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Isa Soares Tonight
China To Ease Travel Restrictions Amid COVID Surge; Russia Gives Ukraine Ultimatum Over 4 Occupied Regions; Death Toll From Storm In State Of New York Hits 29; U.S. President Joe Biden Issues Emergency Declaration For New York; Britons Turn To "Warm Spaces" To Cope With High Power Bills; Football Star's Family Stopped From Leaving Iran; Top Climate Stories Of The Year. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired December 27, 2022 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: And a very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Paula Newton in Atlanta in for Isa Soares. Just ahead
for us, Chinese people are rushing to book overseas travel after the government announced it would finally reopen the borders in January.
But meantime, across China, COVID-19 cases are rising, prompting some countries to impose measures on travelers coming from the country. Then
Russia's foreign minister gives Ukraine an ultimatum, either Ukraine accepts Moscow's demands including giving up four occupied regions or the
Russian army will take action.
And officials in the U.S. state of New York are begging residents to stay off the roads as an arctic storm has claimed at least 29 lives in the area.
We will be live in Buffalo. Now, at last, freedom to travel when China is now dropping its last major COVID restrictions of the pandemic, and that is
even at this hour as cases right across the country continue to soar.
Now, the government announced it will no longer prevent Chinese nationals from traveling overseas and will not require incoming travelers to
quarantine. Now, that will be effective January 8th. And it is re-listed now COVID to a class B disease. And that's significant. It is a dramatic
turnaround in fact, for a society that just a short time ago locked down entire cities, you'll remember that, and subjected citizens to draconian
measures hoping to contain the pandemic.
But not every country is ready to welcome Chinese travelers with open arms. Japan and India say they still will require a negative COVID test upon
arrival. Now, you have to remember though, for many inside and outside China, lifting the travel bans mean they will finally see their loved ones
again. CNN's Selina Wang has more for us now from Beijing.
SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The world's harshest quarantine is no more as COVID sweeps through China. The country
is scrapping quarantines for inbound travelers from January 8th and promising to gradually restart outbound tourism.
Since the start of the pandemic, China has severely limited who can go in and out of the country, drastically cutting the number of flights, and
forcing all incoming arrivals into government facilities. I went through multiple quarantines in China this year, lasting as long as 21 days. There
is no choice in where you go or what room you get.
Once the doors close, you can only open them for COVID tests and food pickups. Workers spray disinfectant in the hallways every few hours, food
delivery is not allowed. But breakfast, lunch and dinner are part of quarantine fees. All of that is now soon going away. It's a huge relief for
Chinese nationals living overseas like this woman in New York City.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really want to go back to my home immediately, and right now, I'm very emotional. I'm always -- almost like in tears right
WANG (on camera): When is the last time you went home to China?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four years before. I lost several of my family members during the pandemic. I lost my beloved Golden Retriever. I feel
like I missed everything.
WANG: How is your family doing now in China?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Almost everyone got COVID, and they are suffering. When grandpa filmed me a video, I cried so badly. At that moment, I even --
don't know if I will get a chance to see him -- he just get COVID, and I hope he will -- he will be OK.
WANG (voice-over): On Chinese social media, people have been sharing everything they've lost during 3 years of border controls, while they were
stuck out of their home country. One writes, "I received the bad news of my father's unexpected death while I was in a quarantined hotel, but I
couldn't go back to see him for the last time."
Another writes, "because of the pandemic, I didn't even know that my grandma passed away, and I heard it from my mother a month later." This new
change finally ends China's ban on non-essential travel for Chinese citizens.
"I feel like the pandemic is finally over. The travel plans I made 3 years ago may finally become a reality", she says. It's exciting news for
potential travelers. But at home, the country is struggling to grapple with an explosion in COVID cases.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hospital is just overwhelmed from top to bottom. And there was no preparation -- like nobody knew. You know, there was no
stockpiling of medications.
WANG: This viral video in the southern city of Guangzhou shows a man kneeling on the ground at a fever clinic, breaking down and begging the
nurse to let him see the doctor after waiting for hours. Fever and cold medicine are nearly impossible to get at drug stores across the country.
Antivirals are also extremely hard to get, but in a major move, Beijing has announced it's going to start distributing paxlovid to community health
centers in the coming days.
So, there is chaos and confusion, but with zero COVID in the past, finally there is light at the end of the tunnel. Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.
