ukraine really needs is air defense, and it has to build up its air defenses quickly as it can. These drones are vulnerable.
Yesterday, a police officer, actually, two of them just shut down one of them, and out of 40 drones which were launched yesterday, I think about 30
have been shut down. So, it's possible to shut them down. We just need to step up the air defense and we need help with that.
SOARES: On the stepping up of air defenses, Tymofiy, how quickly are you being told that these systems are coming in? I believe I think it was last
week, Germany saying two or three, what are you hearing from the U.S. side here?
MYLOVANOV: Yes, we're hearing it's going to come in a week two-three, but again, you know, we have been hearing it early too, and I think that the
case with support of Ukraine is always a little bit, you know, short and late. We appreciate all the help which is -- we are getting. But I will
also want people to understand that every time something is delayed because of political or bureaucratic reasons, we here in Ukraine pay with lives
SOARES: Yes, indeed. And briefly, just before you leave, we've been talking of course about the drones in the sky. Let's go to the frontlines.
I was talking to our correspondent there, Nic Robertson, where are we on the counteroffensive in the east and in the south?
MYLOVANOV: Steady progresses, gradual, incremental, not as dramatic as large or significant as it was with the battle of Kharkiv. But at least in
the south, there is steady progress daily.
SOARES: Wonderful. Tymofiy, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us live there from Kyiv in Ukraine. Now, Russia's invasion has also
triggered an energy crisis right across Europe. One that has been exacerbated by leaks in the Nord Stream pipelines, if you remember.
Now, Danish police say the damage was quote, "caused by powerful explosions". These new underwater images you're seeing there, show gaping
holes in Nord Stream One which western leaders have called an act of sabotage. With Winter approaching, the EU is wrapping up efforts to ensure
Europe's energy supply is safe whilst attempting of course, to tackle the rising costs. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: We know that Europe's energy demand is very large. So, it is logical that instead of
outbidding each other, the member states and the energy companies should leverage their joint purchasing power. And for that, we propose today legal
tools for pooling energy demand at European level.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: However, the bloc is steering clear over the cap on gas prices as countries remain split over the idea. Clare Sebastian joining me now to
discuss this in more detail. And Clare, let's talk about really what we heard from Ursula von der Leyen, this energy union. How exactly is this
going to work?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so there's a number of different proposals they're setting out. This joint purchasing plan would be a really
big rethink essentially of how the energy market works. Right now, gases bought by companies --
SOARES: Yes --
SEBASTIAN: This would bring in a sort of third-party service provider who would pull the demand from European countries and then go to the market to
try to secure a price for everyone. So, that's a big rethink. And the EU is proposing making it mandatory four countries to use this system to fill up
to 15 percent of their storage.
So they wouldn't necessarily have to buy all their gas through this system. But they would have to use it for some of it. So that is -- that would be a
big deal. Now, these proposals are not binding yet. They would still have to be agreed by member states. There are other things like sharing gas,
they want to make that mandatory in the event of an emergency, and of course, continuing with the whole idea of demand reduction which they
announced over the Summer --
SOARES: And how quickly -- I know this hasn't been -- you know, hasn't improved. But how quickly do you think they can -- this can be set up?
SEBASTIAN: There is a lead -- there's a leaders' summit at the end of the week, it's unlikely we're going to get a full agreement, then they're
certainly, they're going to be pushing for that -- but consensus is the big issue still.
SOARES: Yes --
SEBASTIAN: There's still a lot of disagreement between countries. For example, we had a Slovenian official going into the meeting today, saying
we want a gas price cap now, so they won't be happy about the fact that it was delayed. Meanwhile, Germany has been very opposed to the idea --
SOARES: Yes --
SEBASTIAN: Of a gas price cap, because they think that would simply drive suppliers elsewhere. So, I think coming to some agreement on this is still
going to be difficult, even though the EU is signaling that in the face of Russia's pressure, it wants to stick together and continue to diversify.
