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Isa Soares Tonight

Bolsonaro Supporters Storm Key Government Buildings In Brazil; Russia Claims To Capture Key Territory Near Bakhmut; Prince Harry Speaks Ahead Of Tell-All Memoir; Bolsonaro Supporters Storm Key Govt. Buildings In Brazil; Supreme Leader Calls Anti-Govt. Protests "Acts Of Treason": Thousands Of Travelers Flow Into China. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired January 09, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ZAIN ASHER, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Zain Asher in for my colleague, Isa Soares. Tonight, shocking

scenes in Brazil after supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro storm the country's congress, presidential palace and Supreme Court.

We have a live update from Sao Paulo just ahead. Plus, heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine as Russia claims to capture key territory near Bakhmut. And

accusations are flying as Britain's Prince Harry previews his tell-all memoir. What we're learning ahead of this highly anticipated release.

We begin with the fallout from what's being called a terrorist attack on the fourth largest democracy in the world. Brazil's president is back at

work today in a vandalized presidential palace, determined to show political stability after a mob stormed all three seats of power.

Many are comparing the riots in Brasilia to what happened in the U.S. on January 6th, that insurrection. But a spokesperson for President Luiz

Inacio Lula da Silva says they, as in what happened in Brazil, was even worse. Incredible. Supporters of former leader Jair Bolsonaro overran the

presidential palace, congress and the Supreme Court on Sunday, claiming the recent election he lost was rigged.

Officials say at least 70 people were injured, hundreds were arrested. Security forces have now dismantled a protest camp of Bolsonaro supporters,

saying that it was used as a de facto headquarters for the attacks. Bolsonaro, who is currently in the U.S., says the pillaging and invasions

of public buildings crossed the line.

Yet, critics though accuse him of essentially laying the groundwork for months with his repeated claims of fraud. Our Rafael Romo has more.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): Brazil boiling over. Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

stormed key buildings in the country's capital, Sunday, breaching security barriers and temporarily occupying the country's congress, presidential

palace and Supreme Court.

Masses of protesters flooded the country's seat of power, many dressed in the colors of Brazil's flag, yellow and green, fueled by anger and distrust

over Bolsonaro's defeat in a run-off election last October where he lost by less than 2 percentage points to current President Luiz Inacio Lula da


Protesters threw objects and scaled the roofs of buildings while clashing with police who responded with tear gas. At least, one protester was seen

sitting at the desk of Brazil's congress president.

CNN Brazil reports the floor of the congress building was flooded after the sprinkler system activated when protesters attempted to set fire to the

carpet. By evening, police began dispersing the rioters from buildings and arrested hundreds of people who were detained in buses before being taken

to the police station.

President Lula da Silva who was inaugurated just a week ago described the events as barbaric, and vowed to punish the people responsible.

LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, PRESIDENT, BRAZIL (through translator): Those people that we call fascists, we call them everything that's abominable in

politics. They invaded the government headquarters and they invaded the congress like vandals, destroying everything in their path.

ROMO: President Lula da Silva also blamed his predecessor for the lack of security in the capital where Bolsonaro supporters have been camped out for

over a week. Bolsonaro who is currently in Florida denounced what he called the depredations and invasions of public buildings in a tweet, adding that

peaceful and lawful demonstrations are part of democracy.

But critics say Bolsonaro may have stirred up the crowds by repeatedly saying without evidence that he questioned the integrity of the country's

electronic voting system.

(on camera): The intensity of Sunday's protest shows that last year's presidential election is still unfinished business for some Brazilians and

a sign of just how divided the country is. Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.



ASHER: All right, let's get more perspective now, excuse me, from Oliver Stuenkel; he's a professor of International Relations and Political Science

at the Getulio Vargas Foundation at Sao Paulo. Oliver, thank you so much for being with us. The fact that the police failed to prevent this

insurrection, what does that tell us? Do you think that they sort of willfully, there may have willfully here ignored the risk?

OLIVER STUENKEL, PROFESSOR, GETULIO VARGAS FOUNDATION: A lot suggests that there may have been the case. After all, it's been quite evident that

something like that could happen. In fact, since the attacks on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, analysts have been saying that there is a high risk

that something similar could occur in Brazil. Bolsonaro is clearly inspired by Trump, and after the attacks in Washington, Trump's son actually said

that, quote, "with better planning, the invaders could have achieved their aims."

So there is clearly rooting for the attackers back then. Bolsonaro has not accepted explicitly the legitimacy of the Biden government in order to

produce this narrative that without presenting any evidence that the elections were rigged. And he has not really done enough to defuse the

sentiment among many of his supporters, that he should remain in power.