NEWTON: Dr. Stuart Ray is a Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, he joins me now via Skype from Baltimore. And good to have you
weigh in on these developments, Dr. Stewart. You know, we just heard, right? We saw how profoundly people are being affected, both good and bad
in China. But it's really extraordinary pivot.
I want to talk to you first about what we're seeing in this latest COVID wave in China. You know, will it replicate what we saw in so many other
places tragically around the world in both 2020 and 2021. And how worried are you about this healthcare system that could be on the brink?
STUART RAY, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Well, thanks, Paula, it's great to be with you. And I'm really sorry to see things
playing out the way they are. It's as if China has lived the worst of both worlds. They've lived in lockdown which has tremendous costs, and didn't
make the best of the time they bought by vaccinating their population especially the most vulnerable with effective vaccines.
And so they're under vaccinated. They have limited experience it sounds like. Their resources are being stretched. It's really a tragic situation,
and I hope it doesn't play out as severely as it looks like it could.
NEWTON: And we are all praying for those people that we saw in Selina's report. And I want to speak to you specifically about China's elderly
population. How vulnerable do you think they are?
RAY: Well, they're extremely vulnerable for a bunch of reasons. We know that the elderly are particularly susceptible to COVID, and the under-
vaccinated elderly are the most susceptible. And so they don't have highly effective vaccines there. They have the Sinovac and Sinopharm and activated
That's such a technology that most of the rest of the world did not embrace because of prior evidence that coronavirus vaccines made with that
technology would not be as effective. And the limited studies we've been able to do suggest that they are less effective, both in terms of
protection against infection, protection against severe disease and also in durability of the immune response.
So this population is under vaccinated, and they haven't had previous waves to provide some immunity from convalescence that they would otherwise have.
So it's really a perfect storm for widespread infection.
NEWTON: Yes, which is why we hope that those antivirals do make it to those community health centers very quickly. For the rest of the world,
doctor, what would you say would be the effect of having let's say 250 million or even half a billion new infections? Does it mean for sure that
we're going to have new variants?
And how much are you worried about the fact that China may not share information about those new variants in a timely fashion?
RAY: Well, infections with this virus generate mutation of the virus. It's just a natural part of its life cycle that it makes errors. And when you
have a lot of people getting infected, then you're going to have a lot of those mutations. And it provides an opportunity for the virus to evolve to
get around immunity this present.
And so when you have a partially-immune population, it's sort of the worst possible scenario for generating new variation. The question is going to be
whether those variants have greater ability to evade than the ones we have. And the U.S. and many other countries, we have some highly evasive
The one that is most widely-circulating in China, the BF.7, evades all of the monoclonal antibodies that we have previously been able to use as
antivirals. And so, as you mentioned, they have paxlovid, but they don't have a lot of other options. It's really a tough situation for controlling
this virus and mitigating severe disease.
NEWTON: Yes, which unfortunately means we may be through a whole new cycle of this pandemic to come. I want to ask you, though, what are the lessons
learned from the Chinese experience? You know, they were praised at first for the mass testing, for limiting mortality, and yet, this pivot, just
seems so chaotic.
RAY: Well, I think, you know, we know from China's experience that well- coordinated maybe draconian lockdowns do limit spread of the virus. But that's a means to buy time so that you can build the preparation for
mitigating the subsequent waves that can occur once the virus gets around those limits. And unfortunately, they didn't use the time well.
And so, I think we can expect a great loss of health and likely loss of life. I don't think that travel restrictions at this point are going to
have a big positive impact for the rest of the world. I think, you know, we need rational use of rapid tests. And people need to be thinking about
using their masks and other means that they have at hand, because we are in for some changes, and we don't know how big an impact this Chinese epidemic
will have on the rest of us.
NEWTON: Yes, these are stark realities especially when you put them against the relief, the societal relief that so many people are feeling and
being able to get hopefully soon to some state of normalcy.
RAY: Good day --
NEWTON: Actually, thank you so much, really appreciate your insights.
RAY: Thank you, great to be with you.
NEWTON: And now moving to Ukraine. We are seeing fierce fighting in the east of that country today. The Ukrainian deputy defense minister says
Russia is focusing most of its efforts now on military equipment and weapons on the eastern city of Bakhmut. But he says Bakhmut is holding in
Ukrainian hands and is acting as a quote "eastern fortress" against Russian aggression.