SOARES: Where are we on storage though, in Europe? I mean, how prepared is Europe? I mean, today, we were hearing about potential blackouts here --
SEBASTIAN: Yes --
SOARES: In the U.K. So how is the U.K. -- how is Europe ready for this?
SEBASTIAN: So --
SOARES: Preparing for this --
SEBASTIAN: Yes, Europe --
SOARES: As well?
SEBASTIAN: Europe has filled its storage way ahead of its target. It's --
SOARES: Yes --
SEBASTIAN: Now at 92 percent. The target set back in June was for 80 percent by November 1st --
SOARES: Yes --
SEBASTIAN: Germany is at 96 percent.
But there are still warning that there could be a crisis this Winter, especially if Winter is very cold. Don't forget. They don't just use the
storage over Winter, you still have to import gas, and obviously Nord Stream, I think those pictures make it very --
SOARES: Yes --
SEBASTIAN: Clear is not -- that was the biggest single lottery from Russia is not going to come back online this Winter. And of course, here in the
U.K., we have a warning from the head of the national grid, the electricity provider saying that, well, here, she just put a time of day on a warning
they put out earlier this month, saying we could get rolling blackouts during really cold Winter evenings between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
That is still not the best-case scenario. They're saying that it's under an extreme worst-case scenario. But the fact that they're putting a sort of
time of day on it starts to really bring at home just how much they're preparing for this.
SOARES: I think it really rattles people when you --
SEBASTIAN: Yes --
SOARES: Put a timeline, makes them think that perhaps this will happen, but at least, they're looking at all the scenarios --
SEBASTIAN: Yes --
SOARES: Clare Sebastian, really appreciate it, thanks Clare. Well, in Paris, several thousand people turned out to protest as inflation continues
to take its toll on energy prices as well as food. Unions called for a nationwide strike and a push for higher salaries. Workers in several oil
refineries have been on strike for weeks. They have yet to reach a deal with the French government. It is causing fuel disruptions across the
country. Our Melissa Bell is in Paris for us.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The context of this is that for the last few weeks here in France, there have been huge queues at the
petrol station, refinery workers going on strike, first of all, because they say they want to have better wages to face the inflation that is so
bad they say here in France.
But also because they want more profit-sharing from the energy companies. As a result of the profits they've made these last few weeks. In the
context of that, you have this strike that was called today as you say by transport unions, but also some public sector workers, and what they've
done is they've had a march as well.
The traffic wasn't that crippled in France. It was a lot of traffic, a lot of trains were able to run, but it is more this. A large demonstration on
the streets of Paris. There had been one, Sunday, again against inflation and the high cost of living and low salaries. But they haven't thought as
many people out of the streets as they've managed to, today.
Here in -- we're riding in Nia Avalid(ph) which is the end point of the demonstration of the march. And it's really been remarkably well attended.
We hadn't seen these kinds of figures on the streets of Paris in a couple of years. Of course, COVID has made it impossible. There had been some
protests about the restrictions.
But nothing like this really since the very end of the Yellow Vest protests and the union movements of 2019. And so once again, the French back on the
streets, and it is a difficult time for Emmanuel Macron. He's trying to get workers back into the refineries so that the petrol stations can be working
But he's also having to push through, as a result of parliamentary division, the 2023 budget by bypassing the vote altogether, and in the hope
behind that of being able to push through his controversial pension reform. So it's a difficult time politically for Emmanuel Macron re-elected, you'll
remember in May, with a very divided political landscape and wanting to push through reforms in this second term.
So this large demonstration, of course, bad news for the French president as he looks ahead to the full season in which he had hoped to get so much
SOARES: Melissa Bell for us there in Paris. Still to come tonight, financing terrorism. The French cement company Lafarge pleads guilty to
paying off ISIS in Syria. We'll have more next.
SOARES: Now, the French cement company Lafarge has pleaded guilty and it has been fined $778 million for paying off terrorist groups in Syria. An
investigation several years ago found the firm had paid ISIS and most refund to keep operations running as violence escalated in the region.
