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Isa Soares Tonight

IMF: Third Of World Economy Facing Recession This Year; China Abandons "Zero-COVID," Seeks More Growth In 2023; Actor Jeremy Renner Injured In Snow Plowing Incident; Lula Da Silva Sworn In As Brazilian President; Police: About 65,000 People Have Now Paid Homage To Benedict; Attorney: Idaho Suspect To Waive Extradition. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired January 02, 2023 - 14:00   ET




ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone. I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Russia reels after a massive strike against its forces in

eastern occupied Ukraine. What we are learning about Kyiv's alleged involvement and Moscow's response.

Then, bidding farewell to a legend. Brazilians say their final goodbyes to the football icon Pele. And welcoming a new era again in Brazil, as

President Lula da Silva returns for another term in office. And thousands arrive in Rome to pay their respects to Pope Benedict XVI. We alive in St.

Peter's Square view.

But first, this evening, Russia's Defense Ministry says dozens of Russian troops were killed by a Ukrainian rocket strike on Russian occupied

Donetsk. Now it happened just after midnight on New Year's Day. Russia puts the number of dead at 63. But Ukraine's military says it's still clarifying

how many Russian soldiers died. It acknowledges the attack happened, but it's not claiming responsibility.

For the third straight day, Ukraine's capital is weathering airstrikes from Russia. Ukraine's military says it's intercepted dozens of shells and

Iranian-made drones fired at Kyiv overnight.

Our Ben Wedeman joins me now from Kyiv for the latest. So, Ben, let's see, what more information do we have from the Ukrainians about this missile

strike in Russian occupied Donetsk. What are they telling you?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this happened in the town of Makiivka, which is, as you said, in Russian occupied Donetsk.

We understand it was a vocational school that was housing a large number. We don't know specifically how many Russian soldiers.

Now, there's a great deal of difference between the number given by the Russian, 63 dead and the Ukrainians initially came out and said 400 Russian

soldiers were killed in this strike. But they now say they are trying to clarify those numbers.

Now, interestingly, military bloggers in Russia who are an important, interesting source of information are blaming the high death toll on what

they say was the fact that either in the vocational school itself or very nearby there was a large cachet of ammunition that exploded when it's

believed Ukrainian HIMARS. This high -- this rocket system that's extremely deadly supplied by the United States were fired at this vocational school.

And so, yes, the Russians are coming out and admitting this surprisingly high death toll. We shall see how it goes down politically there. Now,

overnight, Kyiv once more, basically the fourth out of the last five days, the capital has been struck by what's believed mostly these Shahed-136

Iranian-made drones that explode upon hitting their target.

Now, the Ukrainians say most of them have been shot down, but what we've seen is the authorities here are telling people to conserve electricity

because of damage to the power infrastructure that continues to be, it seems, the target of these Russian strikes. Isa?

SOARES: And on that attack inside Russian controlled Donetsk, do we know -- I mean, you surprised at all, Ben, that even Russia is admitting giving us

numbers because it's something they've been very apprehensive to give before.

WEDEMAN: Yes. I mean, if you talk about, for instance, the death toll of Russian forces in Ukraine, they really haven't given a definitive number

now for months and months. I think the last time was back in the spring. So to come out and actually give a specific number is unusual, but it seems

that the information is out.

And so, I think when we're trying to figure out how many people were actually killed, how many soldiers were killed in this strike, it's

probably somewhere between perhaps a low Russian number and a very high Ukrainian number. Isa?

SOARES: Yes. We'll wait for clarification, of course, on that. Ben Wedeman there for us. Thanks very much, Ben. Appreciated. Ben joining us there from

Kyiv in Ukraine.

Well, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and CNN Military Analyst Cedric Leighton joins me now from Washington. Cedric, great to have you on the



So I'm not sure if you heard Ben Wedeman there. There seems to be some confusion in terms of the numbers, these claims that we're hearing from

Ukraine that perhaps hundreds of Russian troops in Russian occupied eastern Ukraine have been killed. The Ukraine -- the Russians are saying 63.

Ukrainians are now looking exactly at this figure.

Is it hundreds, is it 400, is what they initially said. Nevertheless, as we wait to find out to get clarification, Cedric, what is the significance in

your opinion of this and why house troops next to ammunition storage here?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, that is a very bad idea from a tactical military standpoint to house troops near anything that can

blowup and explode is a very big mistake and that would be something that would get a commander fired in most militaries in the western world at


So this is the, you know, tactical -- from a tactical perspective, it is a very important thing that the Ukrainians have done because they put at risk

every single Russian encampment that's within the range of the HIMARS system. So if the reports are accurate that the Ukrainians use HIMARS

system, that would mean that anything in the range of about 80 kilometers or so from the front line is at risk by Ukrainian artillery and the

Ukrainian HIMARS operators.

