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New Day

Headlines from Around the World; Kurdish Women Flee Iran; Mississippi River at Historic Lows; Study on Rationing Insulin; Chargers Ern Ugly Overtime Win. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 18, 2022 - 06:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, anti-government protests are intensifying across Iran as security forces are using live ammunition and tear gas to disperse crowds.

CNN reporters are covering the latest from all around the world.


Nada Bashir, CNN REPORTER: I'm Nada Bashir in London.

And as anti-regime demonstrations in Iran entered their fifth week, the European Union is imposing new sanctions over the death of 22- year-old Mahsa Amini and Iran's brutal and deadly crackdown on protesters. Speaking on Monday, the EU's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, hailed the move as a unanimous step against human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian regime.

Norway-based human rights group Iran HR (ph) says it has tallied more than 200 deaths since protests began in September, though CNN is not able to independently verify the death toll. In a statement signed by 40 human rights groups on Monday, Human Rights Watch has urged the U.N. Human Rights Council to hold a special session on establishing an independent mechanism to investigate the regime's human right violations and hold the Iranian authorities to account.


Professional American basketball player Brittney Griner will be turning 32 in a Russian prison today. The plight of the WNBA star has raised tensions between D.C. and Moscow, with some concern that she is being used as a political pawn by the Kremlin. Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for drug smuggling charges. She did prior to the verdict apologize to the court and appealed for leniency. Her family and friends will be starting the hash tag wearebg in honor of her birthday.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Scott McLean in London, where British Prime Minister Liz Truss has now apologized and almost completely scrapped her controversial economic plan, which included tens of billions of dollars in unfunded tax cuts which critics say made inflation worse. But now Truss is in an awkward position, having conceded her own plans didn't work, she's now instead having to champion plans that were backed by her leadership opponent. She insists that she will lead the party into the next general election, but now with some conservative MPs already calling for her to resign, there is endless speculation about how long she can survive as prime minister.


China has made a very unusual move of delaying the release of its third quarter GDP. Now, some experts are saying this is because, well, the data doesn't look so good. China is dealing with a sharp economic slowdown because of constant Covid lockdowns, a property sector in crisis, and high unemployment. They say this last-minute delay is because Beijing doesn't want anything overshadowing this ongoing party congress. This is a twice in a decade meeting, and this time Xi is expected to step into an unprecedented third term. It's clear that Beijing wants China and the world's focus to be all on Xi and his success.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, Iranian Kurdish women risking it all to flee Iran's violent government crackdown on nationwide protests and training to fight across the border in Iraqi Kurdistan. As security forces threaten the lives of their loved ones who have joined the demonstrations, these women say they are ready to die for their rights.

CNN's Nima Elbagir is live near the Iraq-Iran border with this amazing story.

Nima, tell us what you've seen.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, even just to make it to the relative safety of here inside Iraqi-Kurdistan, Brianna, these women and families with young children are taking some enormous risks, attempting to circumnavigate live fire wielded upon them by revolutionary guards and Iranian regime forces.

These are a few of the stories they shared with us. Take a look at this.


ELBAGIR (voice over): In a remote area in northern Iraq's Kurdish region, an all-female fighting unit belonging to the armed Kurdish Iranian opposition party PAC (ph) continues to train. These women have been pulled back from the front line. For the last three weeks, the area they patrolled in the northeast of Iraq has been hit by shells sent from across the border by Iran.


This unit is part of a larger fighting force. For every single one of these women, this war is personal. Razan (ph), not her real name, crossed the border from Iran with the

help of smuggles just over a week ago. The city of Sanandaj, which she calls home, is in Iran's Kurdish majority western region. And in recent weeks has been likened to a war zone. According to its residents, as protests have erupted here, and across Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian. Razan, just a teenager, joined these protests.

RAZAN (through translator): We were treating casualties, but we were also like most people, participating in the revolution, in the uprising. Everyone who suffered from the oppression of the Iranian regime came down to the streets and market and defied the government. I was also participating, and I had no fear of death.

ELBAGIR: Razan says that while she was dragged by her uncovered hair, she passed prone, lifeless bodies. And even after she left, she says she's continued to receive information about people she knows who have died.

Like this man. Yajar Yahimi (ph), a newly married 27-year-old, murdered by Iranian regime forces for sounding his horn in solidarity with protesters.

ELBAGIR (on camera): What is happening with your family?

RAZAN: My family told them that no matter how many members of my family they arrest and for as long as they oppress my people, I will not surrender to the invading Iranian government. We are ready to die.