And thousands of Bolsonaro protesters have explicitly called for military coup in Brasilia over the past weeks. So it's quite evident that there was

a risk that, that could happen. And when yesterday, protesters began to march for several miles, the police and the armed forces could have

certainly done more to prevent this from happening. So I think a lot of evidence suggests that there may have been connivance, or at least tacit

support for the attackers.

ASHER: How much is Bolsonaro to blame? And now obviously, there's going to be investigations in terms of who is directly responsible, who financed it,

who paid for it, et cetera. But just -- I mean, you touched on this. He refused to concede the election. He obviously is in awe of President Trump,

and he refused to attend the inauguration of his successor. I mean, how much is he to blame, regardless of how much or how little involvement he

may have had?

STUENKEL: Well, Bolsonaro has left the country just before the inauguration of Lula announced that. People say that he may have done that

to create sort of a plausible deniability, in saying, well I was not in the country, I can't really support -- I can't really control my supporters.

But I mean, over the past years, he has fanned the flames of polarization, has consistently said that the electoral -- the voting system in Brazil is


And that has led to a profound sense of chaos among many of his supporters who were unsure whether they could trust the vote. So in a sense, the

quality of public debates and discourse has deteriorated quite significantly over the past years. So, I think he is clearly the central

figure in this.

Now, investigations will begin now as to how to address the problems that the protesters or attacks reveal. Because this is also a symptom, not only

of millions of Brazilians who think that Lula is not the legitimate president, but also of profound anti-democratic sentiments in the military

police and the armed forces. And I think that will be one of the key challenges that Lula will have to face now that he is president.

ASHER: Because yes, what these protesters were trying to achieve was essentially a coup. I mean, they wanted to achieve a coup d'etat. It wasn't

just about impeding a peaceful transfer of power like in the U.S. because Lula was already president. So essentially, what they wanted was a coup

here. And for Lula, it is such an awkward way to start your presidency.

I mean, how does -- how does the country heal from this? And what role can the current president play in the healing of divisions in Brazil?

STUENKEL: I agree with you. I think that the idea was to create sort of havoc and chaos, and then perhaps convince the army to intervene. Now,

President Lula has sought to project normality, that's of course rather difficult because there is a lot of physical damage that has been done to

congress, to the Supreme Court.

Weapons have been stolen from the Supreme Court of those policemen who are responsible for protecting the area. And of course, the big question is

now, to what extent can Lula reestablish a trust, working relationship with the armed forces? Because a lot of people say, you know, perhaps he cannot

fully trust the security establishment and all that in a country that's facing tremendous economic challenges.

And Lula's plan was actually to focus primarily on economic issues now that he is president. Now, this issue that emerged will occupy a lot of

bandwidth in the public debate. And I think that will also make it more difficult to deliver, you know, big reforms in the first months of his



ASHER: All right, Oliver, thank you so much, we appreciate you being with us. Right, U.S. President Joe Biden is in Mexico as I speak for his first

work trip abroad this year. He arrived in Mexico City early Monday for a two-night visit. Mr. Biden is going to be meeting with Mexican President

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and also Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

They're all going to be having a regional summit. Migration concerns, of course, top of the agenda as the U.S. faces a record-breaking surge of

crossings at its southern border with Mexico. Our White House correspondent MJ Lee is in Mexico City. So MJ, just walk us through what President Biden

hopes to achieve.

And also, I mean, this -- what's happening on the U.S. border, on the southern border is certainly a political liability for the president. What

are his options at this point in terms of resolving the crisis?

MIN JUNG LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, let me first give you a sense of what the president's first day here, full day will look

like. He arrived here last night in Mexico City, and then this evening right behind me at the national palace, he is going to have his bilateral

meeting with the Mexican president.

And then the two leaders will be joined by the Canadian prime minister for a ceremonial dinner. You know, obviously, this is the first time that the

U.S. President has visited Mexico since 2014. And the U.S.-Mexico relationship has been really fraught at times, particularly during the

Trump administration.

So, you can definitely expect that President Biden and the Mexican president, when they are together, they will try to highlight areas of

cooperation between the two countries, the fact that there is goodwill between the two countries. But you are right that the issue of migration is

going to be top of mind for the two leaders, and it is an incredibly a complicated issue for the two countries.

Take for example, the fact that just this last week, the Biden administration announced a new immigration policy, an expansion of the so-

called Title 42 program. And a part of that agreement was Mexico agreeing to accept up to 30,000 migrants back into Mexico. People that are rejected

at the U.S. border coming from poor countries.

