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Isa Soares Tonight
Few Details On High-Flying Objects In North American Airspace; Growing Pressure On Biden To Speak About Downed Objects; China Accuses U.S. Of Flying Spy Balloons Over Other Nations; Rescue Efforts Intensify in Turkey and Syria for Earthquake Survivors. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired February 13, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNNI HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Turkey and Syria are in desperate need of aid as rescue
workers do everything they can to find any remaining survivors from last week's terrible earthquake. Then, the White House said the objects they
shot from the skies did pose a threat to air traffic.
We'll get the latest from Washington D.C. Plus, the head of NATO says we are already, quote, "seeing the start of a new Russian offensive in
Ukraine." We'll have the latest on the battle raging in the east of the country. But first, for you this hour, the U.N. says the rescue phase in
Syria and Turkey is coming to a close.
As teams begin to wind down the search for survivors. But they're not finished yet, and they're still saving lives more than a week after the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: That's a 13-year-old boy in Turkey among the few people pulled out alive today. A rescuer held his hand as he was carried, you can see there,
away on a stretcher. But the death toll has surpassed 36,000, and will almost certainly continue to rise. Millions of people have been left
homeless, many in urgent need of food, water, as well as shelter.
The situation in Syria is especially dire, where relief efforts are complicated by a long-running civil war. Let's go live now to Istanbul
where we find our Nada Bashir reporting from an aid distribution center. So, Nada, as we see this rescue face coming to a close. The more urgent
need, of course, for this age, paint us a picture of what you're seeing on the ground there.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: I mean, Isa, there has been a real groundswell of support from people here in Istanbul. We are at one of two key
distribution centers where aid donations have been coming in around the clock over the last week. Here, the coordinators about some 20,000
volunteers have been working day in, day out, to sort through these donations of clothes, food, toiletries, heaters, blankets, all the
essentials that someone who has clearly lost everything in this earthquake could need.
And they have been working around the clock. So far, more than 200 trucks alone have left this distribution center, heading towards southeastern
Turkey. And I have to tell you, Isa, when these trucks are filled and the doors are closed and they're ready to move off, the sound here is amazing.
Cheers of clapping, a real sense of celebration for these volunteers here, who are doing so much to provide that help.
But we've spoken to coordinators here, they tell us they simply need more. This isn't enough. They need more support from the Turkish government, but
also from the international community. They're afraid that they will be forgotten. And of course, as we see this aid moving towards southeastern
Turkey, this will be the key focus for the coming week.
We're seeing that rescue effort now transforming into a recovery effort. Sadly, so many people still hoping against hope that they will receive news
that their loved ones have survived, are alive, just in the last few hours, according to "CNN Turk", our sister channel, a 10-year-old girl was rescued
after 185 hours beneath the rubble.
But of course, these rescues are becoming few and far between. And you mentioned Syria there, this is a real point of concern. We heard from the
U.N. humanitarian chief speaking earlier, saying that the U.N. will begin to assist the Syrian government to get that aid outs from Damascus, from
government-controlled territory onward, to the rebel-held territories in the northwest of the country, which has been so hard hit, not only by this
earthquake, but by years of conflict, by bloody war at the hands of President Bashar al-Assad.
So far, none of that aid from Damascus has made its way to the northwest, although, we are seeing UNAID trucks now passing through Turkey, across
that one Bab al-Hawa crossing. But they say they feel abandoned, and they're simply too little, too late. And I have to say here in Turkey, Isa,
there is a growing sense of frustration, a growing sense of anger and growing calls for accountability something.
And the government should have done more to prepare for a catastrophe of this scale. And it has to be said, the Turkish government on its part is
carrying out its own investigation, they've already identified more than a 100 suspects of what they claim to be negligence within the construction
sector, in the areas impacted by this earthquake.
