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Isa Soares Tonight

Pope Asks The World To Pray For Former Pope Benedict; U.S. Considers COVID Measures For China Travelers; New York Woman Saves Stranger With Severe Frostbite; Interview With King Abdullah II Of Jordan About Hopes And Aspirations For 2023; New York Woman Rescues Man From Blizzard. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired December 28, 2022 - 14:30   ET



PAULA NEWTON, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: Hello and a warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Paula Newton in for Isa Soares. Tonight, the pope ask

the world to pray for his predecessor until the end. What we know about the condition of Pope Emeritus Benedict. Then the U.S. considers stepping up

testing for travelers from China as the world reacts to the end of zero- COVID.

Plus, how one New York woman saved a disabled stranger from deadly cold and fought to get him medical help in a blizzard. That incredible good

Samaritan story later this hour. Now, Pope Francis is asking for prayers for his very sick predecessor. Today, he called for a special prayer at the

end of his weekly general audience.

Ninety five-year-old former Pope Benedict XVI resigned nearly a decade ago. Now, the Vatican says his health is worsening. CNN's Delia Gallagher is

following all the developments for us from Rome, and she joins us there now live. What more do we know about his condition, Delia?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN REPORTER: Paula, at the moment, we know what the Vatican has given us from this morning, that his health has deteriorated,

they say due to old age. It was news, Paula, that Pope Francis actually broke earlier at his general audience as you mentioned when he asked people

to pray for the very ill Pope Emeritus. Here is a look at what we know so far.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): Prayers for a pope in failing health. In his globally broadcast general audience, Pope Francis called on the faithful to

pray for his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict as his health deteriorates.

JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO, POPE, CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): I want to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict who sustains

the church in his silence. He is very sick. We ask the Lord to console and sustain him and this witness of love for the church to the very end.

GALLAGHER: The Vatican says the 95-year-old's health has deteriorated due to the advancement of his age, and that he's been continually monitored by

his doctors. Once the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has been living alongside his successor, Pope Francis at the Vatican.

After making the almost unprecedented decision to resign from his role as pope in 2013. Announcing that decision, Benedict said his choice to step

down was made due to his lack of strength of body and mind.

JOSEPH ALOISIUS RATZINGER, FORMER HEAD OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: This is a decision I have made after much prayers, a fruit of a serene trust in God's

will. The deep love of Christ church. I will continue to accompany the church with my prayers and ask each of you to pray for me and for the new


GALLAGHER: With that resignation, Pope Benedict became the first pope to step down in nearly 600 years, but retained his title and continued to

dress in the papal white and make occasional public appearances. Born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger in Germany, and a childhood spent under the

shadow of Hitler's Nazi regime, Pope Benedict XVI has sometimes been a divisive figure.

Unflatteringly referred to as God's Rottweiler in his conservative defense of the faith. He was cardinal and pope during the years when the Catholic

Church's sex abuse scandals came to light and he spearheaded the Vatican's efforts towards a zero tolerance policy. However, after his retirement, he

suffered a reputational blow when the church commission report found he knew and failed to act against a pedophile priest while he was archbishop

in Munich 40 years ago.

Benedict denied the allegations. Even after his resignation, he continues to be a towering figure in the Catholic Church. And as his health declines,

there will be many sending him their thoughts and prayers.


GALLAGHER: And Paula, the Vatican did tell us that Pope Francis after that general audience did go and visit the Pope Emeritus, who of course lives in

a monastery just behind St. Peters at the Vatican. You know, the fact that the Vatican and the pope are coming out publicly to give this information

about the deterioration of the pope emeritus' health is unusual in itself, and suggests that it is quite serious. We are standing by for updates,

we'll bring them to you when we have them. Paula?


NEWTON: And Delia, I want to thank you for that as I know you'll continue to update us on this story. Delia Gallagher for us live from Rome,

appreciate it. Now, China insists it was not a failure, but the world is watching with concern as it abruptly scraps its stringent zero-COVID policy

even as cases surge there. Now, China took another step today announcing it will ease years of COVID regulations on airlines.

It's also dropping restrictions on international visitors. The timing of these rollbacks is causing some alarm, given China's explosion of

infections. Italy is just the latest country to impose mandatory testing on travelers from China and others, and that includes the United States could

follow suit soon. Our Selina Wang has more now from Beijing.


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): As China finally abandons zero-COVID and starts to open up, other countries are now

implementing restrictions. The U.S. is considering a testing requirement for travelers from China. U.S. officials said they're concerned about the

lack of transparent data from China including viral genomic sequencing, which makes it difficult, the U.S. officials say to identify any potential

new variants from China.