Joining me now is CNN's Kara Scannell. And Kara, good to see you. Just -- do we know how long this company was paying or dealing with this terrorist
group here or terrorist groups?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Yes, so according to federal prosecutors, Lafarge had been dealing with ISIS and ANF, the other terrorist group
beginning in August 2013 and continuing for about 14 months. Prosecutors say that this started as a way to protect employees who were operating at
the cement plant in Syria, but it then evolved into a revenue-sharing agreement where authorities say that they put profits over the protection
They say that Lafarge had paid ISIS and ANF nearly $6 million, and that money could have been used to recruit, to wage war and to terrorize other
countries including Americans. Now, the prosecutor who was announcing the charges today, the U.S. attorney here in Brooklyn, Breon Peace, he said
that Lafarge had made a deal with the devil, and the Justice Department said that this was an unprecedented prosecution against a company.
Lafarge pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorist groups and as you said agreed to pay $778 million in fines and forfeiture.
SOARES: And $778 million, what does that, Kara, in relation to their earnings?
SCANNELL: Well, the -- so, from this alleged scheme, they said that by enabling -- by paying ISIS to enable them to continue to operate in the
war-torn country, that they were able to bring in $70 million in revenue just from that plants alone. Now this --
SOARES: Wow --
SCANNELL: Fine or forfeiture that they came up with, they said resulted from the actual cost of the cement plant that they built there, which was
about $680 million. That is what Lafarge was trying to protect when it was engaging in these deals with ISIS and ANF. Isa?
SOARES: Kara Scannell there for us in New York, thanks very much, Kara. Well, the U.K.'s defense ministry is warning former British pilots over
being recruited by China's military. Officials say some pilots are being lured by large sums of money to pass on their expertise to the Chinese.
Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES HEAPPEY, MINISTER, ARMED FORCES, BRITAIN: China is a competitor that is threatening the U.K. interest in many places around the world. It's also
an important trading partner. But there is no secret in their attempt to gain access to our secrets, and the recruitment of our pilots in order to
understand the capabilities of our Air Force. It's clearly a concern to us, and the Intelligence part of Diomede(ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Meanwhile, officials in China are delaying the release of key economic data, including third quarter GDP as President Xi Jinping is set
to secure an unprecedented third term. Our Selina Wang has more for you.
SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Migrant workers like Mr. Hu(ph) moved from China's villages to Beijing in search for better
job prospects. On a lucky day, he can make the equivalent of a few dozen U.S. dollars from construction work. Anything left over, he sends home to
his kids in the village.
He says the pandemic has made it harder to find work, and China's economy is in bad shape because of all the COVID restrictions. The world's growth
engine is sputtering after decades of unstoppable growth, China's economy is cracking. Constant COVID lockdowns wrecking businesses and lives.
He shows us his rental home in Beijing, just four square meters. It's really small, he says. Since Chinese leader Xi Jinping took power in 2012,
he's pledged to reduce income inequality. But workers like Hu(ph) aren't seeing the benefits. He says, I don't think it's a good idea for him to
continue to serve.
SUSAN SHIRK, CHAIR, 21ST CENTURY CHINA CENTER: I think there are a lot of people in China who have lost confidence in the pragmatic judgment of their
leader. It could become a big challenge to Xi Jinping.
WANG: Unemployment is skyrocketing, not just because of the pandemic. China's once vibrant private sector suffocating under Xi Jinping's
crackdown to bring companies under tighter communist party control. Beijing insists the moves protect consumers and reduce economic inequality. But
instead, mass layoffs are sending youth unemployment to a record high of nearly 20 percent.
Protests also erupted this Summer in central China. Thousands of depositors lost access to their savings at several banks in the region, as police
violently quashed the protesters, Beijing arrested hundreds of suspects allegedly involved in the scandal, and promised that depositors would
start to get their money back, but many still have not.