They've already made some arrests, but I have to say there is a growing sense of frustration and the pressure is mounting on the government, on the
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to do more, to provide that further support to those who have been made homeless, who have lost everything in this
SOARES: Nada Bashir for us this hour in Istanbul, thanks very much Nada, really appreciate it. Well, a U.N. relief coordinator says people in rebel-
held areas of Syria rightly feel abandoned by the world. Humanitarian aid is now trickling in as you heard from our reporter there. But in many
cases, it's too little, too late. Our Jomana Karadsheh visited a hospital in Idlib Province where doctors say they could have saved many more lives.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Baby Mohammed takes every little breath on his own, no mom, no dad to hold his
tiny hands. His parents didn't survive the earthquake. The three-month old was rescued by neighbors who brought him to this ICU. In the room next
door, we find Halia(ph), the 26-year-old will never walk again.
The earthquake brought down her family's home, and crushed her back. Her stepmom tells us Halia(ph) and her three children were under the rubble for
18 hours. The children survived, but they don't know where they are. In every room of the Syrian hospital, a bitter-sweet tale of survival. Many
more should have been alive today to tell their stories.
Doctors say they tried to save them, but didn't have enough supplies to save everyone. The few medical facilities in rebel-held Syria are barely
still standing after years of Russian and Syrian regime bombardments that left them ill-equipped to deal with a disaster of this magnitude.
AHMAD ALAABD, SYRIAN-AMERICAN MEDICAL SOCIETY: We lost a lot of patients because of shortages of medical supplies. If we had them, we could have
saved many more lives.
KARADSHEH: This was the scene here last Monday, at another facility run by the Syrian-American Medical Society.
ALAABD: This is the biggest disaster we ever had. We've dealt with war injuries, but never had to deal with this many casualties at once.
KARADSHEH: The people of this devastated land cried for help, but no help came. Aid to rubble-held northwest Syria is tied in politics and at the
mercy of a regime, so cruel, even at a time like this. They dig and dig with their bare hands, and whatever they can find, desperately trying to
reach their loved ones.
It's too late for rescues now, they just want to bury their dead. Muhammad is searching for relatives, expression is numb, he tells us, 21 of them,
including children. Life here feels like one endless cycle of loss and grief. Most have been displaced time and time again by more than a decade
of war. They're now homeless once again.
"We were sleeping under the trees, but it was so cold we came here", aunt Sultan(ph) tells us. She begs the international community to send them
shelters. "We just want to a tent", she says. "I wish we had died with everyone else, so we don't go through this", she tells us. "We survived
only to live this misery and agony."
They have nowhere left to run. Millions are trapped in Idlib, it's the last rebel-held territory in Syria.
(on camera): And Mohammed(ph) says that she and her family fled Aleppo Province and came here. She says they escaped the fighter jets and the
airstrikes. And she says we came here and the earthquake followed us. She says death follows Syrians everywhere.
(voice-over): Seven hundred people lived in this now flattened residential complex, only a handful survived. "Young men from nearby villages came
running to help get people out", she tells us. "But what can they do? They tried digging, we heard people screaming, get us out, get us out. Then they
went quiet. They all died.
Two days later, they pulled a little boy and girl, their dead bodies were still warm." Others made it after hours of this painstaking rescue. Little
Ahmed(ph) was pulled out alive. The White Helmets, heroes of Syria's war did all they can to save as many as they can. They urgently appealed for
ISMAIL ABDALLAH, WHITE HELMETS VOLUNTEER: They didn't send anything. They didn't respond. They let the people here down, and now, the people here in
Syria already know that now they are forgotten.
KARADSHEH: Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Idlib, Syria.
SOARES: Just so much heartbreak. Well, let's get more on exactly how much aid is getting into the affected areas, and what more is needed.
I want to bring in Meryem Aslan; she's a spokesperson for Oxfam in Turkey. Meryem, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us. I know
you're incredibly busy. We're now what? A week since that apocalyptic earthquake. What have you been seeing on the ground in Turkey? What are the
challenges that you and your team, Meryem, are facing?
MERYEM ASLAN, SPOKESPERSON, OXFAM, TURKEY: Yes, thank you. We have been seeing a real disaster. I just came back from Hatay, Antakya, and I have
never seen such a thing in my life. The whole city is wiped out. I have worked in war zones all my life, and I have never seen such a scene
I have been -- including in Afghanistan. It is -- it is like people are physically and emotionally broken, and all the infrastructure and all the
buildings are broken. It is -- it is a desperate situation what we are witnessing. And I have never thought that I would see such a scene in my
life. So --
SOARES: And you also, I believe, you know, you're clearly working, all hands on deck. But you're also grieving. Can I ask -- do you mind if I ask
about your own tragedy?