In response, this is what China's foreign ministry said. Quote, "we need all parties to work together scientifically against the epidemic to ensure

the safe movement of people between countries, maintain the stability of the global industrial supply chain, and promote the resumption of healthy

growth in the world economy."

China has always believed that the measures taken by countries to prevent the epidemic should be scientific and moderate, and should not affect

normal people-to-people exchanges. The irony here though, is that, since the start of the pandemic, China has had some of the strictest border

controls in the world.

But now that the country is finally starting to relax its border controls, and as cases are surging in the country, other countries are getting

nervous. China has also stopped reporting daily COVID cases on a national level, and it severely narrowed its definition of COVID deaths, only

reporting a handful of COVID deaths for the entire month.

So far, Japan, India, Taiwan and Italy's Lombardy region have put up COVID testing requirements in place. In fact, Taiwan and Japan said if the

traveler from China tests positive for COVID, they'll have to quarantine for several days. Japan has also restricted plans to increase flights to

and from China.

But look, It's not as if China has totally thrown open its own borders, China's border remains largely close to foreigners apart from a limited

number of business or family visits. The government has said it will gradually resume allowing in foreign visitors for tourism, but it has given

no timing. Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


NEWTON: I want to get more on this. On the U.S. response to China shifting COVID strategy, Kevin Liptak is live on the island of St. Criy(ph) -- St.

Croix, pardon me, where President Joe Biden is on holiday this week. Kevin, is the administration close to a decision on this? Because we know they've

been mulling this for the last couple of days.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, they are. I think administration officials do want to move quickly on this because of how

quickly things are moving in China. Of course, those restrictions that have been in place for many years have been lifted quite quickly, and American

officials are growing increasingly alarmed at what they're seeing on the ground there, perhaps more than the surging cases.

However, they're concerned about the lack of transparency, particularly, on this issue of genome-sequencing, they don't feel like they have a good idea

of what strains are potentially spreading in China, whether it's a new strain, whether it's some of the strains that are already out there in the

world, and that is one of the main drivers of this effort to come up with potential new restrictions on travelers from China.

So, we do expect to hear more about that soon. What White House officials say is that they're looking at other countries who have placed restrictions

on those travelers and are looking to do something similar. Things like testing travelers from China upon arrival. Things like a better tracking

mechanisms for travelers when they do arrive here.

And this all does kind of have echoes of the earliest days of the pandemic in 2020. When the United States imposed those strict travel restrictions on

travelers from China, but also other parts of the world. Now, what officials say that today is that, they're following the science and advice

of public health officials.

They're talking to their partners around the world to gather sort of a consensus about what to do. But it does show you some of the level of

distrust that still exist between the U.S. and China, particularly, when it comes to COVID. That was true in the Trump administration, and that has

continued in the Biden administration, whether it's about the origins of COVID the U.S. doesn't feel like China has been forthcoming enough with

what it knows.

And now, they feel like China has not been forthcoming enough with the data about its current surge. But Chinese foreign ministry says that the world

needs to work together to ensure that supply chains remain resilient.


But certainly, the U.S. feels like this is a step that they will need to take to protect American citizens. To protect people in America from these

potential new strains that could be circulating amid this latest surge, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, Kevin, and you are so right. Does it ever give us the echoes of the early days of the pandemic worldwide. Kevin Liptak for us. You will

bring us updates as we get them from the administration. Appreciate it. Now, Ukrainian officials are urging any residents still living in Kherson

to leave the city now.

Saying it's one of the most dangerous cities in the country right now. And that is saying something. Russia is relentlessly shelling the recently

liberated city with 23 attacks in just 24 hours. One target, a hospital maternity ward. Local officials say people are reluctant to leave or have

mobility problems that in fact make it difficult.

Now, we move to the east and give you an update where there is intense fighting going on around the city of Kreminna, and that is in the Luhansk

region, and of course, around Bakhmut, that's in Donetsk. And Russia is shelling gas infrastructure, putting more pressure on the damaged Ukrainian

power grid. Will Ripley brings us the latest on Ukraine's Winter of pain and sorrow.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So many tears for yet another victim of Russia's war in Ukraine. Mourners in Kyiv

paying their final respects to a fallen Ukrainian soldier. A husband, brother and son He was reportedly killed near Bakhmut. Intense fighting has

the city almost unrecognizable. Debris litters the streets, buildings are on fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A house is destroyed, there's a shop near the building, now it's not there anymore.