And that really sort of highlighted the political reality for U.S. President Biden, that this is an issue, the record number of migrants

trying to go into the U.S. border. That it is a problem that he simply cannot solve on his own. He needs partners like Mexico to try to keep the

situation under control. He of course, has also called on the U.S. Congress to take action and take on comprehensive immigration reform.

Which is, as you know very well, has been incredibly elusive in Washington D.C. And then I think you make a really good point, that, you know,

yesterday, when the president went to the U.S. southern border for the first time, he went to El Paso, Texas. This was a trip that was meant to

show the president sort of taking in with his own eyes what the situation is.

But the optics ended up being very delicate and fraught there too, and ultimately, he ended up not seeing or meeting with any of the migrants at

the border and sort of seeing some of the images that our colleagues have been reporting on at the U.S. southern border for the last several weeks.

ASHER: All right, MJ Lee live for us there, thank you so much. Well, Ukraine says that Russian forces are conducting a brutal chaotic assault on

a small town near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. They say that Russian troops are, quote, "covering even their own fighters with fire in mad scramble to

capture the town of Soledar."

The head of Wagner Group, the mercenaries Russia has hired to help them wage war says that one of the main reasons they want territory in that

region so badly is to control a system of vast, underground mines. Whatever the reason it's making life hell for the residents who are still there.

Scott McLean is in Kyiv for us.

It's been really difficult -- I think that's an understatement, for Ukrainians to maintain control of Bakhmut at this point. How much longer

can they continue to go on?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, OK, so Zain, I think there's two separate issues here. There is Bakhmut and then there is Soledar. So first,

Bakhmut. Bakhmut seems to be a real fortress for the Ukrainians. The Wagner chief that you mentioned just said recently that the reason why the

Russians and his troops are making or having such difficulty making in- roads there is because, he said every house in that town is like a fortress.

And that the Ukrainians have defenses set up every 10 meters or so. And so it is extremely challenging to actually make headway there. But the

Ukrainians have been holding the line. This is a place where the frontline has maybe shifted 50, 100 yards, and one day and then it'll shift the same

amount the other day.

And there's been heck of a lot of blood spilled to move the frontlines even that much. But the Russians are also interested in Soledar that you

mentioned as well.


This is a town about 10 kilometers outside of Bakhmut. And according to the Donetsk People's Republic, the Russians have managed to capture a village

right next to Soledar. And the deputy defense minister said just today that the Russians, despite previous attempts that have failed to capture

Soledar, the Russians have managed to regroup, put more troops on the frontlines, bring in more equipment and they are now in the process as we

speak of launching a powerful assault with multiple-launch rocket systems with artillery, with mortars as well.

And this is not just regular Russian troops. This is also Wagner troops, the head of Wagner as you mentioned said that he's particularly interested

in the mine shaft that exists in Soledar. This is really ideal place to protect troops down there, you can also store equipment down there. The

list goes on of why this would be potentially very valuable for the Russians to actually capture.

The difficulty for the Ukrainians right now, is of course, despite the town being absolutely decimated, there are still civilians left behind. And so,

the Ukrainian military has been going, trying to convince people to actually leave this town. But they say that there are some very stubborn

holdouts, some of the most stubborn are actually some of the most elderly people.

Some of the people who very likely need to evacuate for their own personal health and safety the most. But they say that these people are just so

attached to living in their own houses for so long that they are extremely reluctant to pick up and leave everything they've ever known and go into

the unknown. Zain?

ASHER: All right, Scott McLean, live for us there, thank you so much. All right, still to come tonight, family feuds, bombshell allegations, and a

monarchy in crisis. We'll have all the latest surrounding Prince Harry's memoir up next.


ASHER: Now, to a monarchy under the microscope. Prince Harry is accusing his stepmother Camilla, Britain's queen-consort of leaking stories to the

media to quote, "rehabilitate her image". It comes amid a flurry of bombshell allegations as the duke of Sussex previews his memoir, "Spare",

which is out on Tuesday.

Speaking to multiple broadcasters, he says he's currently not speaking to his father or brother. But he says nothing he has written is actually

intended to hurt his family. Our royal correspondent, Max Foster has more.



HENRY CHARLES ALBERT DAVID, PRINCE OF SUSSEX: I love my father. I love my brother. I love my family. I always do. Nothing of what I have done in this

book or otherwise has ever been any intention to harm them or hurt them.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Prince Harry justifying his bombshell expose of the royal family. The latest revelation, that Camilla, the queen-

consort leaked stories in a campaign to be queen.

