Return to Transcripts main page
One World with Zain Asher
Russia Unleashes Drone And Missile Strikes Throughout Ukraine; Third-Place Finisher Possible To Be Kingmaker In Turkey Runoff; Powerful Storm Barrels Through Myanmar; OpenAI CEO Testifies At Senate Panel Hearing; Florida Teacher Faces Investigation For Showing A Disney Movie; Sudan Violence Enters Its Second Month; Opposition Parties Form Thailand's New Government; Austrian Train Plays Hitler's Speech; Clean-Up For Bayelsa State Estimated At $12 Billion; Nigerian Chef Sets A World Record In Marathon Cooking. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired May 16, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Eighteen missiles fired at Ukraine. Here is what's coming up. The skies over Kyiv were illuminated. Russia's
failed attack on the Ukrainian capital. Also ahead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNKNOWN: The enjoyment they have is from blood, the blood of the Niger Delta people.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ASHER: Fighting for their lives. Thousands of Nigerians are demanding justice from big oil. Plus --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: It's ruining everything. It's not what America stands for.
ASHER: Controversy in the classroom, the politically charged back and forth over how students in Florida should be educated. Hello everyone, I'm Zain
Asher in New York and this is ONE WORLD. From the air, land and sea, from the north, south and east, Russia unleashed a series of drone and missile
strikes throughout Ukraine early this morning as Moscow braces for Kyiv's long-awaited counteroffensive.
Ukrainian officials described the attack on the capital as exceptional in its intensity, and the country's defense minister says all enemy targets
were shot down, including six Russian hypersonic Kinzhai missiles which were part of new advanced weaponry touted by Vladimir Putin back in 2018.
The Kremlin claims that its forces destroyed a U.S.-made patriot air defense system in Kyiv earlier today.
Meantime, the Wagner chief says a U.S. citizen has died while fighting in the embattled city of Bakhmut. CNN's Nic Robertson joins us live now from
Eastern Ukraine. So, Nic, let's just talk about this Kremlin claim that it has shot down or rather destroyed a patriot U.S.-made air defense system.
What evidence is the Kremlin providing and what are the Ukrainians saying about that?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The Kremlin hasn't provided any evidence. The Ukrainians are saying that they're not going to
comment. This does seem to stray potentially into the territory of propaganda. There's nothing that Russia would like more than to destroy
equipment that the United States has given to the Ukrainian military. The Patriot air defense system has been a critical component of the ever-
growing and strengthening air defense around the capital, Kyiv.
The fact that it apparently, as a part of an integrated air defense system was able to help take down and defend the capital from six of those high
speed hypersonic, 10 times the speed of sound missiles fired from aircraft to the north of Kyiv is significant. It does appear that the Russians are
doing what Ukrainian officials said that they were trying to do last week, which is try to find a way through those new and improved air defenses.
So, not only these hypersonic missiles, but the other cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea, the Iskander S-400 large land launched missiles fired
at Kyiv, as well, three of those from the east within Russian territory. All trying to find a way to penetrate that air defense system and
apparently failing. Kyiv refusing to comment on Russia's claims that are not backed up by evidence. Zain.
ASHER: Zelenskyy now has a whole sort of slew, whole sort of arsenal of new weaponry secured from Ukrainian allies, particularly in Europe. Does he
have what he needs now for this counteroffensive that does appear to be imminent?
ROBERSTSON: You know, it's had several things over the past few weeks. And again, thinking that we're on the run up to this much-vaunted
counteroffensive, providing sort of country information, if you will, can be part of a campaign of information to confuse the enemy. So, on the one
hand, he has said over the past couple of weeks that they're not quite ready, then it said that they're ready, then that, you know, there's more,
they would like more equipment.
I think the sense I can give you from here, having talked, you know, to a number of different commanders along the front is that they're ready, that
they are waiting for a signal to be told to go. None of them seem to know if they'll be involved in the counteroffensive or not.
But one thing that we do consistently hear is they would like more ammunition. But again, these frontline commanders will say, I might be here
asking for this type of ammunition to do this type of job, but they say, I can't read the mind of the commanders in Kyiv, who may be stockpiling this
ammunition because they know that the counteroffensive is going to be somewhere else.