RIPLEY: In this besieged city across the country, millions are still living without power. Ukraine accuses Russia of persistently targeting

Ukrainian energy facilities, giving engineers little time to repair the grid before the next strike comes. Ukraine's energy minister describes the

situation across his country as really difficult.

Strikes have left Ukraine with a power deficit unable to meet the basic energy needs of the country. Fears are growing among Ukrainian officials

Moscow could be planning large strikes around new year's day. In this small village near Kherson, people are bracing for a bitterly cold Winter. A

Winter without power. Collecting firewood and other supplies to protect against plummeting temperatures.

TETYANA KOVALIVA, RESIDENT, KHERSON REGION (through translator): We will get through the Winter because we fixed the chimney and now we can heat the

house. We will get through it. We do not have any other option, where would we go?

RIPLEY: On top of all this, a war of words brewing between Moscow and Kyiv. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov issuing an ultimatum. Ukraine

must bow to Russia's demands, including giving up occupied Ukrainian territories, or else the Russian army will take matters into its own hands.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that won't happen. He is vowing to retake all captured Ukrainian ground.


Diplomatic negotiations seem just as gridlocked as the battlefield. Little sign of peace coming this holiday season in a conflict that continues to

grind on. Will Ripley, CNN, Lviv, Ukraine.


NEWTON: Still to come for us tonight. Hopes dashed at the U.S. border. The U.S. Supreme Court keeps a Trump-era immigration policy in place, leaving

thousands of migrants in limbo. We will go live to a border city struggling to cope. Plus, thousands of travelers in the U.S. are fed up with a very

popular airline or at least, the airline was popular. Hear what the CEO of Southwest Airlines is saying.



NEWTON: And welcome back. A key U.S. Supreme Court ruling is adding more uncertainty to the crisis at the U.S. border. Now, thousands of Central and

South American migrants have arrived in the past few months hoping a Trump- era policy calling for automatic expulsions would in fact be lifted. But now, the court has decided it will in fact stay in place, possibly for

months longer.

For those who made the perilous journey northward -- and it is dangerous, the future appears even more bleak. CNN's Rosa Flores shows us what they're



ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One year-old Brenda has no shoes. Her tiny feet bare on the cold pavement of an El Paso parking lot.

(on camera): Are you going to sleep outside again? What are you going to do?

(voice-over): Her parents, Anthony Blanco(ph) and Belinda Mattos(ph) say they wrapped this rosary around her ankle for protection when they left

Venezuela four months ago. And say, it has saved her life multiple times in the Darien Gap, a dangerous jungle between South and Central America.

(on camera): He says that the most dangerous part of the journey was through the Darien Gap. He and his daughter almost lost their lives three

times, and they say that they saw adults who died. They saw children who died.

(voice-over): Belinda's(ph) most recent brush with death, they say, crossing the Rio Grande into El Paso.

(on camera): She says -- she says that she thought that her daughter was going to die overnight because it was so cold. They had just crossed the

river. They were wet.

(voice-over): Desperate, Mattos(ph) says she started knocking on doors asking for help.

(on camera): She says that she prayed to God, that she hugged her daughter as tight as she could, and tried to warm her with her own body heat as much

as she could to try to save her daughter's life.

(voice-over): The Blanco(ph) family is part of the growing number of migrants who are crossing into the U.S. during this latest surge. This, as

the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump-era pandemic public health rule known as Title 42 remains in place while the legal challenges play out.

Migrants like them lined the streets of El Paso near a Catholic Church that turns into a shelter overnight. Many here have no money for transportation,

and some have no family in the United States.


FLORES (on camera): He says that they don't know anyone.

(voice-over): The Texas National Guard erected over 2 miles of fencing along the U.S. side of the Rio Grande in El Paso in the past week. The

barrier is not deterring up to 1,600 migrants border patrol that it's encountering every day, a federal law enforcement source says. Migrants

like Selina Valenna(ph), a Venezuelan mother of two, has decided to wait in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where she says shelters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Are at capacity, which means sleeping on the street.

FLORES (voice-over): Officials there say they don't know how many migrants are waiting in their city for Title 42 to end. Advocates and officials in

the three northern Mexican cities of Tijuana, Reynosa and Matamoros, estimate nearly 22,000 migrants are waiting in shelters, on the streets and

in camps.

As for the Blancos(ph), they credit the rosary with the tiny image of our Lady of Guadalupe for saving them during their journey.