So that means that the Russians have to be very careful because the HIMARS system is one that can target very accurately and clearly the Ukrainians

had some pretty good intelligence that allowed them to (INAUDIBLE).

SOARES: What does this suggest to you then, Cedric, about the way that the Ukrainians want to take the next step of this war? How do you see the

strategy here from the Ukrainian side?

LEIGHTON: Yes, from the Ukrainian side, they're definitely going to be using as much precision targeting as they possibly can. The Russian way of

war is the exact opposite. It's basically to throw a bunch of rockets in a fairly indiscriminate fashion. They will target in a broad sense but the

Ukrainians have the ability to target in a very specific sense and they have the imperative of not wasting ammunition.

So what they're doing is they're making sure that what they can hit is something that has military significance and that it is also something you

said that is basically valuable from a tactical or a strategic perspective in the military sense. This was not a civilian target, this was a pure

military target and the Ukrainians made it very clear that they are going to go after those kinds of targets as opposed to the civilian

infrastructure that the Russians are targeting.

SOARES: Yes, and why we've heard, of course, Ukrainians calling for more sophisticated long-range weapons. Meanwhile, as you heard Ben Wedeman said

the relentless attacks against Ukraine continue. I think something like 39 Iranian-made drones were shot down and worth remembering as well for our

viewers, Cedric, this is the third straight day of intense strikes. How long do you think that Putin can continue to sustain this offensive?

LEIGHTON: Well, I think that the Western estimates that the Russians are about to run out of drones and munitions are --


LEIGHTON: -- probably a bit optimistic from the Western standpoint. So what I believe is going to happen is we can probably see the Russians do this

kind of thing for at least another month, and we have to presume that the Iranians are clandestinely supplying the Russians with these drones, as

well as potentially with munitions. And that, of course, could have a significant impact on the battlefield.

So it's not -- you know, things aren't going to be over very quickly in spite of the Russian difficulties with their supply chain, in spite of

their notorious corruption, and all the different disorganized aspects of the Russian military, those are significant factors. But the Russians will

still be able to field summing for the next month or so, in my estimation.

SOARES: And given what you've just laid out then in that case, Cedric, I mean, what we've been hearing from Ukrainian officials for the last several

weeks, in fact, is them warning of a big Russian offensive in the New Year. I mean, does Russia again have the capability to do this? And what would

that look like, in your opinion?

LEIGHTON: So this is a very interesting question. You know, one of the things that people have been looking at is the possibility of the Russians

and Belarus forces getting together and using the Belarus forces to come in from the north. So it is a possibility, although so far we have not seen

major troop movements that are permanent that like we saw in December of 2021.

We don't see anything like that yet. So it appears as if Kyiv is not in immediate danger, but that could change.


So what I think the Russians are going to do is they're going to try to redouble their efforts in the northeastern part of Ukraine, perhaps around

Kharkiv, certainly in the Donbas area, that eastern part of Ukraine that has been occupied, parts of which have been occupied for so long since

2014. Those areas are definitely at continued risk.

I believe, you know, specific fighting around Bakhmut and Kreminna, name two possible areas. That's going to be pretty intense. It's already very

intense. And it could be, you know, the way the Russians will look at this. They will try to maintain a degree of presence there that will look very

much like a World War I style battlefield.

The Ukrainians will try to get out of that and try to break out of that kind of a stalemate and perhaps move into the northeastern area. So it's

going to be a difference in tactics, a difference in strategies, and it's, you know, it's going to be a difference really, between stationary fighting

and rapid movement. And that, I think, is going to be the big difference now.

SOARES: Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric -- Military Analyst Cedric Leighton, thank you so much, Cedric. Always great to get your expertise and

analysis. Appreciate it, and Happy New Year to you.

LEIGHTON: Happy New Year, Isa. Thank you so much.

SOARES: Thank you.

Now in Brazil, a 24-hour public wake is underway for beloved sporting star Pele. In a poignant full circle moment, the late footballer's coffin

currently lies at the center of the pitch, where he shot to fame over six decades ago. Thousands of flocking to Santos and bidding the hero farewell

ahead of his funeral on Tuesday.

And as the nation's government changes hands, Brazil's newly sworn in president is set to pay his respect sometime today or tomorrow. Luiz Inacio

Lula da Silva took the oath of office on Sunday, as you can see there after defeating outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro.