Now, there is also heavy fighting elsewhere in Luhansk region. On Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the battlefield situation, quote,
"difficult and painful". Meantime, Russia's foreign minister says Kyiv needs to accept its so-called annexation of four Ukrainian regions or else
its military will take more action.
Ukraine says, giving up any territory is non-negotiable. And one adviser to President Zelenskyy is warning the world not to trust anything Russia says
about peace negotiations. Ukraine's energy minister meantime says Russia may be -- may use the upcoming new year's holiday to fire more missiles at
the country's energy system in order to cause, quote, "maximum damage".
He says the situation right now is really difficult with about 9 million people in the dark as of Monday. And it's hard for everyone, but especially
for people who rely on powered medical devices. I want you to see this report now from Will Ripley in Ukraine.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Christmas in Ukraine, even the air raid sirens don't get a break.
(on camera): So when the lights go out, you use this? How do you -- how do you turn it on? Oh, like that.
(voice-over): Twelve-year-old Sebastian has an arsenal of battery-powered lights for the blackouts so he can play with his small army of toy tanks,
unfortunately, this doesn't run on batteries.
(on camera): Oh, you use it as a wait?
So, that's how you stay strong.
(voice-over): Sebastian has cystic fibrosis, a rare lung disorder. He needs a nebulizer to inhale medicine, it keeps him alive. "He could die
without inhalations, we can't miss them", his grandmother says. "The first time we had a blackout, we took the machine and ran around looking for a
generator. We found a shop where people charge their phones.
We did it there." His grandmother shows us their small portable nebulizer, "when the lights go out, it gets the job done, barely."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's machine number nine.
RIPLEY (on camera): This is 1,319.
(voice-over): Patients like him rely on help from Suboy(ph) Foundation, a nonprofit in Kyiv. They've helped more than 6,000 people with breathing
problems, the situation for many, dire.
(on camera): What happens to people if the machine doesn't work?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They die.
RIPLEY: They die?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
"When there is no light for 20 or 30 hours, you have to go to the hospital", she says. "We have patients who went from the apartment to the
car for two days because they charge their device with their cigarette lighter."
RIPLEY (voice-over): The sound of a blackout, even more terrifying than the sound of sirens for Elena Esayanko(ph). "The sound is like a flat-
line", she says. She is living with respiratory failure on the 15th floor, blackouts mean no elevator, no way to get to the bomb shelter downstairs.
"When you can't cook and there is no heat, you can live with that. But when you can't breathe, it's your life."
Her portable respirator barely lasts two hours. It takes more than an hour to charge. Each blackout puts her life at risk. For so many victims of
Russia's constant cruel bombardment, this is life if you can call it that. Will Ripley, CNN, Kyiv, Ukraine.
NEWTON: For more on this, we want to bring in Andriy Zagorodnyuk is a former Ukrainian defense minister, the co-founder as well and chairman of
the security think-tank Center for the Strategic Studies and a Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center. And I want
to thank you for joining us. And I want to try and get your assessment now of that fight for eastern Ukraine.
We just heard how President Zelenskyy has been really blunt, painfully blunt about how difficult this is and what's at stake. I mean, what is your
assessment of how things are going there right now in the eastern parts specifically?
ANDRIY ZAGORODNYUK, DISTINGUISHED FELLOW AT ATLANTIC COUNCIL'S EURASIA CENTER: Russia throwing any amounts of people to east because they are
desperate to show their leadership basically, their military leadership to the political leadership, at least some achievements.
So, for them, it's important as they say and they're basically trying to win. Because so far, they've been losing all the year long. And obviously,
they need to justify themselves. And that's why they're bringing any amount of Russian people, for them, casualties is not such a big deal.
And they can essentially tolerate politically. They can tolerate any amount of casualties so far, at least at this point of time. But they're still
struggling and they cannot reach their operational objectives because they don't have enough skilled officers. They don't have enough skilled troops
in general and there are not enough ammunition, even now.
So they're struggling. But the pressure is extremely hard and our troops are holding. But it's very difficult indeed.
NEWTON: Yes, and I read when you say very difficult. You know, a lot of Ukrainian lives lost on that frontline --
ZAGORODNYUK: Of course --
NEWTON: As well.