NEWTON: And that was our Rosa Flores reporting there from the border. We now go to Leyla Santiago who is there at the shelter for migrants in that

Texas border city of El Paso. And Leyla, just been riveted by your reporting, by Rosa's reporting. You know, bring us up to date on what the

situation is on the ground now especially with the fallout from this court decision.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, everyone here seems to know that number 42. When you ask folks about that immigration policy, everyone has a

lot of questions because there's a lot of confusion but they're aware that it exists and that it could very much impact what their next move will be.

So, let me show you where I am and kind of what the situation is as I talk you through some of the things that I've been able to have conversations

about these migrants. We are at a shelter right now where they are connected to the church. A lot of folks coming in. Really just kind of

random citizens, dropping off food, dropping off supplies.

And when you come here, you will see that it is men, not only young men, old men, but also families, children, toddlers. Many of them sleeping on

the streets. And listen, when you talk to the city, they will also tell you that there is capacity. They have places to take them. But many of these

individuals do not want to go anywhere, will not trust getting on a bus for fear of deportation.

Some of them have told me they tried to enter legally, they were sent back, and so they found another way. And Title 42 could very much still impact

them. But it is not stopping that. It is not serving at least from what I see right now as a deterrent for -- say. And I want to show you on this

side. You can also see the line of migrants that are trying to just get food as I have spoken to them.

I have heard just nightmare stories, Paula, of what they dealt with in Mexico in terms of cartels, in terms of being robbed, being threatened,

being harassed. And so many of them now understanding that Title 42 will stay in place and could impact them. I have a feeling of uncertainty, of

anxiety, of fear for what's to come.

The city will tell you, they too are dealing with a bit of uncertainty because they're trying to figure out how they will deal with more migrants.

You just heard in Rosa's story, all the migrants that are on the other side of the border waiting to come in. So here in El Paso, they're actually

working with two vacant schools to set those up as shelters for those who may still be coming.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection setting up a temporary facility to increase capacity for processing of migrants. So even though, this is still

in place, Title 42 remains in place as this goes through the courts. It's still very much a concern for the folks here, because they see that there

could be potential of another surge coming in the days and weeks ahead, Paula.

NEWTON: It certainly has been a concern for the Biden administration. And as you point out so well, especially for those local communities who have

no idea how they're going to deal with thousands more crossing the border. Our thanks there to Leyla Santiago on the ground for us in El Paso,

appreciate it.

Now, meantime, it has been another day of frustration for stuck travelers in the United States. Thousands of Southwest Airlines passengers, yes,

still stranded. Southwest canceling thousands of more flights Wednesday and Thursday. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg calls it a complete


Lots will agree with him. And he's vowing to hold Southwest accountable. Southwest CEO issued a statement apologizing for the travel mess.


BOB JORDAN, CEO, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: I want everyone who is dealing with the problems we've been facing, whether you haven't been able to get to

where you need to go or you're one of our heroic employees caught up in a massive effort to stabilize the airline. To know is that we're doing

everything we can to return to a normal operation.

And please, also hear that I'm truly sorry. Here is why this giant puzzle is taking us several days to solve. Southwest is the largest carrier in the

country. Not only because of our value and our values, but because we build our flight schedule around communities, not hubs. I want everyone --


NEWTON: CNN's Nick Valencia joins us now from the busiest airport in the United States. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport where

stories abound, right? I mean, any sign of improvement and crucially, are they talking about ways that this mess can be avoided in future?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Such a great question. That's something that the Department of Transportation is going to work to get to the bottom

of in the coming days and weeks. And you would think, Paula, that the problem has been solved looking at the line here at Southwest which is

considerably shorter than it has been in past days.

In fact, it's a less short of a line than some other airlines here, you know, just off camera.


But what this story does tell you about the lack of line is how few flights people have to get on. There's no one in line because there's really no

flights to get on, lots of cancellations. In fact, since this saga started, more than a week ago, 15,000 flights have been canceled by Southwest, and

another 2,500, more than 2,500 flights have been canceled today. That's about 62 percent of the planes that they had anticipated putting up in the


And this experience is really testing the loyalty of some long-time Southwest customers. Earlier, I spoke to Michel Smith(ph). She's been

flying with Southwest Airlines she says for the past 20 years, but she got delayed this week in Washington D.C., ended up getting stranded here in

Atlanta on the layover, was put up in a hotel that had no running water.