So again, it's very, very hard to read the tea leaves here and the simple reason for that, of course is, surprise is what's going to help give the
Ukrainians a victory. Why? Because the Russians know it's coming and because the Russians have dug in and got very deep defenses. But one thing
we are learning here, when the Ukrainians do make a small counteroffensive in one place, the Russians have to pull troops out of the line somewhere
else. This is how they hope to be able to break through. A small push somewhere, Russians move, they respond, a hole opens up and off they go.
That's the hope.
ASHER: Right, Nic Robertson, live for us there, thank you so much. South Africa's President says the leaders of several African nations are
proposing peace missions to Ukraine and Russia. Cyril Ramaphosa says he presented the plan in separate phone calls to Vladimir Zelenskyy and
Vladimir Putin over the weekend, and they agreed the group should begin preparations. Mr. Ramaphosa said aside from South Africa, the initiative is
on behalf of Zambia, Senegal, Congo, Uganda, and Egypt.
Turkey is gearing up for a runoff presidential election in just two weeks' time. Opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu today tried to rally his
supporters, tweeting out messages to young people who might be looking for change. No candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote in Sunday's
election, so a runoff between Kilicdaroglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set for May 28.
Analysts say the opposition candidate certainly does face a very steep uphill battle, however, the third-place finisher with just over 5 percent
of the vote could actually end up becoming the kingmaker, depending on who he backs. Becky Anderson explains.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Sinan Ogan's 5 plus percent of the vote will be crucial to secure in the runoff on May the 28th when the
country will head to the polls for a second time in a contest between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the opposition leader Kemal
Kilicdaroglu. Ogan is part of the right-wing ancestral alliance, which is staunchly conservative, anti-immigrant and anti-Kurdish. He tells CNN that
the alliance has not made a decision on whether to endorse either candidate, but he is making his demands clear.
SINAN OGAN, TURKISH ATA ALLIANCE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): What we're thinking is all the political parties should
exclude terror organizations. We don't have to give our support to either of the parties. There is no such rule. When we first started this race, we
thought we need to either win the government or we are going to be the kingmaker and we are at that status. Political parties like HDP or Huda, we
want those candidates not to rely on parties that have no distance between terrorist groups and we succeeded in that.
ANDERSON: Ogan is a former lawmaker for the ultra-nationalist, National Movement Party which was allied with Erdogan's AK Party for this election.
But he was expelled from the party back in 2017, when the leader backed Erdogan's referendum to transform Turkey from a parliamentary system to an
In the lead up to this election, Kilicdaroglu secured the support of the HDP. That's a leftist, mostly Kurdish party that is currently in court over
its suspected ties to the PKK, a group that Turkey, the U.S. and E.U. have labelled a terror group. The HDP denies any formal links to the group. If
he decides to throw his weight behind one of the candidates, Sinan Ogan expects those who voted for him to follow suit.
OGAN (through translator): Our electorate is very bonded with us and of course where we lean to, they will come with us. Our base electorate
wouldn't vote for those other candidates because Erdogan was the Islamist candidate and Kilicdaroglu was the leftist candidate. But who is voting for
us is Kemalists supporting Ataturk and that's why we got their vote. They consider us a younger leader and we understand the world better today.
ANDERSON: Becky Anderson, CNN, Istanbul.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ASHER: Let's bring in our Jomana Karadsheh who joins us live now from Istanbul. So, Jomana, as we just heard there in Becky's piece again, Ogan
really hasn't clearly hasn't pledged support for either candidate just yet. But his supporters do appear to be a little bit more aligned with Erdogan.
Given that, given the fact that also Kilicdaroglu is clearly in second place, what will it take for Kilicdaroglu to sort of come up from behind on
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's very tough thing. I mean you speak to everyone, even people who voted for the opposition and they're
very concerned going into this second round. You hear the opposition speaking very positively about the way ahead. They're still saying that we
can win, we can do this. Even Kilicdaroglu today also repeating that but also saying that we are the side in his words, that will struggle to get
rid of quote unquote, this tyrannical government.
So, it's not an easy task ahead. I mean the, the opposition went into that first race very optimistic, really, you know, you had their, their voters
believing that this was a moment that they could seize, that this was the moment where they could bring about change that many, and according to the
numbers we've seen about half the population once change in this country but they did not deliver.