CNN Stefano Pozzebon and Julia Vargas Jones are at the stadium in Santos and they both join me now. And what scenes we have been seeing outside

Santos there? And it's quite poignant, isn't it, Stefano, because it was Pele who put Santos on the map. So this must be an incredibly emotional day

for those who remember seeing him and those who've never seen him but feel like they knew him.

STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN JOURNALIST: Oh, yes, indeed. I mean, what an emotional day. What an emotional moment of history we're witnessing here in

Santos, Isa. According to the Santos Football Club, already more than 10,000 people have passed to pay their respect to the greatest footballer

of all time, the legend Pele.

And it's about 2,000 per hours that we have been seen below us. It's really a poignant moment. It's striking to see these taking place in the middle of

a stadium, which is normally a place we link with the images of cheerful fans, chants, screaming and of course, joyous moments. Pele scoring the

vast majority of his 1,281 goals in the stadium.

Well, now the stadium is silent to mourn the king of football. It's very respectful. There is a slow, low samba in the background. And apart from a

few fans who clapped their hands and just cry his name out, it's been a very, very solemn procession of, I would say faithful. We're witnessing

history in two locations today in Rome with the Pope Benedict -- the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Well, here in Brazil, the atmosphere is rather similar because, you know, as you have covered Brazil before, this country takes its football very,

very seriously and well, Pele was the greatest pontiff in the history of football. Isa?

SOARES: Indeed. And Stefano, what have people been telling you? I mean, how are they remembering him?

POZZEBON: Yes, we had the privilege to speak with several people who knew Pele by name over the past couple of days. We've been here since Thursday.

And it was interesting to hear them saying, well, Pele will never -- the figure Pele will never die. Pele will always be in our hearts. It will

always be in the heart of the Brazilian people and everybody who loves football.

So, and I also think it's a striking moment when you see -- you can probably see behind my back, there are two tents and two lines. One here,

just behind my back, is the average public, the people from Santos, the people from the areas who come in and pay their respect. On the other side,

in the other walkway, it's the VIPs.

It's an atmosphere that sort of reminds you of a state funeral, with, for example, the President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, coming to pay his

respect. So this two dimension of Pele, the public figure, the image, the icon, the ambassador for everything in Brazil, and on the other side, the

guy from next door, a very humble guy who made Santos famous, but always remained tied to his roots. That's how his people are reminding him, as one

of them, finally saying goodbye to this earth. Isa?


SOARES: Yes, absolutely. And Julia, to you, I mean, this week, this Pele's goodbye, as we outlined there, really taking place at a time of great

change in Brazil, with President Lula returning to office in a very symbolic ceremony.

I want to show of you as this video, we saw President Lula making his way up to Planalto, as you can see there, and he was flanked by individuals

representing, as you can see, their Brazilian diversity and inclusion. Such a powerful message, Julia. Just talk to us about this moment in history

right now.

JULIA VARGAS JONES, CNN PRODUCER: Quite powerful and a nod to the priorities that we'll see in the Lula government. His third term in office,

twelve years after he left in 2010. We're seeing there a very famous indigenous leader here in Brazil, someone who was nominated to the Nobel

Peace Prize in 2020.

We got representatives from the worker class, from women, people with disabilities, children, communities of color, again showing what Lula will

prioritize in his government. A whole 180 from President Jair Bolsonaro. In his first day, he's already reversed some of the policies from Bolsonaro

making tougher to own and sell guns in this country, reversing a policy where you're giving back power to the environmental agencies, Isa, to make

environmental crimes easier to fight.

And also bringing in a very popular policy of the Lula government, which is a guaranteed income for poor families. That is really the core of Lula's

policies. It's something that he's built his entire political career over, right, fighting poverty, fighting hunger.

But in that image, notably absent is President Jair Bolsonaro. He fled, or I should say, he left the country on Friday, going to Florida without

giving much of an explanation of why. Now, we do know that the country had been kind of holding its breath all the way until Sunday because we weren't

sure if there would be a peaceful transition of power.

Bolsonaro himself said he wasn't going to accept the result of elections that he didn't win. His supporters went to the streets, blocked highways,

marched to military headquarters, demanding a military intervention. So in this climate, Bolsonaro leaving the country, in a way, opened the door for

everybody to take a big sigh of relief.

But, today, a group of parliamentarians on the left-wing Party of Hazel (ph), requested that he be arrested. It's a preventative arrest for the

attacks on democracy, precisely these attacks that he had talked about for months, even before the election results had come in, Isa.