ASLAN: Yes, we had family members that are under the rubble. And unfortunately, we lost them. We lost first three people, and then we heard
that we lost more distant relatives, four or five of them. And we -- I also lost close friends with whom we were working on human rights.
And -- but -- so everybody I know in Turkey has in some way lost some people they know, or friends or colleagues or family members. It is -- it
is unbelievably difficult time. Yes --
SOARES: And Meryem, my deepest condolences from myself and the whole team --
ASLAN: Thank you --
SOARES: Here at CNN to you --
ASLAN: Thank you --
SOARES: I can't imagine, no one, I think it's fair to say, can imagine what you're going through. How then do you pick up the pieces? How then --
you know, you are now working, how do you find the focus, the energy, the drive to then help others right now, Meryem?
ASLAN: Yes, because -- I mean, people are in such a big -- such a -- such a difficulty. I mean, yes, I lost my -- some of my family members, but you
know, I don't live in that region myself. And I didn't leave my job, and whenever I want, I can go out of that situation, but many people are
trapped in that situation and they are in desperate need.
Now, I mean, from -- on the one hand, they are trying to deal with their losses, the level of trauma is unbelievable. As I mean, I worked in many
places before, and including Turkey, but other -- many other countries, and I never heard people saying, you know, they need psychosocial support. You
know, they are not well.
We lost everything we had. We lost our loved ones. Now, and people are -- you know, they lost their loved ones, they lost their houses, and then
suddenly they found themselves in the cold without any shelter. And they are finding themselves that they cannot even attend to their bodily
And they are not used to this kind of life, and then they are saying that they lost everything they accumulated they've worked for, for the last 40
years. And you know, when you see such levels of desperation, yes, what can you do? You need to do what one can do, you know, and trying to help people
and try to help them heal their wounds and try to attend to their needs.
Otherwise, we are going to have a bigger tragedy if we don't pull ourselves together, and if we let people down, then we will have to deal with the
diseases, then we will have to deal with people dying of cold and hunger. And you know, if you want to -- if you want to prevent further disaster, we
need to pull it together and we need to support these people.
People's sweat -- and a huge earthquake. I mean, it is a huge natural disaster, so now we need to have them survive. We cannot let them down, and
we cannot let them die from other preventable things, you know.
SOARES: Well, incredibly admirable what you are -- what you're doing, what the whole team is doing. Meryem, really appreciate you taking the time to
speak to us --
ASLAN: Thank you --
SOARES: And once again, the condolences from everyone here --
ASLAN: Thank you --
SOARES: In my team, thank you Meryem.
ASLAN: Thank you. Thank you --
SOARES: We'll go back, of course, to Turkey, but later, and to Syria a bit later in the show. In the meantime, let me take you to the U.S., because
the White House announced that it's working to collect debris from high altitude objects the U.S. military shot down in recent days. We've seen
four of these objects, a little more than a week as you can see there on your screen.
An unidentified object was shot down over Lake Huron on Sunday afternoon over northern Canada on Saturday and over Alaska, if you remember, on
Friday. The weekend before that, a Chinese spy balloon was taken down off the coast of South Carolina. But so far, there is no indication the more
recent unidentified objects have any connection to that balloon.
Well, just minutes ago, a White House official was asked, why the sudden upticks in U.S. shoot-downs. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL IN THE WHITE HOUSE: One of the reasons that we think
we're seeing more is because we're looking for more. As you heard General VanHerck mention last night, they have -- they have modified the filters
and the gains, as we call it, of the radar capabilities, to look more discreetly at high altitude, small radar, cross action, and low speed
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, let's get more on this. U.S. security reporter, Natasha Bertrand joins me now from Washington. Natasha, good to see you. So, we
heard what? In the last 30 minutes or so from John Kirby there, who gave us I think, it's fair to say more insight into what they believe this may have
been, and the intelligence.
Do we know though where these objects came from, and why the U.S. felt they needed to shoot them down at this point?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN U.S. SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, Isa, so still no determination of where these objects came from, but we did get a bit of an
explanation from John Kirby there about why the U.S. felt the need to take them down. And it was primarily because of the risk that these objects
posed to civilian aircrafts.