DAVID: With the family built on hierarchy, and with her on the way to being queen-consort, there were going to be people or bodies left in the

street because of that.

FOSTER: Then there was the family's distrust of Meghan.

DAVID: He's changed. She must be a witch.

FOSTER: Prince William and Kate didn't get on with Meghan from the get-go, he says.

DAVID: Some of the things that my brother and sister-In-law, some of the way they were acting or behaving definitely felt to me as though,

unfortunately, that stereotyping was causing a bit of a barrier to them really sort of, you know, introducing or welcoming her in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean specifically?

DAVID: Oh, American actress, divorced, biracial. There's all different parts to that and what that can mean. But if you are, like a lot of my

family do, if you're reading the press, the British tabloids --


DAVID: At the same time as living the life, then there is a tendency where you can actually end up living in the tabloid bubble rather than the actual


FOSTER: He said he never accused the family of being racist when he and Meghan previously said someone had commented on their son's skin color. He

also admits to being naive about the way his family would be treated.

DAVID: What Meghan had to go through was similar, in some part, to what Kate and what Camilla went through, very different circumstances. But then

you add in the race element, which was what the press, British press jumped on straightaway. I went into these -- incredibly naive, I had no idea the

British press were so bigoted -- hell, I was probably bigoted --


DAVID: For the relationship with Meghan.

FOSTER: The duke of Sussex says his relationship did alter him but for the better.

DAVID: Yes, I did change. And I'm really glad I changed. Because rather than getting drunk, falling out of clubs, taking drugs, I've now found the

love of my life.

FOSTER: Harry says he doesn't speak to his father or brother anymore. He was denied a seat on the plane to Scotland with them when Queen Elizabeth

died. So, has he burned bridges with the rest of the family completely after sharing even more secrets?

DAVID: Well, they've shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile up until this point. And I'm not sure how honesty is burning bridges. You know,

silence only allows the abuser to abuse, right? So I don't know how staying silent is ever going to make things better.

FOSTER: Max Foster, CNN, London.


ASHER: CNN royal historian Kate Williams joins us live now from London to discuss Harry there saying, you know, I don't know how staying silent could

actually make things better. I mean, what do you make of that? Because some people would say that, you know, speaking out in this way, especially if

your intention is to one day have a relationship with your family members again, that speaking out like this, it might not be the smartest thing to


KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Well, Zain, he said he wanted to have a reconciliation. The final words he said with Anderson Cooper was about

the reconciliation, the family, that's what he wants. But at the same time, he also says it is a full scale rupture between him, his brother and his

father. Also with the wider royal family, with Kate, with Camilla, and I don't see a way of going -- of really building this bridge.

Because it's certainly very clear that Harry feels the relationship was so damaged by what he calls the leaking, the painting of stories against him,

that it was so damaged by that. Because honestly, as he puts, isn't damaging it further. So he feels he speaking out isn't going to change


But certainly, we understand from sources, he's been briefing the press here, that Buckingham Palace is angry that William is fuming, that there

probably won't be a role for Harry and Meghan in the coronation even if they wish to come. So, it does seem to me as if there's a stalemate. Harry

would like a reconciliation and an apology. Buckingham Palace and Charles and William feel, I think, certainly, that he shouldn't have spoken out and

they are angry with him.

ASHER: Were you surprised that -- about Harry's revelations that William and Kate were pretty icy toward Meghan Markle from the get-go? And that

even if his family are not racist, there's certainly a level of unconscious bias would have been at play.

WILLIAMS: There are so many revelations in this book. And revelations in the book, revelations in the interviews. And this was, I think, as you say,

Zain, a very important revelation. Saying that he felt from the beginning that there was stereotyping, that's the word he uses about Meghan --

divorced, American actress, biracial.

And he talks about unconscious bias, he talks about stereotyping, and certainly, for some reason, she was not seen as the right person. And that

was what William and Kate felt about her.


And that is, I think, really quite a very severe accusation to make. If there's stereotyping going on, and the stereotyping is going on, on the --

on the behalf of the man who will be king and his wife who will be queen- consort, Harry really isn't holding back. He is saying there was bias and stereotyping, not just in the press, the racist press against Meghan, but

there was bias and stereotyping within the royal family.

ASHER: You know, a lot of people, you know, talk about the fact that Meghan and Harry on the surface are so different. Obviously, she is black,

he is white, he comes from, you know, a very sort of wealthy, noble family, and obviously, her background is very different from that. But the one

thing I think that they do have in common, at least, right now is that they both feel like they have been utterly betrayed by members of their family.