And I want to say also that Bolsonaro and his family are being investigated on allegations of corruption, and he also is being investigated for his

mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and spreading misinformation. So, very uncertain future for the former president going forward.

SOARES: Uncertain future, but a new chapter for Bolsonaro. And a final farewell, of course, to the king of football. Thank you very much. Julia

Vargas Jones, Stefano Pozzebon, thank you very much.

Well the late Pope Emeritus Benedict is lying in state, as you heard Stefano mentioned there in the Vatican at St. Peter's Basilica. He passed

away on Saturday at the age of 95. His death marked the end of an unusual situation, really. A former pope and his successor lying living almost side

by side. Benedict retired, if you remember, in 2013, becoming the first head of the Catholic Church to do so in 600 years.

And that paved the way for Pope Francis, who paid his respects on Sunday. Well Italian leaders, including President Sergio Mattarella and Prime

Minister Giorgia Meloni filed by a short time ago as you can see there. Police say about 65,000 people have turned out so far.

Fred Pleitgen is standing by at the Vatican for us. And Fred, Benedict was one of the most important figures, I think it's fair to say, inside the

Vatican. But he was also controversial too. How is he being remembered?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that he was controversial, and he was the head of the Catholic Church and

the Pope at a fairly controversial time for the Catholic Church and at a time when it was in a lot of turmoil. And that, in effect, at some point

will probably taint his legacy to a certain extent.

And if you look at today, some of the people who walked past here, there were a lot of people who said that, yes, they felt that, for instance, John

Paul II was certainly a pope who was more outgoing, more forward (ph) and of more of someone who moved the masses. I think a lot of people certainly

did say that they felt a lot of respect for Pope Benedict as well, and do feel that he was someone who was very important for the Catholic Church.


And I think looking back at that, it's very important to see the time that he spent as pope. Those a little less than eight years that he was the

pope, but also, of course, the four decades that he spent here in the Vatican really becoming probably one of the most powerful people inside the


And there are even some, Isa, who say that he was probably more powerful before he became pope than when he was actually pope or he was really

running this place where he was really shaping the doctrine of the church.

At the same time, though, of course, the big thing that many remember him for as well is that he did then take that step. He didn't then pull the

consequences and say that he felt that he was no longer fit, but with his body and with his mind to lead the Catholic Church and then step down. I

think many people believe that that was a very strong step, that he didn't stay in that office until he died because he realized that he was becoming

more frail.

And then you see it today. There was a lot of outpouring, there were a lot of people who came here on this first day to pay their respects. You

mentioned it, 65,000 people. And from what we saw here, there were obviously a lot of Italians, also a lot of people coming from Germany. He's

of course a pope who's from Germany especially tied to Bavaria area there.

But in general, a lot of people saying that they do want to pay their final respects and they do believe that this is the end of an era for the

Catholic Church, Isa.

SOARES: Fred Pleitgen for us there in St. Peter Square. Thanks very much, Fred. Thanks very much.

And still to come tonight, the family of the suspected Idaho murderer is speaking out. Hear how they are reacting to their son's arrest. That's



SOARES: The suspect in the killings of four Idaho college student plans to waive extradition from Pennsylvania tomorrow, expediting his return to

Idaho. Bryan Kohberger's attorney said his client is eager to clear his name.

The suspect's family is speaking out, releasing a statement saying in part, they care deeply for the four families who lost their precious children.

They will continue to let the legal process unfold and would love and support their son and brother as a family.

Well, joining us now from Moscow, Idaho is CNN's Veronica Miracle, who has been following all developments for us. So, Veronica, what do we know about

this suspect at this hour? And do we know if there's a connection between him and the four victims? What are you hearing from authorities there?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, that is certainly one of the first questions that we asked at the press conference. What is the

connection here? What was the motive?


And the police are saying that all of that information that we want to know is in a probable cause affidavit that is sealed until he returns to the

state of Idaho. That is state law. And so, that extradition hearing tomorrow is going to be critical, it sounds like. According to his public

defender, he plans to waive extradition. So he could be back in Idaho as early as tomorrow. It could take a couple of days.

We've asked the Moscow police chief here what that process is going to be like, and for security reasons, they will not reveal that to us. We do

understand that his family is going to be in court tomorrow, and also they have not been able to contact him since his arrest. But they put out that

statement that you read saying that, you know, they support their son and their brother, they want to see this process play out and that they have

been cooperative with law enforcement throughout this investigation.