To make the experience even worse, she says she's been a loyal customer, but after what happened this week, all of that is being drawn into



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every time the text bings, I'm like, another delay, another cancel, don't cancel.

VALENCIA: So it's one of those scenarios you believe it when you see it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, and we're pushing that -- actually, when we're lifting off. I will believe that we get to Tampa. I've been a long-time

Southwest fan, 20 years, companion pass holder, travel a lot. This year has been a bad one and they have really disappointed me.

VALENCIA: Do you have a message to the CEO if he's watching? What do you say to him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fix it. Fix it. He's got a lot of loyal fans and he's losing them left and right.


VALENCIA: There really is a lack of confidence from even those who had their flight scheduled to take off on time today. Many telling us that they

will believe it when they see it. And they'll finally breathe that sigh of relief when they get to where they need to go right now, though it seems as

though it is another long travel day for those traveling on Southwest Airlines, and really to emphasize this, it really is uniquely a Southwest

Airlines problem at this point.

The rest of Atlanta Airport is running smoothly, but Southwest continues to deal with this headache today, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, which belies the point that this was not all about the weather. I mean, we showed the apology from the CEO, I mean --


NEWTON: How are passengers reacting to that?

VALENCIA: You know, it's really landing flat with passengers. You know, you heard Michel Smith(ph) there just say fix it. I spoke to an 11-year-old

girl who really just didn't want to hear it. She was on her way to go visit her best friend in Florida. She was going to fly as an unaccompanied minor,

her flight again was scheduled to go on time.

She gets to the gate only to be turned away because of staffing shortages. They didn't have the staff to accompany her on her trip to Florida. So, in

her eyes, her experience, you know, this memory that she wanted to create with her best friend is ruined. Another woman I spoke to has been stranded

in the airport for the last two days.

She has no way she says to get back to Columbus, Ohio. She's broke, she says. They haven't even given her a refund on her tickets, so she's just

trying to figure out at this point without help to get there.

So, you know, doesn't really matter to some people here that we've spoken to, what the Southwest Airlines CEO is saying. They hear him apologize, but

to them, they just want to get over this. They're ready to be done with this, but this headache is going to continue for at least another day.


NEWTON: And holidays already ruined, right? All those stories you're giving us, this is not a needle in a haystack kind of anecdotal evidence.

Nick, appreciate you being there for us, appreciate it. Now, still to come for us tonight, an exclusive interview with King Abdullah II of Jordan who

warns about potential conflict as Israel's new right-wing government prepares to be sworn in.




NEWTON (voice-over): Now to a CNN exclusive: King Abdullah II of Jordan's is warning of a potential conflict over Jerusalem as Israel prepares to

usher in another new government but this time, with a familiar face.

Benjamin Netanyahu's right wing government is set to be sworn in Thursday. Our Becky Anderson sat down with King Abdullah in Amman to discuss this and

much more.



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): We know it as Bethany beyond the Jordan. On the east bank of the Jordan River, this is the exact location

where Christians believe Jesus was baptized. I have come here to meet with the custodian and regional political leader, King Abdullah II of Jordan.

ABDULLAH II, KING OF JORDAN: Great to have you back, how is everything?

ANDERSON: Very well.

How are you?


ANDERSON (voice-over): As we close out 2022, we're here to discuss the challenges facing this region; not least, his concerns about the region's

shrinking Christian population and why he believes plans to develop and protect this holy site are critical for the community's future in the

Middle East.

ANDERSON: It's an absolute pleasure to have you. I want to talk about why we're here and the significance of this. I do want to start with your

speech at the UNGA this year. I think it's very pertinent to what we are going to discuss. You began your address by saying there are alarm bells.


ABDULLAH: Numerous crises batter our world, crises that are increasingly interlocked, regional conflicts with international impact.

Today, the future of Jerusalem is an urgent concern. The city is holy to billions of Muslims, Christians and Jews around the world. Undermining

Jerusalem's legal and historical status quo triggers global tensions and deepens religious divides. The holy city must not be a place for hatred and



ANDERSON: Can you just reflect on 2022?

ABDULLAH: Jerusalem, we have always believed, is a city that should bring us all together but unfortunate issues by extremists on all sides to create

conflict and violence.

And the violence did pick up in the spring. We are the custodians for both the (INAUDIBLE) in Jerusalem. My concern is that the challenges that the

churches facing from policies on the ground, if we continue to use Jerusalem as a soapbox for politics, things can get out of control really,

really quickly.

ANDERSON: You described Christianity in Jerusalem as under fire.

Can you just explain a little further?