After this book, how much more sympathy or less sympathy, do you think that Harry garners from the British public and also from the American public


WILLIAMS: Yes, the word betrayal has been used a lot, particularly Harry said silence is a betrayal when they haven't stood up for Meghan and they

haven't stood up for Meghan. And recent times, when there was a very misogynists, racist article against her published here in the U.K., and a

comment piece. When they said, this is silence, it's betrayal. He uses the word betrayed. He feels betrayed.

And that's very clear. But certainly, I think, there may be more revelations to come. You've got to remember, there are two more books in

his book deal. It was a four-book deal. There are two more books to come. There may be -- maybe a book from Meghan, and maybe further memoirs from

Harry, he may get further interviews.

I think certainly, he's -- there are a lot of revelations here. But I don't think he's told all of his stories. And I think there is some he's keeping

back, and some he will say more on. And you know, when you read it, it's just so heartbreaking. This little boy who was told his mother was -- had

died, and he still, for 10 years, he told Anderson, 10 years he still thought that maybe she'd gone off for a break --

ASHER: So sad --

WILLIAMS: And she was coming back. So, both, there's -- this is portrait of a dysfunctional family. And such a sad little boy at the heart of it. A

sad bereaved child.

ASHER: Many people are saying that the source of revelations that are coming out of this book are what you'd expect from a tabloid, not a person

-- not from a person who apparently hates the tabloids. What do you make of that?

WILLIAMS: It's interesting isn't it? Because the tabloids, they've always tried to find out stories about Harry's drink and drugs and girls. And you

know, the ladies he was going out with. And now Harry has actually put all that out there in his memoir. All about drink, all about drugs. He says I

want to be accountable. I want to be honest.

And it does seem though as a sort of hypocrisy practice going on. It's all very well when the newspapers expose Harry's drink and drugs, but not when

he talks about it himself. And I think there's something there. But certainly, you know, all people in public, well, not all. Many people in

public life write memoirs, celebrities, politicians, actors, and they often write intimate details about what has gone on in their lives.

So, that is part of a memoir. You write about intimate details. But I don't think that the royal family had any idea what was going to be in this

memoir. And certainly, I think it's damaging to them, particularly among the groupings that Charles is struggling to win over, young people of

color, people across the commonwealth, countries that wish no longer to have Britain -- the British monarch as head of state.

And it is damaging, there are lots of revelations. And I think Harry has got, you know, varying amounts of sympathy. There's lots of opinions.

Everyone has got an opinion on it here in the U.K.. And I certainly think that perhaps this isn't everything. That there may be more to come. And

Harry feels as if nothing is harmed by doing this. He is going to carry on. He is going to speak out, and he wants to speak his truth.

ASHER: Right, Kate Williams, live for us there, thank you so much.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

ASHER: All right, still to come tonight, Brazil's president is vowing justice after the worst attack on that country's democracy in decades.




ASHER: Back now to our top story, the riots are over and the protest camps have been cleared, but the investigation is just beginning into the worst

attack on Brazil's democracy in decades. Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro stormed the Congress presidential palace and Supreme Court Sunday, fueled

by the former president's repeated claims of election fraud. Earlier, I spoke with Christopher Sabatini, a senior fellow at Chatham House. We began

by discussing the comparison to January 6 on Capitol Hill.


CHRISTOPHER SABATINI, SENIOR FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE: They're frighteningly similar. The truth is we're seeing now that both cases, they storm the

Congress. In the case of Brazil actually, stormed the Supreme Court, Congress, and the presidential palace. You know, Donald Trump Jr. had

traveled to Brazil several times, Donald Trump Sr. had embraced Jair Bolsonaro. He now claims that he condone -- he condemns, rather, the

violence. But the truth is, is he's been stoking this for a long time, even before the elections.

There were audits of the electoral machines, audits conducted also by independent reviewers. We confirm that there is no chance for theft, but it

continued this. And quite simply, you can't, you know, give your people the gasoline, the matches, and then point them to the house and then claim the

arson is not your fault. He's been stoking this for a while, as has Steve Bannon, as you said. It's quite sad, actually, that we're seeing the spread

of, if you will, sort of right wing, anti-democratic fervor across the hemisphere.

It's funny, just tweeted earlier, William Kristol, the neoconservative commentator wrote that in the 1960s, we worried about Fidel Castro and the

spread of communist revolution. Now we worry about Donald Trump and his revolution. And that's absolutely right.