And they will probably be asking themselves questions of what happened. Why were they not able to do this? Was it because of their candidate? There
were lots of questions about whether Kilicdaroglu was the right man and was this the right time for them to put him forward as their candidate?
And I mean, Zain, also you have to look at the fact that they did try and unseat President Erdogan at his weakest. This is the time when President
Erdogan was under a lot of criticism. His ratings were in a downward trajectory whether it's because of the state of the economy, which everyone
across this country would agree is a big, big issue, the top issue in everyone's minds right now is handling of the economy or the disastrous
handling of the initial response really to the devastating earthquake back in February.
But none of this, Zain, appeared to really sway President Erdogan, his supporters away from President Erdogan, they were still sticking with him.
And now of course you have that five percent that's out there for grabs. And as you mentioned, analysts believe that, you know, a lot of the voters
for Sinan Ogan would likely lean towards President Erdogan than they would for the opposition, a tough 12 days ahead for Turkey's opposition. But
certainly right now, the wind is behind Erdogan.
ASHER: Yeah, there are a lot of advantages that come with being an incumbent and clearly Erdogan is benefiting from them. Jomana Karadsheh,
live for us there, thank you so much.
There are reports that at least 60 people have died and dozens are missing in Myanmar after one of the strongest storms ever to hit the country.
Residents of the impoverished striking state are trying to pick up the pieces after Cyclone Mocha tore through the area Sunday, flattening homes
and buildings and leaving debris streams across villages. CNN's Vedika Sud reports.
VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Rescue groups are bracing for large-scale loss of life in Rohingya camps and villages near Sittwe in Western Myanmar after
Tropical Cyclone Mocha struck Sunday, one of the strongest to ever hit the country. The whites were destruction evident in these satellite images
released by Maxar compared to images from February this year. The storm destroyed homes, damaged roofs and submerged a bridge.
According to local aid agencies and journalists CNN has spoken to, the poorly constructed Rohingya camps in Rakhine state have been hit the
hardest. The isolated and poverty-stricken region has been rocked by political violence in recent years and hundreds of thousands of the
persecuted Rohingya minority group are confined to camps there.
According to a resident, 90 percent of the shelters at a Rohingya camp near Sittwe have been destroyed.
UNKNOWN: We have been refugee for almost 11 years now since the violence happened in 2012 and this storm makes us refugee again by destroying the
shelters. For this reason, we are not able to access health care and not able to take a rest. We don't have a place. Right behind me, this is --
this is the scenes you are seeing now. So, we don't have a place to take a rest and we are not able to support our family members with, you know,
basic needs like food.
SUD: The biggest challenge aid agencies are facing at this moment is poor connectivity. Four networks remain unstable and roads remain blocked. It
may take days to understand the real damage to life and property in Rakhine State. The last storm with similar strength to make landfall was Tropical
Cyclone Giri in 2010. It killed more than 150 people and destroyed more than 15,000 homes in Rakhine State. Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.
ASHER: If this technology goes wrong, it can grow quite wrong. That's a declaration from the CEO and Co-Founder of OpenAI, the artificial
intelligence company behind viral chatbot, ChatGPT. Sam Altman is testifying on Capitol Hill during a Senate panel hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM ALTMAN: GPT-4 and things, other systems like it, are good at doing tasks, not jobs. And so, you see already people that are using GPT-4 to do
their job much more efficiently by helping them with tasks. Now, GPT-4 will, I think, entirely automate away some jobs. And it will create new
ones that we believe will be much better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: But the hearing opened with a demonstration of why AI has so many tech experts concerned. I want you to listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, U.S. SENATE DEMOCRAT: And now for some introductory remarks. Too often we have seen what happens when technology outpaces
regulation. The unbridled exploitation of personal data. The proliferation of disinformation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: That's Senator Richard Blumenthal there, starting the AI hearing with a deep fake recording of his own voice. I want to bring in CNN Tech
Writer Clare Duffy. Clare, thank you so much for being with us. So, what does regulation look like here? I mean, obviously, there does have to be
some kind of safety standard. What's Sam Altman proposing?