ABDULLAH: We're fortunate in this country and in Jerusalem to have the oldest Christian community in the world. They've been here for 2,000 years.

Over the past several years, we are seeing that they have become under pressure as a community. So the numbers are dropping, which is, I think an

alarm bell to all of us.

ANDERSON (voice-over): 2022 has turned out to be the deadliest year for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in two decades. And Jerusalem is a major


ANDERSON: There are fears of a Third Intifada possibly on the horizon.

How concerned are you about that prospect?

ABDULLAH: We have to be concerned about our next intifada. If that happens, that's a complete breakdown of law and order and one that neither

the Israelis nor Palestinians would benefit from.

I think there's a lot of concern from all in the region, including those in Israel, that are on our side on this issue to make sure that doesn't



ABDULLAH: So that is a flash or a tinderbox that if it flashes, it's something that I don't think we'll be able to walk away from in the near


ANDERSON: Benjamin Netanyahu is back in power. Commentators described that result as Jordan's worst nightmare.

Is it?

ABDULLAH: At the end of the day, the Israeli people have the right to pick whoever they want to lead them. And I think we're all big boys here. And

looking at the larger picture, we are all prepared to move on. So we will work with anybody and everybody as long as we can bring people together.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The new Israeli government will likely be the most right-wing in Israeli history, including incoming national security

adviser, Ben-Gvir. He has a long history of inciting violence against Arabs and Palestinians.

Pending new legislation, he could assume authority over the police force, including law enforcement at Jerusalem's holy sites.

ANDERSON: As custodian of those sites, do you believe the status quo and your role is threatened?

ABDULLAH: So you're always going to get those people that will try and push that. That is a concern. But I don't think those individuals are under

just a Jordanian microscope; they're under an international microscope.

So we have learned, as we always say, living between a rock and a hard place, you know, that this is just another Tuesday for us. If people want

to get into a conflict with us, we are quite prepared.

I always like to believe that we should look at the glass half full. But we have set red lines. If people want to push those red lines, we will deal

with that. But I have to believe there is a lot of people in Israel also that are concerned as much as we are.


ABDULLAH: As a Muslim leader, let me say clearly that we are committed to defending the rights, the precious heritage and the historic identity of

the Christian people of our region.


ANDERSON: Can you just expand on Jordan's role in promoting stability?

ABDULLAH: Jordan has been a refuge to early Christians and to Jesus Christ himself, who came here escaping persecution. This is, I think, something

we've always inherited.

My great-great grandfather gave sanctuary to Armenian Christians that we're looking for safety and security. And recently, over the past few years, as

you have watched, the actions of daish in Syria and Iraq, looking after Iraqi Christians and Syrian Christians here.

If we don't have any Christians in the region, I think that's a disaster for all of us. They're part of our past, they're part of our present and

they must be part of our future.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This spot (ph) is where Jesus Christ was baptized (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON (voice-over): They come from all over the world, every year, up to 200,000 pilgrims and tourists flock to this site where Jesus is believed

to have been baptized.

Now a master plan has been launched to build a pilgrim village with a museum amphitheater and accommodation, which according to the Baptism Site

Commission, will allow it to cater for up to 1.5 million visitors a year.

Rustom Mkhjian is the director general of the Baptism Site Commission.

RUSTOM MKHJIAN, DIRECTOR GENERAL, BAPTISM SITE COMMISSION: And its basic aim is to build facilities such as accommodation, museums, whatever is

needed by pilgrims basically. And the main intention is to receive millions of pilgrims and provide better services to enjoy their visit to the site.

ANDERSON: You have plans to develop and protect this site or the site adjacent to where we are as we speak in line with your role toward holy

sites under the Hashemite custodianship. Talk to me about these plans.

ABDULLAH: This is the UNESCO heritage site and it needs to be protected. We want to make sure that this is preserved for centuries to come.

What will happen adjacent to it, is what is the support to this wonderful and historical magical place?

So you know, a museum to talk about the history of Christianity and to look at creating botanical gardens that grow the ancient flowers and herbs of

the region and plants; training centers that allow different churches to come in and teach. Something that we can all be proud of 100 years from


I think one of the things that people misunderstand about this place is how inclusive it is. Almost 15 percent of the visitors that come here are

Muslim, because we revere Jesus Christ as the Messiah.


ABDULLAH: And the Holy Mary is the holiest and most important of all women in our history.

And so, this is an opportunity to break down those barriers and to show how proud we are of not only our historical Christian heritage here in Jordan

but the relationship between Christianity and Islam.