ASHER: Yes. It's interesting you touch on, you know, whether or not Bolsonaro was indirectly responsible for this. I mean, could he have done

more? He didn't technically concede the election. He never attended the inauguration. He's currently in Florida. I mean, obviously, there's going

to be an investigation into ultimately who is responsible for this and whether or not Bolsonaro is at all to blame. What does an investigation

into that look like, do you think?

SABATINI: First of all, there's been a rumor for a long time that this was planned. I think we all sort of heaved a sigh of relief. When the elections

occurred, the results were accepted by the Supreme Court, by even Bolsonaro's supporters in the Congress. And while he did slink away like a

poor loser and flee to Florida, the truth is, is it looked when the inauguration occurred a week and a day ago that maybe the violence had

passed, although there were encampments that were surrounding military barracks with Bolsonaro supporters calling for the military to intervene.

But what had been rumored for a long time actually turned out to be true, is that there was really the fear that Bolsonaro supporters would stage an

insurrection in particular states that are favorable to Bolsonaro where the governors are pro-Bolsonaro politicians, and this was true in the case of

the governor of the Federal District where Brasilia is. He's now actually been removed from power Governor Rocha.


And his security chief was the Justice Minister for Bolsonaro. So -- and he was actually in Florida over the weekend. So, I suspect and I don't want to

engage in any rank conspiracy theories there. There's plenty of those going around. But people knew that that was going to occur. It was planned on

social media. The Bolsonaro supporters had been saying for days that the buses were going to pick up the supporters and take them for a march on --

to Brasilia.

So, there had to be some elements of complicity within the government's, the various government, both state and federal, that allowed this to

happen. Luckily, the -- now the Federal Army has come in and is imposing order, and Lula has declared a state of siege, and they've detained more

than a thousand of the vandals, which is really what they are. But, you know, I think it's -- it is concerning that this was allowed to creep up in

this way, was allowed to occur. Let's hope that Lula can take this, if you will, sort of the tailwind of this really shocking moment and use it to try

to build some consensus in the country and try to root out some of the anti-democratic elements within the government.


ASHER: Iran's supreme leader is calling anti-government protests acts of treason. Just today, Iran sentenced three more protesters to death on

charges of waging war against God. It follows two more executions over the weekend, bringing the total number of people known to have been executed in

connection with the protests to four. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is in Istanbul with more.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A mother's heart wrenching final farewell for her son, "The oppressor took you away from me," she cries at

his grave. "Now you're asleep here," she says. This is the only goodbye Mohammad Mehdi Karami's family got. No final visit, no justice. The 21-

year-old Kurdish Iranian karate champion was executed by the Islamic Republic this weekend, along with Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, a volunteer

children's coach. They were convicted of killing a member of Iran's Basij paramilitary force during a protest in November. Death sentences handed

down after what rights groups say are sham trials based on forced confessions extracted under torture.

Karami's parents had taken the risk of speaking out in social media recordings, begging the state to spare their boy's life. The ruthless

Republic has shown no mercy. At least for young men hanged, many others facing execution by a regime that appears to be using the death penalty to

crush dissent. Among them 19-year-old Mohammad Boroughani and 22-year-old Mohammad Ghobadlou sentenced to death by this notorious judge, Abolqasem

Salavati, nicknamed the Judge of Death, sanctioned by the U.S. in 2019 for harsh sentences he's issued activists, journalists, and political


On Sunday night, a crowd gathered outside the prison where Ghobadlou and Boroughani are being held after activists reported their execution was

imminent. Seems of sheer bravery as the crowd Chant against the regime, in support Ghobadlou's mother, risking it all to try and save her son. No one

really knows how many protesters have been sentenced to death, more than 40 according to CNN's count, but the real number is believed to be higher.

And this past week, new sentences were reported by activists. Mansur Dehmardeh, a disabled member of the Baluch minority, was sentenced to

death, one of many arrested during these ongoing raging protests in the city of Zahedan. Activists are urging the international community to do

more than just condemn these executions to try and save the defenseless on death row to save their families from this unimaginable pain. Jomana

Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.


ASHER: All right. Still to come tonight, he's found support from around the world. Now Damar Hamlin is the one showing some love from his hospital bed.

When can he be expected to head home? I'll let you know after the break.



ASHER: After three years of strict COVID rules, China has reopened borders that have been shuttered to travelers. There were lots of hugs and smiles

in Beijing as loved ones were finally able to reunite despite rising COVID infections in some parts of the country and hospitals still stretched thin.