CLARE DUFFY, CNN TECH WRITER: So, this seems like this is really what lawmakers are trying to work out here. They're grappling with the potential
harms of this technology. In a lot of ways, it feels like lawmakers are trying to avoid a situation like what happened with social media, where
nobody really wrapped their heads around the potential harms of this technology until it had already caused many of those harms, caused bad
things to happen. And then they're sort of behind the ball a little bit. And so, you see both lawmakers and these industry players saying we need
regulation, we need to get out ahead of this.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has suggested a sort of scheme in which lawmakers can lay out guardrails, a sort of licensing scheme in which lawmakers can put
some guardrails around some of these biggest AI developers. And in a lot of ways, you know, there's some suggestions that there could be more
transparency around this technology, that some of the developers of these AI systems should be making it clear when text or when an image has been
created by AI, should be sharing information about how these systems are being trained. And Sam Altman also suggests that there could be a new
federal agency specifically to oversee AI development.
ASHER: And just in terms of the sort of risks here. When you think about social media, how does social media really amplify the risks of AI,
especially given that we are gearing up to an election season here in the U.S.?
DUFFY: It is really concerning. I mean, I think social media makes it that much easier to spread and to share some of these images and text and even
voice as you heard Richard Blumenthal create. You know, these AI- generated images and text and videos that can be created and then very quickly
disseminated by social media, I think we're reaching a place where this AI technology has become so easily accessible, so cheap to use, where these
images, these fake things can be created and disseminated more quickly than they can be debunked or removed by social media platforms.
I mean, there's obviously a big role for the social media platforms to play in terms of thinking about how are they going to address it when you see
deep fakes created and spread on social media and how quickly can they identify and remove things that could be harmful, especially when it comes
to the election, fake information, or, you know, you could see somebody creating a lawmaker's voice over using AI. And so, I think this is
something that there are many different parties that are going to have to play a role in addressing going forward.
ASHER: Yeah, the amplification aspect of all of this with social media, you know, just in terms of deepfakes spreading across the internet. But on top
of that, the technology itself is developing so rapidly, it is scary. Clare Duffy, live for us there, thank you so much.
The U.S. Virgin Islands has issued a subpoena for Tesla CEO Elon Musk. It's demanding all communications between Musk and JP Morgan Chase Bank related
to the late Jeffrey Epstein. The Virgin Islands is suing JP Morgan Chase, alleging it benefited financially from Epstein's sex trafficking operation,
and it failed to report his suspicious financial activity.
Epstein had a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. The petition to
serve the subpoena does not implicate Musk in any wrongdoing.
Right, still to come here, politics or policy. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs a controversial new law ahead of a widely expected
ASHER: A fifth grade teacher in Florida is under investigation for showing her students a Disney movie with a gay character in it. Jenna Barbie says
she played "Strange World" for her classroom after a morning of exams, a film she says was tied to her Earth Science curriculum. But she claims
despite following the required approval process for PG-rated films, she was reported by a parent and a school board member.
Barbee spoke to CNN earlier about why she believes the investigation comes down to politics, not policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNA BARBEE, 5TH GRADE TEACHER WINDING WATERS: It's just a mess. This was not even a topic that my students even noticed or cared about because it's
already an accepted topic in the classroom. It's not even a theme of the movie, it's an element. And the students didn't think anything of it, I
didn't think anything of it, and now it's like, whoa, Miss Barbee, you're in so much trouble because of this. Why is it so wrong? Why is it so wrong?
And like, how do I answer that? They're trying to strip individuality and diversity to fit one common agenda, and it's ruining everything. It's not
what America stands for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: The state of Florida is represented by its high-profile governor Ron DeSantis, and it's shaping up to be ground zero in America's culture wars.
Sources tell CNN DeSantis is expected to launch his U.S. presidential bid before the end of the month, and he's been busy in an apparent attempt to
lay the groundwork.
On Monday, DeSantis signed a bill into law that restricts how gender and race can be taught at the college level. The new measure defunds diversity,
equity and inclusion from all state universities. Critics denounce it as educational overreach, but DeSantis says DEI programs are quote, a
distraction from the core mission.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON DESANTIS, FLORIDA GOVERNOR: This has basically been used as a veneer to impose an ideological agenda and that is wrong. And in fact, if you look at
the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion, and
indoctrination. And that has no place in our public institutions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: CNN's Stephen Collinson joins us live now from Washington to talk about this. So, this idea of defunding diversity, equity and inclusion from
educational institutions, I mean just explain to us why this is good politics for Ron DeSantis. I mean clearly this is alienating millions of
black and brown people. Why is it good politics for him?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: Well, DeSantis has figured out the large portion of the Republican primary electorate, should he run
for president, as he expects he will do, are in favor of all this.