ELBAGIR (voice over): When Kurdish Iranian Masha Amini died in police custody, her name became a symbol of the oppression of women across Iran. But Mahsa is not her true name. Her Kurdish name is Zhina, a name Iranian authorities barred her family, like many other ethnic minority groups, from using. The regime only legally registers Persian names. Yet, in her last recorded moment, Zhina resorted to begging her captors in her Kurdish mother tongue, in treaties which were ignored, reinforcing the fears of Iran's Kurdish minority.

Hundreds of Iranian Kurdish families have crossed the border to Iraq seeking refuge from the most recent regime crackdown, but even here they're not safe. This family fears the long arm of are the Iranian regime after what they saw inside Iran.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I left after I saw one of my friends killed during the demonstration in Sacriz (ph), near of the mosque, right in front of the mosque. They say they are Islamic, but how can they claim to be an Islamic republic when I saw them murdering my friend outside the mosque?

ELBAGIR: He and his family have every reason to be afraid. Iran's reach to oppress the protests within its borders is stretching far beyond there. Over the last few weeks, Iranian missiles have fallen into the Kurdish region of Iraq almost every day. The onslaught is relentless. This map shows where Iranian strikes have hit, killing at least 18 and injuring at least 63 to date. This video filmed by a local television channel shows the moment just

after an Iranian drone and several missiles struck one of the Kurdish- Iranian opposition party bases killing eight soldiers and injuring more. On a day on which 70 missiles Kurdish authorities say rained down in the space of just four hours.

This base only two years ago was on the front line in the fight against ISIS after PAC (ph) received U.S. training. It isn't far from U.S. Central Command CENTCOM forces. Just one day after the attack on the PAC base, CENTCOM shot down another Iranian drone, which appeared, they say, as a threat to CENTCOM forces stationed in the area. And as the U.S. anti-ISIS presence in Iraq is set to continue, so is the threat Iran poses.

These female fighters have vowed to fight until there is a regime change in Iran. They say they share Zhina's pain. Called by a name forced on her by a repressive regime. All of them have a Kurdish name, just like her. Not spoken outside their homes. All of them say it's hard to imagine going back to how life was before.


ELBAGIR: This entire border is on high alert.


And it really reinforces the Iranian regimes intent to ensure that the pain it is feeling inside its own border is communicated not just around the region, to the U.S. and its forces here, but also to the women and the families that are brave enough to attempt to flee its reach.

Brianna and John.

KEILAR: Nima, what an incredible report. Thank you so much.

Nima Elbagir, live for us near the Iran-Iraq border.

ELBAGIR: Thank you.

KEILAR: An extreme drought drying up parts of the Mississippi River, making a once isolated landmark now accessible on foot and revealing a 19th century shipwreck that used to be submerged.

Plus, the House Oversight Committee says the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service exorbitant rates to stay at Trump properties. The eye-popping numbers ahead.

BERMAN: And Kevin Spacey in tears in the sex abuse trial against him. What he said in his defense, ahead.


BERMAN: How low can the mighty Mississippi go? The river is already at historic lows in some areas.


And as water levels plummet, a shipwreck believed to be more than a century old has emerged along the banks in Baton Rouge.

Let's get right to meteorologist Chad Myers.

Chad, these picture are just remarkable.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Really remarkable. And I lived along the Missouri, which is feeding into the Mississippi, for many, many years. And I'll tell you what, I have never seen pictures like this before at all. Record historic lows.

This weather brought to you by Safelite, your vehicle glass and recalibration experts.

So, what caused it? Well, long term drought. All of the - all - every one of these brown dots, a record low across the Mississippi right now. Since we've been keeping records. And that's been a very long time. Even Memphis, all the way down to a new record low. For a while barge traffic was stopped. They did some dredging. Some barges are moving again, but it's the historic drought. Ninety-nine percent of Oklahoma is in severe drought or worse. Nebraska, 80 percent in severe drought on worse. Now, there's dry conditions in the Ohio, but not enough to make up for it.

There will be some showers starting next Monday. Monday. No rain at all until then. And that's just enough to get the car dirty.

BERMAN: Tough situation there.


BERMAN: Chad, thank you very much.

KEILAR: A group of Boy Scouts from El Paso, Texas, is safe this morning after a dramatic airlift rescue from a national forest in New Mexico. The troop of 16 boys and nine adults set out on a multi-day hike earlier this month but they became stranded by heavy rains and rising river waters around their campsite. They tried a daring river crossing by making a human chain only for the river to sweep two members of the group downstream. Last week state police and the National Guard pinpointed the troop's location but couldn't perform the rescue because of bad weather. So, they sent harness crews down to the ground while the choppers hovered overhead, eventually rescuing the entire group of 25 people without incident. No one hurt. Thank goodness.