Thousands of people flowed into the country on Sunday for the first time since the pandemic began. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout spoke with a few travelers

who were excited to travel again.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm at Lok Ma Chau Station located in Hong Kong's New Territories right across the border from Shenzhen, the

Chinese tech capital. And this is the freshly reopened rail crossing between Hong Kong and mainland China. It had been closed since February of

2020 due to the COVID 19 pandemic, and it was opened on Sunday, and we've been witnessing a steady stream of travelers coming through.

Now Quarantine is no longer a requirement. But a number of pandemic restrictions are in place. For example, the mask mandate remains out in

force. In addition to that, travelers must show proof of a negative COVID- 19 PCR test before their journey. And this is going to be a phased reopening, you know. Up to 60,000 travelers can travel each day from

mainland China to Hong Kong and vice versa, from seven different checkpoints, including this one where I'm standing from and the demand has

been absolutely huge.

In fact, as of Sunday evening, over 440,000 Hong Kong residents have signed up for a chance to make the journey. And earlier today, we spoke to a

couple of them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm really very happy about the reopening. I'm going to Shenzhen first and then we'll fly to Chongqing for

a few days. I feel like we are going back to pre-COVID times three years ago. I will be much happier and life will turn out for the better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are going home. We'll see grandpa and grandma. Very happy.


STOUT: The return of cross-border travel has raised hopes of rebooting Hong Kong's economy, which was hammered hard due to the pandemic and the fact

that Hong Kong was isolated for nearly three years. But according to the chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, it may take one or two years

before tourism here returns to pre-pandemic levels. Kristie Lu Stout CNN at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border.


ASHER: The NFL's Buffalo Bills treated fans to an absolute thriller in their first game since teammate Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest last

week. The Bills beat their division rivals, the New England Patriots, 35-23 to cap off a very, very emotional week. And Hamlin got to see it all

watching the game from his hospital bed in Cincinnati while tweeting his support, showing his fans some love or heartwarming stuff.


CNN's Coy Wire joins us live now from Buffalo. So Coy, we hear that Hamlin could be released in the coming days, that he's no longer -- he no longer

has breathing tubes, but just in terms of his recovery, obviously cognitively, he seems fine right now. But do we expect him to play again?

And if so, how soon?

COY WIRE, CNN WORLD SPORT: Well, it's so -- still so early to tell. That would be a big jump considering where he was just a week ago, Zain. So

that's the hope. But I think right now they're hoping that he can just get released from that hospital. I have been told that Damar Hamlin will be

released in the coming days. It is remarkable.

As I mentioned, it was one week ago that he nearly lost his life on that field having suffered cardiac arrest. There is a press conference with

doctors in Cincinnati scheduled about 10 minutes time from now and then a press conference about an hour later with Bill's head coach, Sean

McDermott, and two other coaches as well.

This has been an emotional roller coaster, as you can imagine, for the teammates that have surrounded him in prayer on bended knee with tears

coming down their eyes. Moments after the game, we caught up with Bill's offensive lineman, their star, their pro-bowler, Dion Dawkins, and asked

about what he's learned through all of this. Here he is.


WIRE: What do you make of the rallying of support that you saw for Damar?

DION DAWKINS, BUFFALO BILLS PLAYER: It's iconic, you know, that one thing can drastically change the entire world. And well, I mean it drastically

changed the entire world, it has changed the whole world, I am just thankful that the world responded to it in a way that they did. Because we

know that this world can be harsh at times.

But with this one, it seems like they took their hat off and they all took a knee with love, you know. And it's beautiful, because like they just

gravitated around Damar and his family, put those prayers up, they put their dollars up, they put their love up, they put their swag up, the whole

league, you know. Everybody has been affected, the whole world. And they responded in a beautiful way.

WIRE: What have you learned through this?

DAWKINS: I've learned personally that no second, no breath, no event, no situation is promised. It could be a drastic this or this at any moment.

And I have truly learned to be a better father, to be a better partner, to be a better person. I'm telling you, every moment I take with the height of

the highest, and it's a special thing, and I will never, you know, take a situation for granted ever again.


WIRE: This really has been a remarkable journey, just in one week's time, to see the rallying of support, the world rallying around Damar Hamlin.

This went from being a story about Hamlin to it being a story about humanity. So, it's incredible to see. And the story, Zain, is still not


ASHER: Yes. Coy, you asked Dion there, you know, what he has learned from all of this, but what can we learn as a society and as a nation from this?