NEWTON: So I want to get to the broader, you know, defense issues on the ground here. And they involve quite clearly that Patriot missile system. Do
you agree it will be a game-changer? You know, Ukraine has been asking for a while, will it now arrive too late do you believe? And I want to point
specifically to the fragile nature of the infrastructure in Ukraine at the moment.
I want to point out to our viewers that you agreed with a CNN editorial a few weeks ago that outlined that the real risk in Ukraine now at this hour
is a humanitarian crisis given the fragility of that infrastructure.
ZAGORODNYUK: Of course, and It's a substantial risk. And that's why Russia's doing that because from a war perspective, it doesn't make much
sense. But it does make sense from economical perspective and generally, fragility like -- of the society and a stable -- more or less as far as
possible stable life of Ukraine.
But Patriot of course is a huge deal because they can address loads of these threats which we cannot at the moment, particularly ballistic
missiles. But they're coming only in a few months, and they're coming first battery(ph), which basically will cover one city and one town. And it's not
enough of course.
But -- so, we need to keep working with our partners about enhancing the air defense. But it's just generally a quite difficult task, because of
course, Ukraine is a large country and Russia is throwing their missiles everywhere around the country. Not just to anything related remotely to
frontline or to the military, and they're just killing general civilian infrastructure.
As you could see, harming civilians everywhere in the country. But it doesn't change our resilience and it doesn't change our resolve to win.
That's for sure --
NEWTON: But to be realistic here, it does really imply that resistance is much more difficult now and it involves, you know, not just adults, but
children suffering as well if you keep this up.
ZAGORODNYUK: Russians, I have to remind that Russia has been destroying cities from the first day of the war. So generally, as soon as we decided
that we want to stay free and independent and fight for that war, of course, all civilians are being harmed. Russia's been -- before they've
been just throwing rockets into the buildings.
And there was a city of Mariupol of half a million people which is -- they just destroyed completely. So it's not something new which they came up
with. What is new is that actually they're harming the infrastructure, trying to, like, you know, disable our energy supplies and utilities. But
they've been targeting civilians from the -- day one.
NEWTON: Understood. I want to say both you and I, we probably lost count, how many times, right? People have said this conflict will end at the
negotiating table, not on the battlefield. But you know, does that really apply now? We hear ultimatums from Russia's foreign minister and we hear
menacing comments. Would your guess be that we are still looking at months of war here, if not years?
ZAGORODNYUK: Unfortunately, that's the case. So far, what Russia is doing, they're just playing with people's expectations that negotiations have to
start someday. But they're not like really in this position.
And what they're saying is simply like -- it's to kind of address some of the country's concerns that Russia actually doesn't want to negotiate. But
in reality, they don't do anything to stop the war. They continue attacking. They continue throwing missiles and infrastructure. And so, as
politicians of most of the free world countries, Including United States recently during Zelenskyy's visit.
They are clearly stating Russia is not demonstrating any real steps for negotiations. So, unfortunately, we're not there yet.
NEWTON: Yes, and that makes the prospects for what's going on in Ukraine in this new year to come --
ZAGORODNYUK: Yes --
NEWTON: Even more grim. I want to thank you for your insights here. Appreciate it.
ZAGORODNYUK: Thank you --
NEWTON: Still to come tonight for us, scrambling fighter jets and helicopters. Seoul takes swift action after new moves by North Korea. Plus,
as the United States tries to thaw out from that polar plunge, one region is trying to recover from what has been a deadly blizzard.
NEWTON: And welcome back. South Korea says it will accelerate the launch of its military drone unit. And that's in response to actions by North
Korea. Pyongyang flew five drones into South Korean airspace, Monday. One of them even flew over the capital. Paula Hancocks is live for us in Seoul.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Just one day after North Korea sent drones over the border into South Korean airspace.
South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol says that they are speeding up the launch of a drone unit. Now, the president said that this was already in
the works. They had been planning this.
But what had happened on Monday had shown that the military was not ready for this kind of threat.
YOON SEOK YEOL, PRESIDENT, SOUTH KOREA (through translator): I think our people have just witnessed how dangerous it is to have North Korean
policies solely relying on the North's goodwill and military agreements.
HANCOCKS: So, the South Korean military started tracking a drone at 10:25 in the morning on Monday. Now, according to the military, they say these
drones were less than 2 meters long and they tracked them for some 5 hours. So we're being told that five came across the border, one approached the
capital, Seoul, and then four of the others were flying around Gangwon Island, which is just off the west coast of the peninsula.