He's created an image of himself as a conservative hero by pursuing these cultural issues. DeSantis basically argues that America's educational and
business institutions have been overturned -- overtaken by woke culture. What that is, he means the teaching of racial gender, LGBT issues and
diversity. He says this is an ideological effort by the left in the United States to indoctrinate American children in a way that conflicts with what
conservatives would see as a traditional American character and, you know, the history of the United States. So, that's why he's doing it. And he's
made a great name for himself in conservative circles.
There are two issues here, of course. When you adopt this kind of policy, as we saw with that teacher, it comes across as an authoritarian-style
leader trying to mandate his own ideological views in the schools and suppressing thought in education. And I think there's a big question over
whether if DeSantis were to win the Republican nomination and get to a general election, whether this would be a winning issue.
I don't think this is something that would really help him in a lot of general election swing states. But it's part of this greater belief among
conservatives that an increasingly diverse, racially and socially intolerant United States is a threat to a traditional white conservative
religious culture. It's a very powerful feeling inside the Republican Party.
ASHER: Yeah, because this is not an isolated issue. When you think about the six-week abortion ban, when you think about banning African-American
studies, critical race theory, you have also the don't say gay people. Obviously, we just saw that clip of the Florida teacher under investigation
for showing a Disney movie with a gay character in it. You say that, yes, it will likely help him in the primary, but it might not help him on the
national stage. It worked for Trump, though, didn't it?
COLLINSON: Well, it worked for Trump to some extent. I don't think Trump, although he created the Supreme Court majority that overturned abortion and
has delved into some of these cultural issues, I don't think anyone has gone as far as DeSantis in doing so. Trump didn't pass many laws on these
kinds of issues. DeSantis has passed multiple laws on gender issues, transgender rights.
ASHER: But, Stephen, when it comes to discriminatory rhetoric, can you compare DeSantis to Trump, when it comes to that kind of rhetoric, the
COLLINSON: Yeah and that's of course part of what DeSantis is trying to do. He's also worked out that Republican voters, the ones that voted for Trump,
that he would need to win the nomination, they like a bullying character. That's one of the reasons why he's adopting a lot of this leadership. But
unlike Trump, DeSantis has also passed laws and actually changed the culture in Florida in a way that Trump wasn't able to do in the United
The problem has come, of course, when you set yourself up as a bully and then you're exposed as DeSantis has been when Disney stood up to him in
this big clash over his transgender law, then you begin to look a little bit weak. That has given Trump an opening to say that, you know, DeSantis
can't even take on Mickey Mouse, so he couldn't beat the Democrats.
So, DeSantis, I think, has not really thought through the national implications of what he's doing on a state level. And that's why it's a
little bit politically risky for him. But this is a national conservative movement, as you point out, on cultural issues that is exceedingly
important in Republican politics and it's shaping the wider politics of the United States.
ASHER: All right, Stephen Collison, I'm sure we'll have you back when Ron DeSantis formally announces. We appreciate it. Thank you so much.
AHER: Still to come here, passengers in Austria are left shocked after a speech by Hitler was playing on a train's loudspeakers. What we're learning
about the incident, just ahead.
ASHER: Hello and welcome back to ONE WORLD. Let's catch up on the headlines. Fighting between Sudan's warring factions has entered its second
month. You're looking at video from the paramilitary rapid support forces. Both the RSF and Sudan's armed forces are making unverified claims of
battlefield victories. The death toll now tops 800 amid a worsening humanitarian crisis.
Thailand's incumbent prime minister says the formation of the country's new government is underway. Unofficial results show that Move Forward Party is
projected to win the most seats. The four other opposition parties have agreed to form a government with them. The vote is seen as a rebuke of the
military-backed government that has been in power since the 2014 coup.
Austrian police are searching for two suspects who are believed to have accessed a train's intercom system and played a speech by Hitler and Nazi
slogans. Passengers on board say they were horrified and feared the train was being hijacked.
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is in Berlin for us. Fred, what more do we know?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Zain. Well, we know that they've actually now identified those two suspects and
filed criminal complaints against them. That does not mean that these two people were detained. In fact, from what we're hearing right now, they've
not been detained yet, but certainly those criminal complaints have been filed and the authorities now say that they know who these people are.