I mean, obviously, you played football, you played for the Buffalo Bills, you know how dangerous this sport is. I mean, do we all just sort of go

back to normal after this? It feels as though we should continue to ask tough questions.

WIRE: Yes, I think you're right. And that's a good question. I think that we can learn how to make the game of football safer, we can learn how to

teach players to not take for granted player safety, all right? And take those new rules then that have been created, specifically regarding

concussions. But now, even this, you know, to take the rules seriously and to listen. And that has a trickledown effect at the collegiate level and

the youth level, especially here in the United States. So -- but I think more than anything, whether it's a football play, or whether it's driving

your car down the street, or, you know, you never know, as Dion mentioned, when something tragic can occur. So, don't take any moments for granted.

You know, hug your loved ones a tighter and embrace every moment you're given.

ASHER: Damar is so lucky. We're so grateful that he's doing so well. Coy, thank you so much.

All right. This just in to CNN. Former Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been admitted to a hospital, that's according to his wife. And ally of

Bolsonaro tells CNN he was hospitalized in the U.S. State of Florida after feeling discomfort on Sunday night. He has suffered abdominal pains and

problems since the 2018 knife attack. This comes as hundreds of his supporters stormed government buildings in Brazil on Sunday.

All right. Still to come tonight, the U.K. is gearing up for its first ever orbital launch later today. We'll look at how this could make history and

what it means for the space race. That's next.



ASHER: All right. Welcome back. And a major first for the United Kingdom, just a few short hours remain until Virgin Orbit's Start Me Up mission is

set to launch. If successful, it will be the first Orbit satellite launched from England. The carrier plane called Cosmic Girl will take off from a

runway in Cornwall and release a rocket carrying a payload of nine satellites. Mission organizers say it should be a thrilling time.


DAN HART, VIRGIN ORBIT CEO: The team right now is smiling. But, you know, their eyes are laser sharp as we're going through our checkouts and going

through our communications. You know, space launch is a very serious business. We'll -- and we'll be looking at integrating all of the

information about the system, about the weather, about the range, and anticipating and supporting each other as we go through a very exciting,

but very rigorous process.


ASHER: All right. CNN correspondent Tom Foreman joins us live now from Washington. So we know that it's going to be carrying nine small

satellites. And this is essentially called a horizontal launch. Just walk us through it.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's horizontal-ish in a sense by going to about 35,000 feet. What this plane does is overcome the tremendous

force that it takes for a rocket to get through the lower levels of atmosphere. And then, when it reaches launching altitude of about 35,000

feet about an hour into the flight, it will angle up to almost 30 degrees, then it will drop this rocket away. It's about 70 feet long, they'll drop

it away. And about four seconds after it drops away, it will ignite and jump forward to about 8,000 miles an hour.

This is a technically difficult maneuver and the plane has to peel away to make sure it's not caught up and all of that. But once that happens, it

will fly down toward Portugal, then down to Antarctica. And then it will set up these satellites in what's called a heliosynchronous orbit, meaning

basically they will, for example, pass over London at the same time every day or over Los Angeles at the same time every time they pass over so

they're matching up with where the sun is. So, if you want to get pictures, you want imaging, you want something to compare day after day after day,

that's what use this kind of orbit for. So technologically, big challenge, big opportunity though here for Europe and obviously for the U.K. having

the launch happen there.

ASHER: And how -- yes. How important is this for the U.K.'s sort of future Space business?


FOREMAN: Well, you know, the U.K. does a lot of space business. They build satellites, they are involved in space, but launching on your own really

matters a good deal. One of the things that Virgin Orbit has been aiming for with this launch platform, which is really unique compared to others,

is flexibility and speed. The idea that they can go to all sorts of places that have an airport and say, hey, if we can launch our jumbo jet here with

some support, we can launch a space mission from your country from an airport. That's really unusual and hasn't been done before. So, this could

open the door for many others to get out there and get into the space game.

If, if, and I say this not as a warning but as a simple fact, if it works, they've launched this six times, five of them successfully, every time,

it's been out at Mojave Desert here in the United States. This is the first one they've tried away from their home base. This remains technically a

very, very challenging thing to do. The future for this kind of space travel and this kind of space access around the world limited but expands a

great deal if they're successful tonight. If they fail tonight, it takes a step back.

ASHER: Yes. And you would know because your daughter worked for Virgin Orbit as we discussed last hour.

FOREMAN: She did. She did at one time. She helped work on this very project, so.

ASHER: Amazing. Amazing.

FOREMAN: She's off at another space company now.

ASHER: All right. Tom Foreman live for us. Thank you so much for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.