ANDERSON: How important is this site to Jordan?

ABDULLAH: From a historical religious point of view, this is Christianity's third holiest site. So of extreme importance to Jordan. And

because of the history tells of not only one of the first refugees being Jesus, may peace be upon him, you know, the waves of refugees that at least

in my time we have seen.

I think it started here and it's a story that tells the story of Jordan throughout the ages.


ANDERSON (voice-over): For decades, Jordan has been a safe haven for Christians and Muslims alike, representing a model of coexistence amid, for

the better part of history, a turbulent region. Nowhere is that more evident than downtown Amman during Christmas celebrations.

ANDERSON: Your Majesty, this project is one that will begin, one hopes, in 2023.

What are your hopes?

Let's close this on a positive note.

What are your hopes and aspirations for 2023?

ABDULLAH: At the end of the day, people just want to move on with their lives and feel an opportunity. So it's hard to rewrite the narrative. So as

challenging as 2022 was, as difficult as the dangers of 2023 are, there is an opportunity for us to move on. I have gotten away from the feeling that

politics are not going to solve our problems.

It's economic independence. So these are issues we have to deal with Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians. And I believe regional integration,

that is going to be the secret of us breaking down barriers.

When I'm invested in your success, because your success and my success, at the end of the day, means that we can move forward, whatever people think

about integration of Israel into the region, which is extremely important, that's not going to happen unless there's a future for the Palestinians.

And you've seen that recently through the Moroccan football team. And that's just that sort of a slight insight that, at the end of the day,

whatever the leaders do, if we cannot solve this problem, the street are naturally going to be sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. So we need to

build as opposed to destroy.

ANDERSON: Thank you very much, thank you.

ABDULLAH: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Wonderful, thank you very much.


NEWTON: Our thanks to Becky Anderson for that interview.

And now one of Russia's richest civil servants has died in India. Pavel Antov was a Russian sausage magnate and then he became a lawmaker. Indian

officials say there is nothing suspicious about Antov's death.

But he is in fact the latest of a dozen high-profile Russian business men who have died suddenly. Clare Sebastian has the story.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are plenty of questions around the circumstances of this death. Pavel Antov was a regional Russian

lawmaker and a member of Russia's ruling party, United Russia, which is closely aligned to President Vladimir Putin.

According to Indian police, he was traveling in Odisha state in the northeast of the country when he died by suspected suicide on Saturday,

falling from his third floor hotel room window.

Antov's death happened just two days after a friend he was traveling with, Vladimir Bydanov, also died, police say, from heart attack. Antov, who was

65, made his fortune manufacturing sausages in his native Vladimir region, just east of the Moscow region.

In 2018, He was listed number one on the Forbes list of the Top 100 wealthiest Russian civil servants. His net worth estimated at over $140


And during this year, he wrote a post on Russia's Facebook equivalent, apologizing for a, quote, "unfortunate misunderstanding with his WhatsApp

account," saying he categorically disagreed with a status update on the special military operation in Ukraine, blaming a technical mistake.

And affirming that he was, quote, "a supporter of the president, a patriot of my country and sincerely share the goals of the special military


CNN has not seen the original WhatsApp status, which has been deleted.

Meanwhile, the results of Pavel Antov's postmortem are not known yet. And Russia's consul general in Kolkata told Russian state media Monday, they

don't suspect foul play -- Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


NEWTON: Still to come for us tonight, an incredible story of kindness of strangers. Why one New York man owes his life to a family of complete



NEWTON: And to one determined woman in particular.


SHA'KYRA AUGHTRY, BLIZZARD RESCUER: I called the National Guard. I have called 9-1-1. I've called everybody. And they just keep telling me I'm on

the list.

I don't want to be on the list. I don't care if I'm (INAUDIBLE). This man is not about to die over here on 111. Y'all need to get this man some help.




NEWTON: Through the chaos of winter weather in the U.S. comes, yes, finally, we need it, a happy ending. A woman in New York became a hero

after taking in a man stranded in a deadly blizzard. That act of kindness saved his life. CNN's Gary Tuchman picks up the story from there.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The worst of Mother Nature bringing out the best of human nature. This is Buffalo resident

Sha'Kyra Aughtry on Facebook Live.

AUGHTRY: I currently have an older 64-year-old white man in my house. I found him yesterday. I heard him screaming for help.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): In the midst of western New York's blizzard, Sha'Kyra spotted and heard the man in terrible pain in a frigid cold

outside her house on the morning of Christmas Eve. Her boyfriend carried the man inside. That man is Joey White, seeing this picture at a Toronto

Blue Jays baseball game.