And as you can imagine, in this part of Europe, in Germany, and of course in Austria as well, something like this is no laughing matter. And one of
the things that these Austrian authorities also pointed out, they said that the two people that they had identified do not work for the Austrian
railway company and that's significant because the Austrians say that that means that they illegally accessed the train's intercom systems.
They didn't hack in from the outside. They access the train's intercom system and then played these messages and played that speech and people who
were on board that train, so that all of this started with weird music, weird noises that could be heard and then culminated in about 20 seconds of
a speech by Adolf Hitler, which then ended with people, obviously in the crowd back then saying "Sieg Heil" and "Heil Hitler".
And you're absolutely right. People who were on that train say that they were absolutely horrified by what they heard, one of them being a Vienna
rabbi who said at the beginning he thought this was some sort of bad joke, but then feared that the train could actually be hijacked.
Now, the Austrian railway services, obviously they themselves are angry and shocked by this. They actually put out a tweet a couple of minutes ago
against racism and anti-Semitism, obviously saying that they will deal with this in a very stringent way. They are also saying that they hope that
these people are apprehended and punished as hard as possible.
Again, this is something that's causing big uproar in Austria right now, Zain.
ASHER: All right, Fred Pleitgen, live for us there, thank you so much. A ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad has ended the latest cycle of
violence in the region. But days of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza and hundreds of rockets fired at Israel have taken a heavy toll.
CNN's Ben Wedeman spoke to one father about the grief of losing his son.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another father in Gaza has lost his son. As always happens here when calm returns,
mourners come to pay respects for those who are killed. But 34-year-old Abdullah Hasnain wasn't killed in an Israeli airstrike. Rather, shrapnel
from a missile fired by Islamic Jihad from his native Gaza into Israel ripped through his chest and abdomen.
Abdullah was one of around 18,000 Gazans to receive a permit to work in Israel. His father, Jibril, also working in Israel, rushed to the hospital.
It was too late. Human kindness triumphed over the passions of war.
I found it made no difference to the doctors if we were Arabs or Jews, recalls Jadid (ph). I asked them to help me with the procedures to take my
son home and bury him, and they did. Abdullah leaves behind a wife, four daughters and two sons. His children, his family, a whole family of seven
people is now destitute, a relative, Mohammed tells me. These Bedouins are pious people. They prefer not to place blame. Abdullah's death, they say,
was God's will. A spokesman for Islamic Jihad denied any responsibility.
A short drive away, residents survey the ruins of a large house bombed by Israeli aircraft. Inspectors from the Ministry of Public Works gather
information on the destruction.
WEDEMAN (on-camera): The neighbors say it wasn't a secret. This building belonged to somebody who was in Islamic Jihad's missile unit. The building
was destroyed on Friday evening. In the process, however, all the homes in this area were severely damaged.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): The blast shattered windows and toppled walls. The neighbors had nothing to do with missiles and don't know when or if help
will arrive. Shadi's (ph) home is in shambles. He shows me all the help he's received so far, a bag of food worth a few dollars.
My house is destroyed, he shouts, a kilo of sugar and a kilo of flour. I'm going crazy. Can I fix my house with that? It's all madness, and they never
get used to it. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Gaza.
ASHER: We'll be right back with more.
ASHER: The Niger Delta in Nigeria is West Africa's largest oil-producing region. It's also said to be one of the most polluted places on Earth.
Despite the billions of dollars in oil that's pumped out, activists say almost nothing is pumped back into the community.
Poverty is extreme. Shell Oil has reported more than a thousand oil spills there since 2011, that's according to Amnesty International, with about
seven Olympic swimming pools of oil dumped in areas that have next to nothing.
Residents say fishing and farming regions, livelihoods of their communities are now polluted, as are the drinking water and the forests, as well.
Accountability is rare. Oil companies with vast resources sometimes blame local subsidiaries or claim the spills are the result of oil theft.
On top of all of that, the Statue of Limitations gives people a very narrow and limited window of time to bring suits against the companies. Last week,
the U.K. Supreme Court ruled that it was simply too late for a group of 27,000 people to sue two shell subsidiaries over a 2011 oil spill off the
coast of Nigeria.