All three of them were flying at a potentially dangerous altitude, including the one that was shot down yesterday, which was about 20,000 feet
in the air, which, of course, is pretty close to where an aircraft fly at, which is about 30,000 feet. Same goes for those objects that were shot down
on Friday and Saturday.
Both of those were flying at about 40,000 feet. So, the rational that has been given pretty consistently by the administration is that it was decided
that these objects, not only potentially could be surveilling the United States, it is unclear whether they had those capabilities. But primarily,
because they might have been in the way of civilian aircrafts.
And so, the question now, however, is given that the U.S. is now looking more closely at its airspace, and is able to detect these objects with more
frequency, does that mean that every time the U.S. detects one of these objects, we are going to see a similar type of shoot-down. And that is a
question that the administration has not really given a fulsome response to.
They say that they will be judging each of these incidents on a case by case basis, and determining from there, whether or not it will be
appropriate to shoot it down. But a lot of questions this afternoon about whether this is the new normal, especially after of course, the
administration faced such strong political backlash over that Chinese spy balloon incident where the balloon was allowed to pretty much transit the
entire United States before of course, it was ultimately shot down off the coast of South Carolina. Isa.
SOARES: Natasha Bertrand there for us with the very latest, thanks very much, Natasha, appreciate it. And still to come tonight, the fighting in
eastern Ukraine is intensifying, and Ukrainian defense forces tell us why it's getting complicated. We'll have that story ahead. And then later, tens
of thousands of protesters turnout in Jerusalem.
There have been warnings that Israel could be nearing legal as well as social collapse. Both their stories after this short break.
SOARES: Well, Russia is attacking eastern Ukraine at a quote, "high tempo". Ukraine's war -- Ukraine warns it's only a matter of time until
Russia launches massive around-the-clock attacks on the region. They are already seeing increased Russian shelling, airstrikes, and fighting in
Luhansk. And battles are still raging in the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.
Ukrainian military officials say they are repelling Russian advances in both areas, and dispute Russian claims that they've captured a village near
Bakhmut. The NATO Secretary General says it's clear that Russia's long, dreaded Spring offensive is already here. Have a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: We have seen the start already because we've seen what Russia does now, President Putin do now, is they're
sending thousands and thousands of more troops, accepting a very high rate of casualty, taking big losses, but putting pressure on the Ukrainians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Sam Kiley joins me now from eastern Ukraine with the very latest. So, Sam, how is Ukraine preparing for this new -- for this Russian
offensive that NATO chief says they're already seeing the start of?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think both the NATO chief and commanders on the ground that we've been talking to, Isa,
will talk about what is going on now as at the very least shaping operations. Very heavy artillery bombardments, pushes in the north, up near
Kharkiv, at least, in Kharkiv province at the Severodonetsk river here, pushes at Kreminna not far from where I am, pushes against Bakhmut, all
indicating that something bigger may be coming.
Now, if you combine that with the build-up of troops, we are seeing a very severe worries for the Ukrainians, how they're preparing is a secret. They
are saying that they are prepared, but as this is unfolding, we're seeing very heavy now, street-to-street fighting. And we spoke today -- and this
is in the town of Bakhmut. And we spoke today about it to a tank commander who described just why the battle there is changing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And right now it's much more complicated because like we are fighting like building to building, and we have like our position
and across the street, we have like enemy positions. And so distances like 25 to 60 meters, so we cannot use our artillery well. We try to use tanks,
but again it's complicated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY: Now, killing infantry out in the open has been the pattern of the Ukrainian response to these human waves that the Russians have been using,
particularly on the eastern front here, Isa. But elsewhere, there is an anticipation of yet more violence to come, Isa?
SOARES: And that is, in light of that anticipation that you've just outlined there for us, Sam, I was just reading before I came on that Elon
Musk says he's not going to allow Ukrainians to use his Starlink satellite technology. Why won't he allow this at this very critical juncture here,
KILEY: Well, I think Elon Musk's motivations are mysterious, I think to most people most of the time I would venture. But I think from the
Ukrainian perspective, they are very confused indeed, as to why the Starlink executives would choose now to say that they are going to somehow
restrict the Ukrainian access to Starlink.