AUGHTRY: He got away from his home, that he lives in a group home, he told me.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Joey's sister says her brother is mentally challenged and does indeed live in a group home. He works at a movie

theater. May have gotten scared during the blizzard and tried to walk home from the theater. Getting lost in the heavy snow outside the mother of

three's house.

Sha'Kyra did her best to take care of him, to comfort him, feed him and pleaded for help with phone calls and on Facebook Live.

AUGHTRY: This man is not about to die over here on 111. You all need to get this man some help.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But her neighborhood was virtually impassable. Christmas Eve became Christmas Day. Joey was in immense pain with severe

frostbite on his hands.


Listen to Joe. How are you feeling, Joe?

Joe ready to go. He ready to go. He needs to go because he needs medical attention. I had to -- he had a ring on his finger. I had to use these to

cut the ring off of his finger. I'm not no surgeon.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): With her three children by her side, Sha'Kyra tried to comfort Joey.



AUGHTRY: You're feeling better?

You're trying to feel better?


AUGHTRY: Pardon me?

J. WHITE: I'm going to die.


AUGHTRY: No, you're not going to die. We're not talking about death. We see -- this how you know he needs help.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And that help was about to come. Good Samaritan showing up in a vehicle that could make it through the snow. Joey was on

his way to the hospital.

AUGHTRY: I'm right here. Joe.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And Sha'Kyra rode with him.

AUGHTRY: Jessie, I'm right here.

You OK?

J. WHITE: I love you.

AUGHTRY: I love you too, sweetie. You're OK.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Joey arrived at the hospital safely.

AUGHTRY: This man could have died, 64 years old, could have died outside. I wasn't letting that happen on my watch. And he wasn't going to die in

front of my kids.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Joey has severe frostbite and is in the ICU in the hospital burn unit. His sister, Yvonne, telling us it's touch and go

whether his hands can be saved. But overall, he's in stable condition. And she is so grateful for Sha'Kyra Aughtry.

YVONNE WHITE, JOEY'S SISTER: This woman did something that an angel would do, OK, to take in a perfectly stranger, a stranger. You took him in your

home on Christmas Eve.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Joey White's life was saved by a woman who cared deeply about a man she had never met.

AUGHTRY: Thank you. I'm right here. I'm right here.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


NEWTON: I have to tell you, that story just made my Christmas. And that hero, Sha'Kyra Aughtry, she spoke to CNN alongside the sister of the man

she saved. Both women reflected on how the incredible winter rescue has brought their two families together. Listen.


AUGHTRY: My family always taught me to have compassion. That's what I did. I just had to jump in, just jump in and do what I could do. And I tried to,

as long as the help could come to me. Me and his sister, we bonded over at the time throughout the course of the time of him being with me.

Y. WHITE: Honestly I'm sure he would've perished. Like I told Joey, we gained a family. I am looking at my sister.


NEWTON: Glad to report that they are thinking about a reunion in better weather for sure.

Still to come for us tonight, he's back. Nearly a year after a COVID related scandal shook the world of sport, we'll have details on tennis'

Novak Djokovic's return to Australia. Just ahead.






NEWTON: Now as the countdown to New Year's begins, the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square, I want to let you know it's getting a sparkly makeover.

Almost 200 new Waterford crystal triangles have been added to the ball -- you see them there -- each of them cut by hand.

This year's theme is cut on both sides of the panes. Listen to this.


TOM BRENNAN, MASTER ARTISAN, WATERFORD CRYSTAL: Each and every year, a brand-new theme and a brand-new cut pattern. This is actually one of the

triangles here from this ball behind me. So I can't drop this because it has got to go right here.

And you can see these intertwining, beautiful love hearts on this, cut on both sides, designed by Irish craftsmen. This is what is really special

about this. And this is part of this new theme, greatest gift, the gift of love.


NEWTON: OK, remember, you can celebrate the new year this weekend with CNN International. We will feature special coverage right across Asia, Africa,

Europe, Latin America and, of course, right here in the United States and even the metaverse as the world welcomes in 2023.

"NEW YEAR'S EVE LIVE" will follow celebrations right around the globe. You don't want to miss it. It begins midnight in Sydney, 9 pm Saturday in Hong

Kong, 8 am in Eastern time.

I want to thank you for watching tonight but stay with CNN. I will be right back with "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" in a moment.