You asked what do we know about the suspect. Well, he's a Washington State University graduate student who is also a teaching assistant. And we've

heard from some of his students, one to telling CNN today that he seemed a bit off in the last couple of weeks. His apartment, Kohberger's apartment

over in Pullman, which is about 20 minutes from here, was searched over the weekend.

And we went and spoke with a woman who lives directly below him, and she said that over the last four months that she has been living below him with

her family. She said that it has been incredibly disruptive because he would be up all hours of the night. 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 in the morning,

vacuuming, moving things around. She said that it was very disruptive for their life. They were constantly waking up.

And the few interactions she did have with him, she said he was pleasant, but she always felt uncomfortable because he would be up all hours of the

night. She also says that her husband saw that white Hyundai Elantra outside. He was cleaning it off one day, getting ice off of it, and they

just did not make that connection that he could possibly be the suspect.

So a lot of, you know, here in the community of Moscow. There's some tension over in Pullman, but here in Moscow, an incredible amount of relief

after seven weeks of waiting and wondering who the suspect is. Now that there has been an arrest, you can certainly feel the relief in this

community. Isa?

SOARES: Absolutely. Veronica Miracle there for us. Thanks very much, Veronica. Really appreciate it.

Well parts of California are bracing for more floodings, as forecasters say a storm will move into the region by mid-week. The U.S. state is still

trying to recover from heavy rains that killed at least two people over the weekend. CNN's Camila Bernal shows us how emergency crews save lives,

carrying out some dramatic rescues.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Record breaking rain across California, leaving at least two dead and many stranded.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The water kept getting deeper and deeper.

BERNAL (voice-over): In Sacramento County, an estimated 40 people rescued from their cars, according to a local fire official. Here's a view from


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's amazing how strong it is, how strong the flowing water is.

BERNAL (voice-over): Others were told to evacuate or shelter in place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been here about six years, and that's the deep -- that's worse than it's ever been.

BERNAL (voice-over): The storm system causing significant flooding in urban areas, and leaving creeks and rivers in Northern California overflowing.

GABRIEL COKE, WATSONVILLE, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: When you see the water moving this quick and rising like this, it's a little unsettling.

BERNAL (voice-over): On Saturday, 4.75 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period in Oakland, the wettest day on record. Roads were so impacted that

the National Weather Service said closures were too many to count.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I opened one of my gates, there was so much water, it was gushing in. It knocked me over.

BERNAL (voice-over): Thousands were also left without power Saturday and Sunday. And while crews worked to restore power, the overall cleanup could

take days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is crazy. I've never seen it so deep here.


BERNAL: And many here in Sacramento County are still being told to be careful to stay home because a lot of the roads like the one you see here

behind me, are still flooding. We've seen a number of tow trucks, many, many cars that were stranded. But despite all of the headaches, the rain is

good for the state of California. The rain totals exceeded about 8 inches here in the state.

We don't know what that's going to do to drought conditions, but of course, the water is always welcome here. Isa?

SOARES: Thanks very much. Camila Bernal there.

And still to come tonight, economy is slowing around the world and a global recession warning. We'll look at the IMF's worrying forecast up next with

Richard Quest. And how China's economy could face a bumpy start to New Year with COVID cases on the rise. You are watching CNN.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. A third of the world's economy is expected to be in recession this year. That dire warning comes from the head of the

International Monetary Fund. The reason? Kristalina Georgieva says it's because the world's three big economies, the U.S., E.U., and China are all

slowing down simultaneously. And the IMF says even countries which are not in a recession may feel like they are with hundreds of millions of people

feeling the global impacts.

CNN's Business Editor-At-Large Richard Quest joins me now. Richard, good to see you. Happy New Year. Let's talk IMF. Are you surprised at all from this

morning from the IMF? Because you and I were talking about this, what, about November, October time?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes. Before we get to that, since this might be the only cheerful thing I say over the next three

minutes, Happy New Year to you, Isa. Look --

SOARES: Thank you.

QUEST: -- the reality is nobody should be surprised. The medicine that the global economy has been taking for the last nine months in terms of higher

interest rates is now going to start to go through the economy like a dose of salts, because that's what it was intended to do. It was intended to

slow down the economy.

Now these are, you can use any analogy, waves, headwinds, whatever you want, but as the economy goes into these headwinds, slows down,

unemployment will rise, consumers will feel the pain of what's going on. Prices are still high. They're not getting as much increases, ending up in

a recession. I think whether or not your country, wherever you're watching, I think whether you actually hit a technical recession or not is

irrelevant. It will feel awful.

SOARES: It will feel awful because there's three big economies are all -- it's going to have a knock on effect like you were saying.