"This is my family's hard-earned money over the last 20 years", he says our lives depend on it.
(on camera): How has this whole experience changed your perception of your country, of China's leaders?
(voice-over): "I'm like an ant that they can trample on. I have no hope", he says. Another crisis is unfolding in China's all-important property
sector. Giant developers have defaulted, home sales are dropping. Home buyers across the country are boycotting mortgage payments on unfinished
homes. Fearful that the properties will never get built. These protesters chant evil developer, give back my property.
KERRY BROWN, DIRECTOR, LAU CHINA INSTITUTE, KING'S COLLEGE LONDON: So, the Chinese property market is probably the world's greatest economic asset,
single economic asset. If it does collapse, then we have a full-blown recession, maybe even depression.
WANG: Xi Jinping is preparing to be ruler for life, claiming that his brand of authoritarianism will realize the China dream of strength and
prosperity. But for people like Hu(ph), all he wants is to make ends meet. And even that is a dream out of reach. Selina Wang, CNN, Hong Kong.
SOARES: And still to come tonight --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of them fear like, you know, spend the next 10 years of my life in prison, or just kind of let this, you know, broken
femur heal on its own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: A painful decision for protesters risk jail or leave the wounds inflicted by security forces untreated. We'll show you the underground
network of hospitals springing up in Iran. That is next.
SOARES: Welcome back to the show everyone.
As Iran intensifies its crackdown on anti-government protesters, it's not just the streets that are not safe anymore. Authorities are actively
hunting down protesters in hospitals, even in pharmacies, to throw them in jail. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has details and we warn you, her report has
some graphic images.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The repressive republic is crushing dissent with brutality that knows no bounds. Kurdish cities
like this one bearing the brunt of an unforgiving crackdown, that has left no place safe. And security forces now hunting down the injured.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The injured don't go to hospitals because if they go there, plainclothes police will arrest them. Even in
most pharmacies, they cannot go and get treated, because they will be immediately identified and eventually lead to their arrest. For this
reason, people are not being treated for their wounds.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): This is a leg of a 14-year-old boy peppered with what appears to be birdshot wounds. Protesters in his town know better than
to go to the hospital. His story is replicated over and over across the country.
Doctors, protesters and a human rights group tell CNN hospitals have turned into a trap, too dangerous for protesters. A doctor inside Iran who doesn't
want to be identified for his safety spoke to us through the voice of a translator.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They mostly come and recover but most of times they are recognizable by some signs. They come in, ask about
patients, if they want to use force. We have to answer them. Most of the time we use fake names or (INAUDIBLE) to help them so that they will not be
recognized by (INAUDIBLE) forces.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Security services are cracking down on identifying people by their horrific injuries they're inflicting on protesters. And
it's not just at hospitals. Protesters say ambulances are being used to detain people.
In this video, people attack an ambulance with security forces inside. The narrator says protesters are saving the girl. Not knowing who they can
trust, desperate protesters are now turning to an Iranian American doctor in New York for critical medical advice over Instagram.
DR. KAYVAN MIRHADI, INTERNAL MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: The pictures they would send me are as basic as fractures and when they're running away from the
police versus brutal beatings. People have sent me skull fractures that they're trying to treat in their house.
The multiple pellets throughout their bodies. A lot of them fear, spend the next 10 years of my life in prison or just kind of let this broken femur
heal on its own.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Dr. Kay, as he's known, is relying on a small underground network of doctors he trusts.
MIRHADI: A lot of this is happening in covert areas, hidden areas like doctors, they want to remain anonymous.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Doctors helping protesters have reportedly been arrested. But that is not stopping those putting duty above self.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): As a doctor, I see this as a duty to save people anywhere. When the hospitals is not safe or I try to help
people on the street, no matter what risk, no one should die because of seeking freedom.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.
SOARES: A powerful and shocking piece there.
CNN asked the Iranian government about the apparent arrests of protesters in hospitals and clinics. So far we have received no response.