Because without going into military secrets, it is one of the main means of communications that the Ukrainians are using to fight the Russians. Now, if
they were to lose that means of communication, it would be perceived not perhaps unreasonably by the Ukrainians as an effort that would be in
support of, albeit unintentionally of the Russian campaign.
Now, Elon Musk is saying he doesn't want to be responsible for contributing to the beginning of World War III. Arguably, a war in Europe and most
certainly is already underway. And if more Ukrainians are going to be killed, it could be -- it would be a consequence of -- from the Ukrainian
perspective of cutting off their ability to communicate using the Starlink.
But at the moment, there hasn't been an official response because the Ukrainian government, I think is probably frantically working behind the
scenes to make sure that this essential piece of communication isn't denied them.
SOARES: Importance analysis there from our Sam Kiley in eastern Ukraine. Thanks Sam, appreciate it. And still to come tonight, more on those
mysterious objects the U.S. is shooting out of the sky and why we're hearing about so many of them all of a sudden. Plus, a little girl found
alive after spending a week under the rubble in Turkey. We'll have more on her story after this break.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.
Now the White House just wrapped up a press briefing that was dominated by this wave of unidentified objects flying over North America. Still, the
U.S. President is under growing pressure to address the nation about it. The Pentagon says the U.S. military shot down three of these high-altitude
objects in three days, most recently on Sunday over Lake Huron. Now so far, it is unclear if they have any connection to what you're looking at a
screen, the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that was taken down, if you remember, a little more than a week ago.
I want to bring in our Chief Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts, John Miller, for more. John, great to have you on the show. So, we heard from
Kirby in the last, what, half an hour or so, what stood out to you? Because I know so many of us have so many questions, but he did give us some
tidbits, not full answers there, in terms of where these objects came from.
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT & INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS: Well, I think what we take from John Kirby's briefing, who is the Director of
Strategic Communications for the National Security Council is number one, within three days, we've had three shoot downs of three objects. Number
two, they don't match. One is cylindrical, one is in the shape of an octagon, the other seems to be another balloon. And key to that, there's no
attribution. Meaning, they didn't have license plates, we don't know who owns them and we're still not sure what their mission was, or how active
they were. The Octagon object, for instance, had strings attached, but was in this odd shape. Strings may indicate that there was also a balloon
attached, which became detached.
SOARES: So, what questions would you have? Because he said they did pose a threat. So, they shot them down. But the threat, from what I understand,
and correct me if I'm wrong here, John, was two airplanes, is that right?
MILLER: That's right. I mean, the object that they shot down over Lake Huron, which is one of the Great Lakes between the United States and
Canada, they picked up at 40,000 feet by the time they got fighter jets there to find that it was down to 20,000 feet. So, that puts it near the
top and near the bottom, which means it traveled right through the space, that commercial aircraft use. The other altitudes that they saw were lower
than the 60,000 to 65,000 feet, which is above commercial aircraft zones that the original Chinese surveillance balloon was flying in.
So, what you're really seeing, Isa, is a re-tweaking of the radar so that they are looking at objects that were written off before as debris, or
anomalies. And they're going after them to see what are they, what do they look like, and if they look suspicious, and they're still flying, unless
they can discern what they are or what their purpose is, they're taking them down to get a baseline sense of, what are these things? How many are
there? And what are they for? And who owns them?
SOARES: Yeah. I mean, he did say as well, like you just pointed out, that the radar systems have been readjusted by U.S. military. So clearly,
they're seeing more because they are looking for more. The question then becomes then, John, what is the policy going forward here? Every time they
see one of these, they're going to shoot it down?
MILLER: Well, I think they're going to learn the policy, Isa, because this is a giant readjustment, a recalibration of the systems, that we're
basically looking for direct threats to the United States. A fast-moving, incoming aircraft that could be armed, an aircraft with mal intentions,
anything that could have been a missile, fast-moving drones that could be surveillance platforms that we would well recognize. What we're now
learning is we're seeing all kinds of other things that are floating around that have different capabilities.