Separately, in Bayelsa State, a new report released Monday puts the price for the clean-up there at $12 billion for decades-old oil spills over a 12-
year period. Bayelsa is one of the major oil-producing states on the Niger Delta. Local leaders say it is time for those responsible to pay up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING BUBARAYE DAKOLO, EKPETIAMA KINGSOM IN BAYELSA STATE (voice-over): You see the palpable poverty in the land and amongst the people, you will
appreciate to what level we have been cheated and exploited. I believe that the world should compel the IOCs and the federal government of Nigeria to
do justice to the Niger Delta people, to clean all the spillages of the Niger Delta people. They should wake up and live up to their responsibility
that the enjoyment they have is from blood, the blood of the Niger Delta people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Time now for the exchange. We're joined now by Environmental Activist Chima Williams, one of the lawyers who actually did successfully
sue and win against Royal Dutch Shell a couple of years ago. Chima, thank you so much for being with us.
There are so many oil spills that take place in the Niger Delta. And I really want people to understand that, because oil spills in the Niger
Delta are not just a sort of one-time thing. I mean, it's unquantifiable just how many oil spills there are. Some people say they happen almost
every week and so many of these spills, however large or small they are, simply go unreported.
When you think about the consequences of that, people are talking about the pollution leading to neo-natal deaths. People are talking about, you know,
groundwater polluted, contaminated with benzene. Just so many, I mean, rivers that are barely fishable, for example. What does it take for
lawsuits against some of these oil companies to actually end up being successful?
CHIMA WILLIAMS, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST AND LAWYER: Well, thank you very much, first and foremost, for having me on this conversation today. I will
start with, if you want to do a successful litigation, it starts from the preparation of your cases, okay, your evidence gathering mechanism and
processes, and, you know, the research you conduct into what is necessary to be presented and what is unnecessary.
The research you conduct on impact of the complaints you are making, who are the responsible parties, okay, who do you intend to bring in into the
case so that the respective parties, necessary parties are brought before the court of law. And then, when you have prepared your cases, you move to
the next level, which is organizing the victims themselves and, you know, walking in trust with them to be able to get the evidence that they have to
Don't forget that facts belong to the litigants and the law belongs to lawyers to impute. So, if you put that, yeah --
ASHER: But, but, but, Chima, even when you think about, Chima, even when you think about, you know, the lawyers sort of doing their research and
collecting the evidence on behalf of victims. There's still so much that these communities are up against, because a lot of the oil companies will
either blame their subsidiaries for the oil spills, they'll say that the oil spills are the result of oil theft, for example. The list goes on.
The statute of limitations is also another issue, whereby plaintiffs only have a very narrow window in which to file their case. But of course, the
effects of an oil spill can last decades, if not longer. So, just walk us through what these communities are really up against when competing or
trying to go up against big oil.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, of course, we know that there is no match between the communities and the multi-nationals when it comes to resources,
availability of resources to do necessary things in terms of scientific evidence collection and analysis and proof, okay, so it takes the
creativity of lawyers to be able to match the data they have, the information they have, you know -- don't forget that when it comes to
environmental issues, you know, once you have made allegations, you shift the own news because this is not -- they are two different things.
If you are making a criminal litigation, it's proved beyond reasonable doubt that if it is civil litigation, it is based on probability, you know,
balancing of evidence and therefore, once it comes to environmental issues, degradation, pollution, and the rest of them, the rules of FREP, the
Fundamental Rights Rules state clearly once you have made an allegation, they almost shift on from you that is making the allegation to the alleged
oppressor, you know, to prove --
ASHER: Right, right.
WILLIAMS: -- that what you are alleging is not correct. So, that is why I started with it. It depends on the --
ASHER: Yes, Chima, Chima, let me ask you this because I'm running out of time.
ASHER: As you were speaking there, we were just looking at images of the stunning level of pollution in and around the Niger Delta. When you think
about oil spills, for example, in this country, obviously, in America, we all remember what happened here in 2010, in April 2010, when that massive
sort of BP oil spill happened here and it was just a few months later. I think it was by August, there were images and videos of President Barack
Obama, then President Barack Obama, actually swimming in the Gulf to sort of show everyone that the beaches were open for business, that the clean-up
there was indeed successful.