Human rights groups are raising concerns about the fate of a female Iranian climber who did not wear head covering at an international competition. She
has apologized on social media, saying it was unintentional. She said her turn was called unexpectedly during an event in Seoul. Iran requires its
female athletes to wear a hijab.
The International Federation of Sport Climbing says it will monitor what will happen when she returns home, saying her safety is paramount. We'll
stay on top of that story for you.
The Kurdish community has been among the hardest hit in Iran's crackdown. Many are fleeing to Iraq, where some are joining armed opposition groups to
support protesters inside Iran. Nima Elbagir reports from Iran and some of the video in her report may be disturbing to watch.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a remote area in northern Iraq's Kurdish region, an all female fighting unit
belonging to the armed Kurdish Iranian opposition party, PAK, continues to train.
These women have been pulled back from the front line. For the last three weeks, the area they patrolled in the northeast of Iraq has been hit by
shells sent from across the border by Iran. This unit is part of a larger fighting force. For every single one of these women, this war is personal.
"Rezan," not her real name, crossed the border from Iran with the help of smugglers just over a week ago.
The city of Sanandaj, which she calls home, is in Iran's Kurdish majority Western region. In recent weeks, it is been likened to a war zone,
according to its residents as protests have erupted here.
And across Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian. "Rezan, " just a teenager, joined these protests.
"REZAN," KURDISH FIGHTER IN IRAQ (through translator): We were treating casualties but we were also like most people participating in the
revolution, in the uprising. Everyone who suffered from the oppression of the Iranian regime came down to the streets and market and defied the
government. I was also participating and I had no fear of death.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): "Rezan" says that while she was dragged by her uncovered hair, she passed prone, lifeless bodies. Even after she left, she
says she has continued to receive information about people she knows who have died.
Like this man, a newly married 27-year old, murdered by Iranian regime forces for sounding his horn in solidarity with protesters.
ELBAGIR: What is happening with your family?
"REZAN" (through translator): My family told them that no matter how many members of my family they arrest and for as long as they oppress my people,
I will not surrender to the invading Iranian government. We are ready to die.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): When Kurdish Iranian Mahsa Amini died in police custody, her name became a symbol of the oppression of women across Iran.
But Mahsa is not her true name. Her Kurdish name is Zhina, a name Iranian authorities barred her family, like many other ethnic minority groups, from
using. The regime only legally registers Persian names.
Yet, in her last recorded moments, Zhina resorted to begging her captors in her Kurdish mother tongue, entreaties which were ignored, reinforcing the
fears of Iran's Kurdish minority.
Hundreds of Iranian Kurdish families have crossed the border to Iraq seeking refuge from the most recent regime crackdown. But even here,
they're not safe.
This family fears the long arm of the Iranian regime after what they saw inside Iran.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I left after I saw one of my friends killed. During the demonstration, in sir clears (ph), near of the
mosque, right in front of the mosque.
They say they are Islamic.
But how can they claim to be an Islamic republic when I saw them murdering my friend outside a mosque?
ELBAGIR (voice-over): He and his family have every reason to be afraid. Iran's reach to oppress the protests within its borders are stretching far
Over the last few, weeks Iranian missiles have fallen into the Kurdish region of Iraq almost every day. The onslaught is relentless.
This map shows where Iranian strikes have hit, killing at least 18 and injuring at least 63 to date. This video filmed by a local television
channel shows the moment just after an Iranian drone and several missiles struck one of the Kurdish Iranian opposition party bases, killing eight
soldiers and injuring more.
On a day on which 70 missiles, Kurdish authorities say, rained down in the space of just four hours.
This base, only two years ago, was on the front line in the fight against ISIS after PAK received U.S. training.
It isn't far from U.S. Central Command -- CENTCOM -- forces. Just one day after the attack on the PAK base, CENTCOM shot down another Iranian drone.
It appeared, they say, as a threat to CENTCOM forces stationed in the area. And as the U.S. anti-ISIS presence in Iraq is set to continue, so is the
threat Iran poses.