Let me give you one great example. My former employer, the Director of National Intelligence, issued this report on these what they call all-
domain anomaly resolutions where they try to figure out what these things are. But 18 incidents out of the 500 and some that they counted were really
interesting because they found vehicles flying through the sky that could stand still, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, and operated speed.
Those are the kinds of things outside the Chinese balloon that kind of started this refocus that they're really looking at, because these are
things that have design capability and purpose.
SOARES: Yes, and we had John Kirby doubling down on China. But let me ask you this. We've also heard today from the NATO Chief, Jens Stoltenberg, who
basically says this, "It's part of a pattern where China, but also Russia, are increasing their intelligence and surveillance." He says, "Activities
against NATO allies with many different platforms.
We see it in cyber. We see it with satellites, more and more satellites, and we are seeing it with balloons." I mean, is this the new threat in your
MILLER: Well, I don't know if it's the new threat, per se, because we're talking about unarmed things, but they're doing what we do. They're just
doing it perhaps, perhaps less artfully. You know, we have satellites where we can read a license plate off a car. And they're using some less
sophisticated devices in terms of a balloon or some of these aircraft. But what we have seen is incursions over 40 different countries by either
Chinese, Russian or other aircraft where they are doing their homework, trying to bone up on what's everybody's capabilities, what's the geography
of those capabilities, what are the signals of those capabilities, and that's become a real issue now.
SOARES: John Miller, always great to get your insight. Thanks very much, John. Appreciate it.
MILLER: Thanks, Isa.
SOARES: Now, meantime, Beijing is lashing out and accusing Washington of flying spy balloons in its airspace. The White House took to Twitter to
rebuke the allegation. And in fact, we heard from John Kirby the last 30 minutes as say doubling down on saying that claim is false. CNN's Ivan
Watson has the latest from Hong Kong on the tit for tat accusations.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Accusations are flying fast and furious between Washington and Beijing, both governments accusing
each other of flying spy balloons in each other's airspace.
On Monday, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to questions from journalists about that enormous Chinese balloon that flew
across much of the U.S. earlier this month, and was shot down off the coast of South Carolina by a U.S. fighter jet on February 4th. And instead of
providing more details about it, he accused the U.S. of flying spy balloons into Chinese airspace. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANG WENBIN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): Since last year alone, U.S. high-altitude balloons have illegally flown
over China's airspace more than 10 times without any approval from relevant Chinese authorities. The first thing for the U.S. to do is to introspect
itself and change its course instead of slandering and inciting confrontation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: A spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council has already denied that charge and instead accused China of running a high-altitude
surveillance balloon program that she claims has violated U.S. sovereignty as well as the airspace of more than 40 other countries, she says, across
five continents. Now we've heard that U.S. fighter jets shot down, over the course of three days over the weekend, three different unidentified objects
operating in airspace over North America.
On Sunday, a Chinese state news outlet announced that Chinese officials had detected an unidentified object flying off the coast of Shandong province
in China, and that Chinese officials were preparing to shoot it down, and also urging the public to collect images of the debris and perhaps pieces
of the debris as evidence afterwards. Now, as of Monday, we haven't gotten any updates from Chinese officials about that object, not about where it's
come from, what they suspect it to be, or at what altitude it was operating. But clearly, both governments are looking to the skies right
now. on the lookout for balloons. Ivan Watson CNN, Hong Kong.
SOARES: I want to return now to the unthinkable devastation in Turkey and Syria where the death toll has soared to more than 36,000. Coordinators say
aid supplies coming in simply are not enough and aid especially slow to reach rebel-held areas on northwest Syria. The U.N. Aid Chief says the
rescue phase of the earthquake is wrapping up even so searches continue. And in some cases, people are still being found alive a full week later.
Our Sara Sidner has this report.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 38-year-old Kudret Kocebeler desperately pleads with volunteer rescuers to search for her husband, Dadir. "He's
buried," she says in their corner apartment which is somewhere under this rubble. They tried to console her but this mother of twins wants action,
not words. "There is nobody out there. It's been six days. I'm waiting here with my twin, standing in the cold. She said she's been asking anyone who
will listen to dig her husband out, but for six days, she says officials kept telling her they needed permission from the government to start on her
"I want my husband back even if he's not alive." She may have accepted his death, but can't go on without seeing her husband's body removed from this
hellscape. "My life, my blood, my everything, my best friend in life. He left me with my twins here alone." While she waits for the realities of her
husband's death, here in this area where you see enormous piles of rubble, these are different buildings, but you can't really distinguish them
because there's just so much destruction. There have been signs of life. A child was found here alive after a week in the rubble.