Now, South Korea's reaction was that they scrambled fighter jets and attack helicopters. In fact, one of those fighter jets did crash.
But the defense ministry say there was no injury to the crew itself. And also what they did from the South Korean side is that they sent
reconnaissance assets aircraft into North Korea as well, some just along the inter-Korean border. But some went into North Korean airspace and
filmed and photographed military installations.
So, a tit-for-tat response to what North Korea has done as well. A spokesperson saying it's a clear provocation and an invasion of our
airspace by North Korea. Now, it is unusual for this to happen, but it's not unprecedented. The last time that a drone was detected by the South
Koreans was back in 2017, and that is when they discovered a crashed North Korean drone.
And at that time, the military said that they believed it had been photographing a U.S. built missile defense system in the country. Also a
similar situation back in 2014 when they also discovered a crashed drone from North Korea. Now, this has been a concern from the South Korean side,
but it is also coming at a time, a historic time.
When North Korea has been continually firing missiles and launching missiles throughout 2022, never in its history have we seen what we have
seen this year. And it also comes at a time when relations between the two Koreas are particularly bad. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
NEWTON: Taiwan is extending its mandatory military service for all eligible men. Saying it's necessary to counter rising threats from China.
President Tsai Ing-wen says four months, four months of mandatory training are no longer enough. Starting in 2024, men born after 2005 will have to
serve for a full year.
Now, the president says no one wants war, but quote, "peace does not fall from the sky." Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TSAI ING-WEN, PRESIDENT, TAIWAN (through translator): We can only avoid a war by preparing for a war and we can only stop a war by being capable of
fighting a war. Taiwan needs to strengthen our ability to defend ourselves so that we can better protect our national security and interests and
garner more international support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Authorities in Indonesia meantime are giving emergency medical treatment to Rohingya refugees who survived the horrific sea voyage. A
hundred and eighty five men, women and children made it to shore in Aceh, Monday, some rescued by local fishermen. They had been adrift on a rickety
wooden boat for weeks, battling hunger, dehydration and illness.
Refugees set off from an overcrowded camp in Bangladesh where many Rohingya are living after fleeing ethnic violence in Myanmar, as many as 20
reportedly died at sea. Still to come for us tonight, one U.S. city is dealing with record snow, many are dead and authorities are still worried
of how they will find those who still have yet to dig out.
And later, it may look like home, but it's not. We'll take you to shelters known as warm spaces that are helping people weather the cost of living
crisis in the U.K.
NEWTON (voice-over): Much of America is still in the throes of frigid and dangerous temperatures. One of the hardest hit areas is upstate New York
where at least 29 people have lost their lives. Officials say that unfortunately they expect that number to climb. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ-DABNEY, BUFFALO, NY, DEPUTY MAYOR: Somewhere indoors. Some are sad stories of carbon monoxide poisoning. Some are in vehicles.
Sadly, some are outside.
We don't know all of the stories. There is a combination of where they're being found. We have snowbanks. Some of our first responders are not
hopeful about what we're going to find once those snow banks are cleared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: So troubling. Imagine this. A lot of those rescue vehicles that were trying to help people actually had to be rescued themselves.
Travel in upstate New York is still pretty much at a standstill. The airport in Buffalo still not expected to reopen until at least tomorrow.
The city saw a record-breaking 1.24 meters of snow in just three days. That brought their total to 2.5 meters of snow.
That's so far this season. Reminder: we are not even over 2022 yet. CNN's Miguel Marquez is braving those freezing temperatures in Buffalo, New York,
Miguel, people will say look. Snow in Buffalo.
So far so normal. In light of some of our international audiences especially, what is so different by the fallout from this storm?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They do get a lot of snow up here. They are very good at moving it. Very good at dealing with
it. The difference here was it was just so much snow over such a compacted period of time.
They get that lake effect here. They're right off of lake Erie. The lake is a little warmer. The air comes in and it's very cold. It just dumps massive
amounts of snow into a very small pocket, literally a bubble just around Buffalo here.
I'm going to show you what the downtown here looks like. It's plowed. This is downtown Buffalo. Looking in that way, this should be a very busy
vibrant city. All you are seeing that these plowed streets. Then these big either drifts or where the snowplows have moved it off to the side.