These female fighters have vowed to fight until there is a regime change in Iran. They say they share Zhina's pain. Called by a name forced on her by a
repressive regime, all of them have a Kurdish name just like her not spoken outside their homes.
All of them say it's hard to imagine going back to how life was before -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, Iraqi Kurdistan.
SOARES: And still to come tonight, the latest from the devastation Nigeria is facing with the worst flooding the country has seen in more than a
decade. That is next.
SOARES: Basketball superstar Britney Griner is spending her birthday sitting in a Russian prison. Griner's royal lawyer released a message,
saying all the love and support she has gotten is helping her to get through these difficult times. Griner was sentenced in August to nine years
in prison. She has an appeal hearing in one week.
Nigeria's warning that more flooding may be coming, adding to a disaster that has already killed more than 600 people. Homes submerged as the
country seeing its worst flooding in more than a decade.
According to Nigeria's humanitarian affairs ministry, more than 2 million people have been affected by the flooding. And 200,000 homes are destroyed.
Nigerian authorities say the flooding is a caused by heavier than usual rains and water released from a neighboring dam. They say the scale of the
disaster is colossal.
Now, Venezuelan migrants are left scrambling after the United States implemented a new immigration policy. They must now have a sponsor to enter
the United States. According to the U.N., 7.1 million migrants have left Venezuela since 2015 in search of a better future.
Stefano Pozzebon talked to one family who was stranded and stuck right in the middle.
STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Heidiz Morele (ph) says she is running out of options. When she migrated from Venezuela to Colombia
four years ago, she thought she could find a new life here. And for a while, it seemed to work.
But now, prices keep rising for this mother of three. And she says that she had to take her children out of school last month, because she can no
longer afford their meals.
Like tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants this summer, she had decided that she would try to reach the United States. And she started planning a
journey that would have taken her from Colombia to Panama, Central America, Mexico, up to the U.S. southern border.
Her children show us the drawings they made for their grandmother in preparation for the upcoming departure. They were due to travel this week.
But a new policy from the Biden administration halted their plan.
Last Wednesday, the White House launched a new plan to welcome some Venezuelans flying to the United States with the help of a sponsor and
officially turn away those who attempt to enter without one, while up to 24,000 will be allowed to resettle in the U.S. if they qualify for
temporary protective status.
Anyone entering the country without authorization will be eligible for deportation.
In this video from the Colombian, border ambassador James Story (ph) warns Venezuelan migrants not to travel on their own and to follow the protocols
to obtain the protective status.
But Morele (ph) says she could never afford the paperwork and the air ticket to relocate from Colombia to the U.S.
"We can't go back to Venezuela, because there is nothing for us there," she says, "no jobs; we don't even have a home there anymore. And Colombia is
more expensive every day and now we don't know what to do."
It is a familiar story in 2022. The world's poorest priced out by a global cost of living crisis that includes soaring food prices.
At this aid clinic in central Bogota, most of these migrants shared the same sense of helplessness.
POZZEBON: Why is there now a new trend to go up north?
SHANTI SATTLER, DIRECTOR, VENESPERANZA NGO CONSORTIUM: There's a major sense of urgency. People need money tomorrow, to put food on the table for
their families tomorrow. They need to pay their electricity bills, tomorrow. They need to have a place to stay tomorrow night for their
And again, with the rising prices, people are not able to make it work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POZZEBON (voice-over): Tomorrow is Morele's (ph) main worry today. Their rent is due this, week and with the plans to travel to the U.S. canceled,
she needs to find a way to put a roof over their head.
POZZEBON: Morele's (ph) situation is far from unique. -- experts believe that the new U.S. policy at the southern border may reduce the flow of
migrants for a limited amount of time but unless a stable solution is found down here, more and more people will eventually go back on the road --
Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Bogota.