Nurses comfort the girl, who they think is three or four years old. She's dehydrated and in shock, but alive. This is the moment she was rescued. Her
exhausted little body pulled from under the seemingly endless mountains of rubble in her thigh. She was rushed to the makeshift hospital setup in the
parking lot of the actual hospital that was evacuated after the earthquake. "When she first arrived, as a mother, I felt that she was like my own
daughter," this nurse says.
She's cracking up the staff. She's talking. When we walked in, the toddler had managed to make the nurses laugh, relieved she could talk a bit. What
is it that she said that made you all laugh? She made all the nurses laugh. "The word that made all the nurses laugh was 'mama' and
I'm hungry. I want to eat something.'" What did that do to your hearts when she said mama? "I felt a great pulse in my heart," she says no one knew her
name. And when they asked she said "Dada." It turns out, this toddler does not speak Turkish, she speaks Arabic. Rescuers later tell us she's Syrian
SOARES: Sara Sidner with an incredible report there. And still to come tonight, rain, flooding, wind, Cyclone Gabrielle is wreaking havoc in parts
of New Zealand. Coming up, we'll look at the impact so far on where the storm is heading next.
SOARES: It's now early morning in New Zealand and residents on North Island are waking up to heavy wind and rain as cyclone Gabrielle hits. The city of
Auckland may also see rising waters about two weeks after being inundated by deadly floods. Alice Wilkins from CNN affiliate Newshub has for you.
ALICE WILKINS, NEWSHUB CORRESPONDENT: Well, cyclone Gabrielle had seen power outages to more than 50,000 properties across the northern part of
New Zealand's North Island today, as strong winds bring down trees and heavy rainfall sees floodwaters start to inundate properties. Now there are
strong wind and rain warnings across much of the North Island of New Zealand at the moment, including our strongest possible heavy rainfall
warning and our strongest possible wind warning. For Auckland, Northland, and the Coromandel, those three regions expected to be the brunt of Cyclone
Now here in Auckland, we've already seen evacuations at an apartment tonight as residents are urged to leave their homes for safety. Auckland, a
major city, more like a ghost town today with people urged to work from home where possible train lines and trains canceled for the day, and all
domestic flights in and out of Auckland cancelled. Of course, the city just a week and a half ago saw a major flash flooding incident. There's concern
now that Cyclone Gabrielle will exacerbate some of the slips and flood damage from that event, but everyone on high alert across much of New
Zealand's North Ireland as the cyclone intensifies, moving down the country towards Auckland, and inches ever so close to the coast.
SOARES: Well, critics say it would end democracy in Israel. But despite massive protests today, lawmakers began considering their government's
proposal to significantly weaken the judiciary and overhaul the courts. Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets outside the Knesset.
Some of them chanting "Shame." Israel's President is trying to broad a compromise between government and opposition leaders. He wants Israel is on
the brink of being legal and social collapse. Let's get the latest from CNN's Hadas Gold in Jerusalem. So Hadas, despite the protest, is this bill
still going to go ahead?
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as far as we know, the legislative action is still starting. As you noted today, the committee passed the bill
through its committee hearing. And we are expecting a first reading out of three that are required, potentially as soon as Wednesday, but Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters, they say that these are long-needed reforms, that they need to rebalance the power of the Supreme
Court that they believe has grown too powerful, too elitist. And this would allow the parliament with just a simple majority, which would mean
essentially the party in power to overturn Supreme Court decisions.
It's the most drastic overhaul of Israel's judiciary in Israeli history. But protesters out on the street today, we were there with them, told us
that they believe that this is a moment of crisis.
GOLD (voice-over): By the tens of thousands, protesters streamed into Jerusalem, with drums, flags, signs, chanting and singing songs. One of the
largest demonstrations for Jerusalem in years, as these protesters skipped work in school to stand against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his
government's sweeping judicial reform plans, fundamentally altering the balance of power by allowing parliament to overturn Supreme Court decisions
with a simple majority.