Those are the bits they're concerned about throughout the entire area. It's what's underneath all of this. Some of the homeless population here they're
concerned about. People who weren't able to get back or took off. They got in their cars went, to get groceries, went to try to help out their family.
And they could not see in front of their cars.
This was not just for 10, 15, 20 minutes. This was for hours an hours and hours as their cars were being buried. The winds were also quite high. It
just created conditions that were absolutely deadly. That's what people have gotten caught in that have died here.
Some of them have died from heart attacks. Some of them were found in their car. Some of them in the streets. Some of them in homes. Authorities are
continuing to go out and look for people who may be in that situation.
Also begging people right now to stay off the streets, out of their cars, stay off the streets because the emergency vehicles need access to the
roads here. The big problem they're going to have later this week is temperatures are going to go up to about 10 degrees Celsius by week's end.
It's also going to rain. And flooding could become a real issue for Buffalo. Paula.
NEWTON: Miguel, can you quickly fill us in on if the rescue workers, if the first responders are having more luck today. I know in the last few
days, difficult for them to get some people they needed to get to.
MARQUEZ: Yes, the number of dead went up by three today.
MARQUEZ: They also took two that had been pronounced earlier killed in the storm off the list because they died of natural causes, the medical
examiner here ruled. It went up by maybe a smaller number than people were expecting.
But there is a lot of snow and a very big area they need to get through. That's what they're doing now.
It is likely that they've gotten to many of the obvious places that they were concerned about. But they are not sure what's underneath all of this
snow and all those cars that are stopped along major highways and on roads throughout the city. So that is going to be an ongoing effort -- Paula.
NEWTON: We appreciate being on the ground there as we wait to see that region continue to dig out from this extraordinary storm. Miguel, thanks
Thousands of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border are waiting to see if America's Supreme Court will put an end to the Trump era policy known as
Title 42. The policy was put in place in the early days of the pandemic and allowed the government to expel migrants to their home country.
Currently, there are approximately 22,000 migrants and shelters and makeshift encampments right across three northern Mexico cities. CNN's
Camila Bernal spoke with one migrant family that is waiting to find out what happens next.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A dream come true in the form of a hula hoop, toys their parents say they would not be able to
afford in native Venezuela.
An opportunity for his children, says this 30-year old, who left his country more than three months ago with his partner and four children. In
November, they made it to the U.S. and turned themselves in to immigration authorities.
"They sent us back," he said.
And because they're not legally married, the two got separated. And after about a week in a detention center, they ended up in two different cities
Elvin's partner, Caroline, says she was told they were being sent back to Mexico because of Title 42, which allows border agents to immediately expel
migrants, citing COVID-19 concerns. And this is what they say led them to an illegal crossing 20 days later.
"I wanted to cross legally," says Caroline, but as a family, they felt they had no other option.
It's a desperation felt by many here. And, as a result, they end up on the streets during a cold front in El Paso. The city accommodates those who
have documentation taking more than 400 people into this makeshift shelter in its convention center over the holiday weekend.
Others ending up in Washington, D.C., outside of Vice President Kamala Harris' residence.
AMY FISCHER, MIGRANT SOLIDARITY MUTUAL AID NETWORK: The majority of them are planning to, you know, stay in D.C., or head up to New York.
BERNAL (voice-over): Since April, Texas governor Greg Abbott has been busing migrants to northern states.
These migrants were bused from Texas to D.C. on Christmas Eve, some wearing only a T-shirt in 18 degree weather.
For Elvin and Caroline the final destination is Chicago. They say they want to apply for refugee status, find work and provide for their four children.
BERNAL: And every single one of these migrants has a similar story. I've been speaking to them over the last couple of days and most of them tell me
that they're waiting to be able to afford a bus ticket to get to their final destination.
In the meantime, many of them are out here and preparing, as the sun sets, to sleep out on the streets, because the shelters are at capacity -- Camila
Bernal, CNN, El Paso, Texas.
NEWTON: To the U.K. now and as temperatures fall and heating costs soar, some are turning to so-called warm spaces this winter. These are community
centers that offer a warm place for people struggling to pay those high energy bills. CNN's Anna Stewart has our story.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A hot drink, somewhere to sit and chat, The Oasis Center in London is one of thousands of
organizations across the U.K. now running warm spaces for those struggling to pay their energy bills.