Next, hundreds of thousands of diabetics in America forced to ration their insulin.

BERMAN: An elevated cancer risk linked to popular hair-straightening products.



BERMAN: A new study this morning highlights one challenge for Americans with diabetes. More than 37 million adults in the U.S. do have diabetes. And for some, insulin can mean the difference between life and death. This new study, as I said, highlights the struggle that some are going through to get enough of it.

With me is CNN medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula.

What does the research this morning show us?

DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so the research was a CDC dates set where they basically did a survey of about 982 Americans who have diabetes and use insulin. And from that they estimated that 1.3 million Americans, or 16.5 percent who have diabetes and use insulin had rationed their insulin use in the previous year. And we know that this was more common based on this data set in Type 1 diabetics and those who were under 65, African Americans and those who were middle income.

When they looked across the spectrum of insured versus uninsured, again, more common in uninsured, but clearly they also saw this in the private insurance population as well. We know that insulin prices in America way higher than in many other countries. They've almost doubled or tripled in the last 10, 15, 20 years. And many people are left with limited options when they're asked to pay thousands -- hundreds of thousands of dollar as month for what is really a life- saving drug for so many diabetics.

BERMAN: Well, and that's why when I read the top line of this study, I was like, really? I mean insulin's not optional for most people with diabetes.

NARULA: Yes. The health risks are really serious. They can be life- threatening. And for Type 1 diabetic, we call this almost the oxygen or water for them. I mean they really need this to survive. And without it they can develop a condition called ketoacidosis. Many of us who trained in international medication took care of these patients and they can be very sick. They can decompensate within hours to days.

For Type 2 diabetics, if the sugar is left uncontrolled, it leads to cardiovascular complications, kidney failure, blindness, amputation. I mean the consequences are real.

What's so ironic is that this drug was discovered almost 100 years ago. And the team that discovered it sold the patent for $1. And the gentleman who did that said, insulin does not belong to me it belongs to the world. They wanted this to be a gift because they recognized how important this was.

BERMAN: You know, government and the White House now fighting to tamp down insulin costs. It's something that will have an effect hopefully for many Americans.

Dr. Tara Narula, great to see you. Thank you very much.

So, three critical debates three weeks out from the midterms. The economy, abortion rights and the insurrection playing a major role.

KEILAR: And Ralphie returns in the much-anticipated sequel to "A Christmas Story."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Da -- da -- da!

Oh, fudge.




KEILAR: The Chargers get an ugly win in overtime against the Broncos thanks to a gutsy performance from their kicker.

Andy Scholes has this morning's "Bleacher Report."



Yes, you know, we've seen some really bad football games this year and last night was really no different. It was the first time in 30 years a game went to overtime and there were four punts and no first downs.

Now, the deciding play came with the Chargers punting. The Broncos Montrell Washington muffed it after his teammate was blocked into him. So the Charger got it at the 28. And Dustin Hopkins, who tweaked his hamstring earlier in the game, coming through with his fourth field goal. His teammates pick him up. Chargers win 19-16 to get to 4-2 on the season.

All right, imagine spending three hours at the ballpark only to be told to go home. There won't be a game tonight. Well, that what happened to Yankee fans last night in the Bronx.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They should have canceled the game earlier. If they saw the weather was that bad, why did they just wait two hour - two and a half hours in our seats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took off tomorrow anyways. So, we'll be ready to go for tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me, I spent about $200 tonight. I want my money back. This is garbage. Absolute garbage.


SCHOLES: Yes, so the decisive game five against the Guardians was supposed to be at 7:00. At 6:20 Major League Baseball said the start was going to be delayed due to rain. But then the game was completely called off at 9:30. So, a long night of nothing for those fans. They'll now have to go back today at 4:00. Whoever wins is going to have no time to rest. Game one against the Astros in the ALCS is tomorrow. The NLCS between the Padres and the Phillies gets started tonight.

And, Brianna, I'm not sure really what's worse, with, you know, starting the game at 9:30, 10:00, and then it going into the wee hours of the morning, or having to leave with not seeing any baseball and coming back today. So, I'm not sure which -- both bad choices, I guess.

KEILAR: I know, both terrible. What -- he said "it's garbage." It's wet garbage is what it is. Wet garbage.

SCHOLES: Yes. He was not happy.

KEILAR: All right, we'll wait to see what today holds.


Andy, thank you so much.

Ahead, we will be joined by NBA Hall of Famer and "NBA" on TNT commentator Grant Hill as the NBA season kicks off.