QUEST: Oh, yes, I mean, emerging markets are certainly going to feel very severely the pain of this. China is the big driving force there, bearing in

mind Q1, first quarter of '23 in China is going to be horrible.


The country is beset by record numbers of COVID. So never mind lockdowns, people are away from work, because they're physically ill. And I think that

that's going to take its effect on Southeast Asia, ASEAN and all other parts of the world, then you add in the U.S. slowing down quite

dramatically, and the E.U. will be in recession. And the good -- that's the bad side. The good news, in a sense, is it's going to be short and sharp.

It's not going to be particularly brutal, I don't think. It's not going to be the sort of recession we had in the early '90s. Or for those of us that

do remember the '70s, anything like that.

SOARES: So in terms -- you're talking about -- let's talk about the patient. What's the medicine here? What's the -- are we --

QUEST: Interest rates.

SOARES: You were talking interest rates.

QUEST: Interest rates.

SOARES: Interest rates right around, but the U.S. seems to have a handle at it from your -- in your view, Richard.

QUEST: Well, yes, because the Fed has raised rates, as you know, it's nearly tripled interest rates. But what's fascinating, I mean, they're up

to nearly 4 percent of a 4 percent plus, and they're going to go to 5 percent. So, we've got a few more. But remember there is this six to nine-

month lag between when you take the medicine and you feel the effect. And we've been taking the medicine quite quickly. So, it's all in the system,

waiting, if you will, to sort of go -- come forward.

And I think what you're going to notice is you're going to feel people just -- it's just not going to feel good. Unemployment is going to rise in all

the major economies, you're going to find government stretched for money, and people are going to say, when is this going to end? The good news is by

Q2 and Q3 of next year, we should be looking at the other side of it. If in the absence, God forbid, of an exogenous event out of Ukraine, we should be

looking at the other side.

SOARES: Well, that is -- well, you did end on a good note after all. See? You were so pessimistic there, Richard Quest.

QUEST: Good to be with you.

SOARES: Good to see you, Richard. Thanks, Richard. And Richard will be back with more, of course, in about 20 minutes or so on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."

Well, as Richard was saying, China is reporting economic growth of at least 4.4 percent last year, but that rate could slow in 2023 is the country

fights a sharp resurgence in COVID cases. More than a dozen nations around the world already taken steps to stop the possible transmission of COVID

from Chinese visitors.

One of the latest is Qatar, which will require a negative PCR test starting on Tuesday, and Morocco will begin banning all arrivals from China on the

same day. While China insists the recent COVID surge there is under control, but malls and hospitals are overwhelmed by explosion of cases. The

government is determined to press ahead with its decision to rollback its harsh zero-COVID policy, seemingly no matter what. Our Selina Wang reports

that's just one of the challenges facing Beijing in the new year.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: People in China will take any opportunity to celebrate. The country is finally opening up after years of lockdowns,

abandoning its zero-COVID policy. There's hope that 2023 will look more like that. This year, China even managed to pull off the Beijing Winter


Here we go. We're taking off.

I flew into Beijing for my previous posting in Tokyo to cover the games in January.

First thing I saw walking off the airplane is a sea of hazmat suits.

With literal walls separating us from the rest of China.

He said the police will take me if I were to walk out of the gate.

In 2022, China became a giant sanitized bubble under constant high-tech surveillance. The country growing more isolated, as ties free with the West

and grow tighter with Russia. Military tensions rise over Taiwan. While the man who's calling the shots, Xi Jinping, stepped into an unprecedented

third term as China's supreme leader this year, his goal is to make China great again and turn it into a technological superpower.

And not just on Earth. This year, China successfully launched crewed missions to its new space station, fueling national pride. 2022 also marked

a milestone for China's national animal, 15 panda cubs were born at that Chengdu Panda Research Base alone. And next year, China is preparing to

host the Asian Games, an event that people hope will boost the COVID- battered economy and morale. There's relief and joy that people have their freedom back finally in 2023. There's hope people in China can party and

travel without fear just like they used to.

Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, a famous actor critically injured in a snow plowing accident. The latest on his condition when we come back.



SOARES: Well, actor Jeremy Renner is in critical but stable condition today after an accident while he was plowing snow. Renner was airlifted to a

hospital in the Reno, Nevada area. There is no word what caused the accident, but authorities say Renner was the only person hurt. Renner's a

world-famous movie star as you know best known for playing Hawkeye in Marvel's Avengers movies. Let's get the latest now from CNN Entertainment

Reporter Chloe Melas. Chloe, good to see you. I mean, what -- do we know what happened here? Do we know how he's doing

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Limited details right now. But what we do know is that this took place in the morning of New Year's Day.