STEVE CHALKE, FOUNDER, OASIS TRUST: Being warm helps a person relax. The more relaxed they are, the more logically they can think about all their
other worries and stresses.
There's so many people though that are cold because, given the choice between being warm and eating, you have got to eat and you have got to feed
your family. What's happening this year is that more and more people are being caught into that trap.
STEWART: Some people call these warm banks but you don't use that term.
CHALKE: We think that's really important because it destigmatizes all of this. Once you're running a warm bank, if I come into your warm bank, I'm
admitting that I cannot heat my house.
CHALKE: But if you're running the living rooms, as we call it, at The Oasis Center, well, actually, you might be a millionaire.
STEWART (voice-over): Charity National Energy Action predicts over 8 million U.K. households will be in fuel poverty by April, almost double the
number since last year, despite the government spending billions to subsidize rising energy bills.
CHARLOTTE HILTON, THE OASIS CENTER: I have spent over 100 pounds in a few weeks on gas alone.
STEWART (voice-over): Mum of four, Charlotte Hilton, works at the center but also uses its services to help support her family.
STEWART: Do you think there will come a point where you not be able to meet all of your bills?
HILTON: Yes, yes, there will be. It will become a point, because everything is going up but wages, benefits, all of those things -- and it's
not just affecting obviously lower class people; it's affecting everybody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): We thought, what if the health service just could prescribe people a warm home?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART (voice-over): The National Health Service is so worried about the impact of the cold on people's health that it's testing paying for some of
the most vulnerables' heating.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There will be 1,000 homes helped this winter as part of this winter's trial. And there will be people at risk of being admitted
during the winter because they live in a cold home.
STEWART (voice-over): It's a worrying new reality for so many. The message here is that those who need help must not be afraid to ask for it.
CHALKE: People are scared of community, they're scared of being judged by others. I will not go to that warm bank in that church, I won't go to these
events, wherever it is, because I will be judged. Venture out. The world is full of wonderful people, you will meet friends.
STEWART (voice-over): Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
NEWTON: Still ahead for us, he's a football icon in Iran but he's also a vocal critic of the government. Now his family have been prevented from
leaving the country. We look at what it means. That's next.
NEWTON: The family of an Iranian football star was prevented from leaving Iran mid flight according to an Iranian news agency. A flight that was
carrying the wife and daughter of Ali Daei, who was a critic of the Iranian government, was forced to return to Iran.
Think about how extraordinary that is. After setting off for Dubai. Nada Bashir picks up the story from there.
NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's one of Iran's most legendary soccer stars. He's also become a notable critic of the Iranian regime. Now Ali
Daei says a Dubai bound flight carrying his wife and daughter was rerouted and forced to land on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, where the pair were
removed from the flight by authorities.
Officials have yet to offer a direct explanation as to why the soccer star's family was removed. But in a now retracted article, Iran's state run
news agency reported that his wife and daughter were barred from traveling as they had not informed authorities of their decision to leave the country
in advance, despite being ordered to do so.
Meanwhile, Iran's semi official news agency said his wife had been barred from leaving the country by court order over her alleged participation in
what they described as riots. The pair are not believed to have been arrested.
In an interview with Iranian media, Daei said he is in the process of arranging for their return to Tehran. He also said that he was not aware of
any travel restrictions placed on his wife or daughter.
This comes amid ongoing anti regime protests in the country which have been met by violence and oppression by the regime's security forces. The
footballing legend himself has been a vocal supporter of the protest movement, writing in a post on Instagram in September that, instead of
oppression, violence and arresting the Iranian people, the regime should solve their problems.
And in November, he said he had rejected an official invitation to the Qatar World Cup in a show of solidarity with Iranian protesters at home.
Now there are fears that Daei and his family may become the latest in a string of notable Iranian figures who have faced repression at the hands of
the regime for showing solidarity with protesters in Iran -- Nada Bashir, CNN, London.
NEWTON: To Israel now where Benjamin Netanyahu says he's close to finalizing the most right-wing government in Israeli history after
parliament cleared a potential roadblock today.
It passed legislation that will in fact allow Aryeh Deri, the head of an ultra orthodox party, to serve as a minister in the administration. That's
even though he's been convicted of tax fraud. Netanyahu is expected to be sworn in as PM Thursday.