Now for weeks, tens of thousands of Israelis have been coming out to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest. But on Monday, on the day these judicial
reforms were first formally introduced in the Israeli parliament, they decided to come here to Jerusalem so that the shouts of the tens of
thousands could be heard in the halls of the parliament.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TZVIKA GRUNALD, PROTESTER: Just because they want a slim majority doesn't mean that the right is with them. Changing the spirit and the life of the
country from a democracy to a totalitarian regime, we don't want to go there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD (voice-over): Inside the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, the reform passing its first legislative test in a committee hearing to ferocious
protests from opposition lawmakers who jumped over tables yelling shame and disgrace before being forcibly removed by security.
Netanyahu accusing opposition leaders of deliberately dragging the country into anarchy, urging them to show responsibility and leadership. The night
before, Israeli President Isaac Herzog plea in a televised address for consensus and a warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISAAC HERZOG, ISRAELI PRESIDENT (through translator): We are at a moment before a confrontation, even a violent confrontation. The Powder Keg is
about to explode. And brothers are about to raise their hands against brothers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD (voice-over): Even U.S. President Joe Biden weighing in, saying it's the genius of American and Israeli democracies that were built on strong
institutions on checks and balances and on an independent judiciary.
Perhaps the message received Monday evening after the protesters cleared the streets, an announcement from the Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin,
that while they weren't going to stop the legislative process, they will meet with opposition leaders to at least start negotiations.
GOLD (on camera): And Isa, I think the big question now is these negotiations that the government Minister of Justice has called for. He
wants to sit with opposition leaders along with the Israeli president and start these talks. But they haven't said anything about freezing the
legislative process. So this legislative process will still sort of move on within the Israeli parliament. And the big question is, will they actually
come with anything out of this? Will they actually come to any sort of consensus that will help calm the fears and calm the concerns from both
people who are in favor of these reforms? And those who believe that, as we've been saying, they believe it could be the beginning of the end of
Israeli democracy. Isa.
SOARES: And what the bill is doing, what your piece just outlined there, Hadas, is just how much it's dividing the country. So talk to us about the
mood right now.
GOLD: The mood definitely feels very divided. I mean, the mood in Israel, politically, has been divided for a long time. Don't forget that Israel
just went through round after round after round of election and this was this last election. While Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies did come out
with a majority in the parliament, when you look at the breakdown of sort of the popular vote of the numbers, it was by a few tens of thousands of
votes. So many Israelis don't feel as though Benjamin Netanyahu necessarily has this mandate that he talks about this great mandate that so many people
voted for him, because they say, look, when you look at the numbers, it's still a pretty slim majority for you.
When you look at polling of people who are in favor or not in favor of these judicial reforms, there is a small majority that are not in favor of
these judicial reforms. These would be major changes. And keep in mind, Israel doesn't have a sort of written constitution that they can go back to
and so things can change.
And there's a lot of fear out there that these changes could be very damaging, because in addition, for example, to the Israeli parliament,
being able to overturn Supreme Court decisions with a simple 61-seat majority, there are other issues at play here, including things like the
selection of judges, and as we know, selection of judges can be so key and what those ultimate rulings are, Isa.
SOARES: Indeed. Hadas Gold for us there in Jerusalem this hour. Thanks very much, Hadas.
And finally, if you think your job is tedious, well, consider our quote of the day. "We've loosened 50,000 bolts," entrepreneur Felix Demin describe
what sounds like a painfully boring task with spectacular results. It's what had to be done to get this Boeing 737 on top of a cliff in Bali, as
you can see there, an example of recycling on a jumbo scale really. The plane is now rental property. The private jet villa features two bedrooms,
a pool, as well as a bar. The plane's cockpit is now a luxury bathroom, but it's only for high fliers. Sorry. Didn't mean to. You can rent it for
$7,000 a night, if, you know, in the middle of this economic crisis, you have money for that. Enjoy it.
Thanks very much for your company. Thanks for watching. Do stay right here. Richard Quest is live at the World Government Summit in Dubai with "QUEST
MEANS BUSINESS" right after this short break. I shall see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.