Jeremy Renner, he is known to use snowplows at his home, which is in the Lake Tahoe area, which is right there in Reno, Nevada, right outside of it.

And, you know, he posts these videos of himself clearing his own driveway with the snowplows and nearby streets. And we know that this took place

very close to his home early in the morning. We know that he was airlifted to a local hospital with traumatic injuries, like you said critical but

stable condition.

A representative for Jeremy telling CNN this morning that he is surrounded by his family, that he is receiving "Excellent care." But this is a very

tough situation and we don't know exactly what happened. Did he fall off the snowplow? Did it roll back on him? A lot of fan speculation on social

media right now, we are expecting to get some more details in the next couple of hours. But, again, very scary situation. And, you know, he is

known to work with this heavy machinery. This is something that he does often. And in Nevada they received unprecedented snowfall recently. So

again, more details are emerging as this continues to progress.

SOARES: I know you'll stay on top of it for us, Chloe. Thank you very much. Of course, we wish him a speedy recovery.

Now just weeks after his explosive Netflix series, Prince Harry is about to share new revelations about life in the Royal Family in two big TV

interviews. The Duke of Sussex will say that he wants a family and not an institution, and that he misses his relationship with his dad, as well as

his brother. Max Foster got a sneak preview for you.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Prince Harry's Memoir releases next week on January the 10th and this is all part of the buildup. Two

interviews, one with ITV in the U.K., one with CBS in America. In the ITV interview, Prince Harry returns to some familiar themes.


According to the promotional material that's been released, he talks about the leaking and planting of stories. He talks about the palace treating

them all as an institution rather than a family. He also says he would like to have his father and his brother back. And he feels as though the Royals,

he intimates this at least, that the Royals feel it's better to keep the Sussexes as the villains. As far as the interview with Anderson Cooper on

CBS is concerned, this is what we learned from the promotional material.


ANDERSON COOPER, AMERICAN BROADCAST JOURNALIST: One of the criticisms that you've received is that, well, OK, fine, you want to move to California,

you want to step back from the institutional role, why be so public? You say you tried to do this privately.

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: And every single time I've tried to do it privately. There have been briefings and leanings and planting of stories

against me and my wife, you know. The family motto is never complain, never explain. But it's just a motto. And it doesn't really hold --

COOPER: There's a lot of complaining and a lot of explaining --


COOPER: -- in private -- being done in -- through leaks?

PRINCE HARRY: Through leaks. They will feed -- we'll have a conversation with the correspondent and that correspondent will literally be spoon fed

information and write the story. And in the bottom of it, they will say that they've reached out to Buckingham Palace for comment. But the whole

story is Buckingham Palace commenting. So when we're being told for the last six years we can't put a statement out to protect you, but you do it

for other members of the family, that becomes a point when silence is betrayal.


FOSTER: No response yet from Buckingham Palace or the Royal Family to Prince Harry's latest comments. They didn't respond either to the recent

Netflix series. This has been their policy in response to any controversial comments made recently by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Max Foster, CNN,


SOARES: And still to come tonight, her heart will go on but what about her legacy? Why some fans are asking Rolling Stone think twice when it comes to

a list of the Greatest Singers of All Time.



ARETHA FRANKLIN, SINGER: R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me.

WHITNEY HOUSTON, SINGER: And I will always love you.

MARIAH CAREY, SINGER: and then a hero comes along with the strength to carry on.



SOARES: And you'll be humming these for the rest of the day. What musical legends. You were just listening to three of the top voices from Rolling

Stone's new list of the 200 Best Singers of All Time. Topping the list as you heard that Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday,

and Mariah Carey.

Not on the list though, you may have noticed, this lady right here, Celine Dion. Though Ozzy Osbourne made it at 112. Celine's fans were outraged and

wondered why the Canadian singer was snapped. But the magazine says it write the greatest singers, not necessarily the greatest voices with

Beyonce ranked at number eight. What the criteria used by The Rolling Stones, if you're asking, was originality, influence, depth of their

catalogue, and breadth of their musical legacy, with Prince and Elvis Presley in the top 20.

Of course, there's plenty of room for debate, especially if you're a fan of Taylor Swift who was at number, don't panic, well, maybe you should, 102,

maybe should be higher, what are your thoughts? Tweet me at IsaCNN and let me know your favorite singer of all time. If they're on the list, don't

message me. Just tell me the ones that are missing.