Still to come tonight, from erupting volcanoes to monster storms, nature has not been kind this year to millions of people. Review 2022's top
NEWTON: While the world waffles on how just to handle climate change, the urgency has been on clear display all year for all of us. From Florida to
Pakistan, intense storms and other natural disasters, like when we just saw on Buffalo, have created havoc for millions upon millions of people.
CNN's chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, shows us the top 10.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm Bill Weir with the top 10 climate stories of 2022, a year that started with a bang.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: A tsunami advisory is now in effect for the entire U.S. West Coast and Alaska.
WEIR (voice-over): A undersea volcano near the island nation of Congo erupted with such force that the ash cloud blew 35 miles in the
stratosphere. The boom was heard in Alaska. And tsunami waves took two lives across the Pacific in Peru.
Number nine, some of the world's most important rivers fell to sobering levels, like Italy's Poe to the Germans' Rhine, including not so mighty
Mississippi, where the Army Corps of Engineers is still dredging as fast as they can to keep billions' worth of goods and grain moving to market.
At number eight, a surprise reversal in coal country gives the U.S. its most ambitious climate laws in history.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With unwavering conviction, commitment and patience, progress does come.
WEIR (voice-over): Biden promised to make America greener. It was all but throttled by West Virginia's Joe Manchin until four days of secret horse
trading with Chuck Schumer put the Inflation Reduction Act on the president's desk.
While environmentalists resent some of the concessions given to Big Oil, analysts say the rich incentives for people and companies to electrify
could get the country most of the way toward Biden's carbon-cutting goals.
At number seven, Nicole became the first hurricane to hit the Atlantic coast in the second week of November.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The intensity of the rain and wind have certainly gone up.
WEIR (voice-over): An unusually late arrival, about a 500 mile wind field, during outrageously high king tides. The combination cost five lives and
almost $2 billion in damages.
Number six, the 27th attempt at cooperation on climate action went into overtime as poor nations pleaded with rich ones to finally start picking up
the tab for loss and damages.
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: Clearly, this will not be enough.
WEIR (voice-over): In the end, almost 200 nations agreed to set up a fund to help the most vulnerable. But a global pledge to phase out fossil feels
was stonewalled by oil-producing nations.
Number five, an increasingly unpredictable water cycle brought the kind of floods seen once every thousand years. From Dallas, where they got a
summer's worth of rain in a day, to Death Valley, that set a record with two inches of rain in one of the driest spots on Earth; 43 lives were lost
in flash floods and mudslides across six Kentucky counties.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are all these people going to go?
Where are they going to live?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEIR (voice-over): The combo of heavy rain and rapid snow melt forced 10,000 to evacuate Yellowstone National Park as walls of water rearranged
entire landscapes in hours.
Number four, England, that green and pleasant land turned brown in 2022, as thermometers in the U.K. hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit and put an
unprecedented toll on firefighters.
Temperatures hit 106 in Spain as the European heat wave took thousands of lives.
Meanwhile, in China, records were smashed at hundreds of weather stations, the stifling heat lingered for 70 days.
Number three, the western megadrought brought Lake Mead to its lowest levels ever, exposing long-lost drowning victims and possible mob hits and
triggering the first-ever cuts for those last in line to use Colorado River water.
And the lake used to go, it used to go half a mile around the corner. And now it starts way back here. I cannot believe this.
While there is hope for a heavy snow pack this winter, it would take years of steady precipitation to refill Lake Mead and will likely inch closer to
Deadpool (ph) next summer.
From not enough water in the American West to way too much in Pakistan, at number two, a monsoon on steroids brought rains 500 percent above average
in some places as well as a dozen or more bursting glaciers. At least 33 million people have been affected, people responsible for less than 1
percent of climate altering pollution.
And at number one, the natural disaster of 2022:
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ian is here, John, we just felt it. Marked increase in wind speeds.
WEIR (voice-over): Hurricane Ian: when it roared from a tropical storm to a category three in a day, Hurricane Ian became the new poster child for
so-called rapid intensification, when warm water-fueled storms get so strong so fast, evacuation plans fall apart.
WEIR: This is just unbelievable, the amount of damage in this one neighborhood.
Ian's wind, storm surge and freshwater flooding toll is expected to cost over $50 billion and, so far, it has taken over 100 lives.
NEWTON: Thank you for watching tonight. I'm Paula Newton. I'll be back with "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."