SOARES: And that point from Stefano is the crucial one. The idea that perhaps a limit on the number of people leaving Venezuela, leaving
Colombia, the reality is very different. People are struggling. They've been struggling for years; 7.1 million people have left Venezuela since
And while the solution may look good electorally in the United States, the reality on the ground is very different. I know it. I've been there many
times. I've heard many of these stories from Venezuela and from Colombia.
On tomorrow's show, I'll be speaking to the official representatives of the Venezuelan opposition in the U.S. He says the U.S. plan is, quote,
"insufficient" for the magnitude of Venezuela's migration crisis.
Still to come on this show tonight, why this Hollywood celebrity has been called "a tiny cretin of a man." That is coming up.
SOARES: Here in the U.K., the prime minister is hemorrhaging support after a tumultuous first few weeks in office. A new poll shows two-thirds of U.K.
adults say the Conservative Party should replace Liz Truss as prime minister.
She is apologizing for her now scrapped mini-budget that rattled investors and sank the pound. During an interview with the BBC, she admits she went
too far too fast. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ TRUSS, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Now I recognize we have made misstates. I'm sorry for those mistakes. But I fixed mistakes, I've appointed a new
chancellor. We have restored economic stability and fiscal discipline. And what I now want to do is go on and deliver for the public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: We shall see, of course, if the public is pleased with the errors that she has corrected and, of course, the market as well. We will stay on
top of that.
In a few weeks time, world leaders will meet in Egypt for COP27, discussing the world's most pressing climate issues. We explore how some cities are
trying to tackle the issue of sustainability.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): In the city of Utrecht just outside Amsterdam, Mayor Sharon Dijksma plays her part in the battle against climate change.
MAYOR SHARON DIJKSMA, UTRECHT: I always arrived in my bike to my work and many people do here.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Some estimates more than 90 percent of residents here use bicycles for transportation. The city is home to the largest
bicycle garage in the world.
DIJKSMA: In our streets the cars are guests. And I think that the pedestrians and the people who are traveling on bikes, they rule the road
KARADSHEH (voice-over): It's not just about adopting greener transportation options, from a vertical forest community building to solar
panels on most of the city's roofs. Utrecht has been recognized as a model of sustainability.
DIJKSMA: I think a sustainable city needs a holistic approach. So you do not only work on sustainable mobility but you also need to really fulfill
the energy transition. So we try to bring off the houses out of gas and to use solar energy or wind energy.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Dijksma's commitment to climate change has been going on for years. In 2016, she signed the Paris Climate Agreement on
behalf of the European Union. And this year, she plans to showcase her city as an example of sustainability for other urban areas at COP 27, which will
take place in the Egyptian beach resort of Sharm El Sheikh.
DIJKSMA: I'm a mayor. And we think that the voice of cities has to be heard at the COP because cities are the places where the pollution takes
place. But we are also part of the solution of the problems.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): According to the UN cities across the world account for roughly 75 percent of the CO2 emissions.
And with more than 65 percent of the world's population expected to live in urban areas by 2050. The topic of sustainable cities is high on the agenda,
the conference in Egypt.
MOHAMED NASR, HEAD OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS, MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, EGYPT: The discussion on sustainable cities and sustainable transport
solutions will be focusing on how can we take the success stories and implement them. The focus of the COP is more on the implementation side.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): And cities like Utrecht and its mayor are paving the way for a much greener future -- Jomana Karadsheh CNN.
SOARES: Now a second chance, that's what comedian James Corden has been given by a restaurant manager but not before he had some choice words for
the "Late Late Show" host. It's those words that made us pause for thought tonight.
In an Instagram post, a New York restaurateur slated Corden for some allegedly rude and nasty behavior toward staff, going so far as to ban him
from the premises. But after a profuse apology from Mr. Corden, the manager says all is forgiven.
It's a reminder that, no matter who you are, everyone deserves respect. We leave you with that thought for tonight.
Thank you for your company. Do stay right here, I'll be back with "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" in four minutes or so.