And theaters on Broadway are filling up again after COVID-19 led to their longest shutdown in history. One of the most talked about shows this season

is a musical, exploring the life and legacy of music legend Neil Diamond. Lynda Kinkade spoke to some of the people behind A Beautiful Noise, excuse




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The life of one of the best- selling artists of all time now set on stage.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 40 Top 40 hits. 120 million albums sold.

KINKADE: Neil Diamond was a kid from Brooklyn, New York who had planned to enter medical school. Instead, he entered the Music Hall of Fame.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She got the way to move me.

DIAMOND: Cherry, baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She got the way to move me.

KINKADE: Tony nominee Will Swenson stars as the younger Neil Diamond.

WILL SWENSON, ACTOR: I think the secret to doing this show is lots of sleep and lots of caffeine maybe.

KINKADE: Another Tony nominee, Mark Jacoby, plays Diamond now.

MARK JACOBY, ACTOR: I'm still counting.

KINKADE: So you play title roles in the Phantom of the Opera, the judge in Sweeney Todd, the wizard in Wicked. What was it like when you heard that

you had the role of Neil Diamond?

JACOBY: A bit overwhelming, frankly, because it's not just playing Neil Diamond. The show is about Neil Diamond. It's his life. And in the case of

our rehearsals here in New York, in front of that person 70 feet away, but it's so hard not to be thinking about what does he think and how is he

reacting to this? And does he hate me? Or does he love me or something in between?

DIAMOND: And long as I can have you here with me.

KINKADE: Neil Diamond toured for nearly 50 years. But in 2018, he was forced to stop after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In a note in

the Playbill, he says "My heart and soul would tour until the day I die. If only my body would cooperate."

KINKADE: What input did Neil have in the show? Because I understand you went to his house with a draft of this musical.

ANTHONY MCCARTEN, WRITER: Yes, I was kind of misled. They said just deliver it. But when I got there, they invited me in and seated me down at this

table and said can you perform the entire musical for me? And I go what? Here we go, one, light's up, Neil, and do the whole thing. It was kind of


KINKADE: It really hits --

MCCARTEN: But at the end, he said get your producer on the telephone, so we call the producer and he's spoken to the phone three words, I'm a believer.

KINKADE: "I'm a believer." Words from the hit song Neil Diamond wrote for The Monkees, a clear endorsement. New Zealander Anthony McCarten, four-time

Academy Award nominee, is the show's writer. He's also the screenwriter behind the Winston Churchill drama, The Darkest Hour, and the Queen biopic

Bohemian Rhapsody.

KINKADE: People go for the music, but they want a good story, right?

MCCARTEN: Ohm, they absolutely do. Not only want a good story, they want to hear something they've never heard before.

KINKADE: Four-time Tony nominee Steven Hoggett did the choreography.

STEVEN HOGGETT, BRITISH CHOREOGRAPHER: With a show like this creating big high energy rock star moments is in the music.

KINKADE: Broadway was battered by COVID.

KINKADE: For 18 months, Broadway shut down, went dark. What impact did that have on you and other performance?

JACOBY: There was nothing, literally nothing in the way of live theater. So it was devastating. You know, I know so many people who left the business

and without any intention of coming back.

KINKADE: The longest running show ever, The Phantom of the Opera, is set to close in April, 35 years after opening on Broadway because it was

struggling to sell enough tickets to offset costs. Attendance in January was the lowest it had been since 2003. Now the Broadway league says

capacity is closer to 90 percent.


And shows like Tina are once more touring.

Here on Broadway, theatergoers are starting to return in large numbers after the longest shutdown in history, and things never seemed so good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So good. So good. So good.

KINKADE: So, you're a local New Yorker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am local New York, yes.

KINKADE: And what's it like having Broadway back close to full capacity?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's amazing. It was a really dark two years.


DIAMOND: Good times never seemed so good.

KINKADE: Remarkably, when the curtains rolls on opening night, Neil Diamond willed his body to perform once more.


KINKADE: Lynda Kinkade, CNN, New York.


SOARES: Well, the climate protest group Extinction Rebellion in the U.K. has a New Year's resolution, cause less chaos from throwing fake blood to

blocking roads, if you remember, disruption has been part very much of their image, but no more. The climate advocacy group says these types of

demonstrations are a thing of the past, at least for now. They acknowledge their stunts have changed very little.

They're now saying this. This is our quote of the day for you and through for tonight. "This year, we prioritize attendance over arrest and

relationships over roadblocks." That is destined for this year. It's my producer's New Year's resolution. Thanks for watching tonight. Do stay

right here with CNN. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is next, Richard Quest. I shall see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.