Litigation and lawsuits aside, what do you make of the clean-up efforts in the Niger Delta or lack thereof? Because it doesn't seem as though much of
the clean-up that has been promised or much of the clean-up that has happened has actually ended up having a real impact. How much clean-up has
there really been?
WILLIAMS: Yeah, for us and for my organization and for the communities we support, our positions have been very clear. Even when the multi-nationals
claim that they don't clean up, there is no clean-up. If at all there's anything, there is an improper clean-up because they do the first layer of
clean-up which is excavation of the subsoil and dumping them in a pit possibly within the same area and then over a period of time, you see the
oil still coming up.
WILLIAMS: We have dragged, you know, a multi-national back to site to show them that where they claim they've cleaned up and gotten government
certification, remediation certification was not cleaned up. Okay, so the issue of clean-up, it is argument neither here nor there.
And when it comes to, you know, like the issues that you mentioned of sabotage and the rest of them, these are claims that the multi-nationals
stay in their cozy offices, where our judgment is very instructive if they will implement it by installing lead detachment systems that in real time
will tell where the speed has occurred and when and record when they stopped it. Okay, so that is the first phase before you now talk of
recovery and clean-up processes, you know. So, these arguments are arguments that stand on their heads.
When they claim that sabotage and the rest of them I have challenged the multi-nationals and this is a global audience that I am addressing. I am
challenging multinationals to come and show us with their government agencies.
ASHER: Chima, Chima, we do have to leave it there. We are out of time.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, okay.
ASHER: But many analysts agree with you that if the same level of oil spills had occurred in Europe or the United States, that the legal
consequences would of course be very different. Chima Williams, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.
And before we end the segment, I just want to read the statement that Shell gave CNN when asked to respond to last week's British Supreme Court ruling.
And I quote here, the decision builds on the recent U.K. High Court judgment, which found the relevant limitation period is five years, and
rejected the claimants' case that Bonga oil could become trapped and re- mobilized years later, migrating upstream and impacting the claimants' communities. While the 2011 Bonga spill was highly regrettable, it was
swiftly contained and cleaned up offshore.
That's Shell's statement to CNN. All right, still to come here --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE BUSARI, SENIOR AFRICA EDITOR: The crowd is going absolutely crazy. Hilda Bassey has just passed 96 hours in her four-day cooking
ASHER: Incredible. A chef cooks up a storm and aims for a world-record. We'll take you live to Lagos when we come back.
ASHER: A Nigerian chef spent 100 hours cooking literally non-stop in an attempt to set a new world record and her cooking marathon has taken
Nigeria by storm. Here's our Stephanie Busari with more.
BUSARI: Nigerian Chef Hilda Effiong Bassey has become a national sensation after cooking non-stop for 100 hours, possibly setting a new world record.
The chef started cooking on Thursday and created more than 55 recipes and over 100 meals designed to showcase the best of Nigerian cuisine. Hilda
remained in high spirits despite the lack of sleep and her fans went to great lengths to support her.
ENIOLUWA ADEOLUWA, HILDA BASSEY SUPPORTER: We're outside for you, Da Bassey. When a Nigerian is doing something, we all come out, we show
BUSARI: One man even travelled for hundreds of kilometers through the night to get to the venue in Lagos.
UNKNOWN: I drove 12 hours just to be here, you know.
BUSARI: The Chef's Cookathon trended nationwide as celebrities and politicians, including the governor of Lagos, visited her. Musicians also
created a party and concert atmosphere.
The crowd is going absolutely crazy. Hilda Bassey has just passed 96 hours in her four-day cooking marathon. She passed the world record hours ago but
she decided to keep on going to go the extra mile.
HILDA BASSEY, NIGERIAN CHEF: I am very tired but at the same time I feel very blessed and really excited, as well. The first day was the most
difficult and I was ready to give up six hours sleep, but I feel like in real life it will happen. And some way, somehow I got through.
BUSARI: The record to beat was set in 2019 by Indian Chef Lata Tandon, who posted a message of support to Hilda during her attempt. The Guinness World
Record Committee still has to confirm that all their criteria have been met. But for Nigerians, there's a new record breaker in town and her name
is Hilda Bassey. Stephanie Busari, CNN, Lagos.
ASHER: She kept going even though she already surpassed the record. Thanks everyone for watching. I'm Zain Asher. Amanpour is up next.