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One World with Zain Asher

Hawaii Wildfires Kills At Least 36 People; Ecuador's President Declares State Of Emergency; Four Americans Wrongfully Detained Now Released On House Arrest; Donald Trump Waives Appearance At Today's Hearing; CNN's Nick Paton Walsh Gets An Exclusive Access To Ukraine's Counteroffensive And The Huge Challenges Facing Ukrainian Troops. Aired 12- 1p ET

Aired August 10, 2023 - 12:00   ET




ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I'm Zain Asher in New York and this is ONE WORLD. We start with the raging wildfires sweeping across the

Hawaiian island of Maui. At least 36 people have lost their lives as the fires blazed a path of destruction. Here you see this once bustling

community left completely in ruin. Thousands of people were flown out on Wednesday.

More flights are expected today but many residents were forced to make harrowing escapes by boat, by car or even swimming into the ocean.

Residents say that their neighborhoods look like war zones and they're desperately pleading for help to locate victims.


UNKNOWN: Still got dead bodies in the water floating and on the seawall. They've been sitting there since last night. We've been pulling people out

since last night, trying to save people's lives and I feel like we're not getting the help we need. This is a nationwide issue at this point. Yeah,

we need help, a lot of help. We got to get people down here.


ASHER: The fires were fueled in part by violent winds from Hurricane Dora, which is hundreds of kilometers away. Those winds have since died down. But

officials say the destruction left behind will take years to recover from. Veronica Miracle has more from Hawaii.


UNKNOWN: Oh my gosh, look at the harbor.

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The view from above is of shock and heartbreak.

UNKNOWN: Oh my gosh.

RICHARD OLSTEN, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, AIR MAUI HELICOPTER TOURS: We were not prepared for what we saw. It looked like an area that had been bombed

in the war.

MIRACLE: Wildfires rampaging across the island of Maui.

DUSTIN KALEIOPU, LOST HOUSE IN MAUI WILDFIRE: Our entire street was burned to the ground.

MIRACLE: Decimating homes and businesses.

JAMES TAKIOKA, DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM: Local people have lost everything. They've lost their house, they've lost

their animals, and it's devastating.

UNKNOWN: Lahaina is on fire.

MIRACLE: The historic town of Lahaina, a popular tourist and economic hub on the island's west side, particularly affected with hundreds of

structures impacted.

CLAIRE KENT, HOUSE BURTNED IN LAHAINA ON MAUI: It happened so fast, people stuck in traffic, trying to get out and there's lane on both sides of the

road, like something out of a horror movie.

MIRACLE: Most of the fires on Maui fueled in part by violent winds caused by Hurricane Dora churning more than 800 miles away. Those winds now

subsiding as the storm pushes away.

KENNETH S. HARA, MAJOR GENERAL, ADJUTANT GENERAL HAWAII STATE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: The primary focus is to save lives and then to prevent human

suffering and then mitigate great property loss.

MIRACLE: State department crews assisting in efforts to restore communication across the islands and distribute water with military

helicopters aiding in extinguishing the fires.

HARA: --Supporting Maui County -- they flew 13 hours, did 58 drops and about 150,000 gallons of water to assist with suppression of the fire.

MIRACLE: Recovery will be a long road ahead according to Hawaii's Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke.

SYLVIA LUKE, HAWAII LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: The damage to the infrastructure, it's not just buildings. I mean, these were small businesses that invested

in Maui. These were local residents. And, you know, we need to figure out a way to help a lot of people in the next several years.


ASHER: All right. Joining us live now with the latest on the conditions in Maui is CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam. Derek, it's about 6 o'clock in the

morning in Maui, so people are waking up. What exactly are they waking up to?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's first light on the island of Maui right now, and according to Maui emergency management officials, they

are going to assess the level of containment from the fires that were burning out of control just 24 hours ago. And what we're seeing here within

the CNN Weather Department is a promising sign that these fires are certainly nowhere near what they were just a day ago.

And let me show you why. Here is a satellite view of Lahaina. This is the west side of the island of Maui. Those red dots you see, those are actual

flare-ups, hot spots. But let's go back in time by 24 hours. Look at the difference. This is the wildfire that overspread this area that basically

just ran out of room as it reached the ocean. It literally had no more terrain to burn. This is the current situation, so a big difference.


So, what we need in our forecast is rain and we need relaxed winds, certainly lighter winds. And we are noticing that. The winds have relaxed

as Hurricane Dora continues to move away from the islands. But what's happening now is we're getting this northeasterly typical trade winds

that's coming up and over the mountain range. So, what it's doing is it's actually drying the air out as it reaches what we call the leeward side of

the island where Lahaina is located.

So, the windward side of the island will receive rain today. So, will the highest elevations. Good for the upcountry wildfires that are burning out

of control. But the hot spots here on the leeward side of the island, we don't really see any significant rainfall in our forecast. And this is new

to CNN, as well. We have had a significant uptick in the amount of drought conditions observed here in the last week, especially across Maui County,

we've increased the severe drought index by over 10 percent across the western side of Maui.

This has all a lot to do with that down-sloping wind that warms up, dries out, and creates those timber-like conditions that can allow for these

wildfires to spread. Fortunately, the winds really have relaxed. We are also noticing with trade winds that the relative humidity will go up, so

that will help increase and lower that threshold for fires. Zain.

ASHER: All right. Derek Van Dam, live for us there. Thank you so much.

VAN DAM: Okay.

ASHER: I wanna bring in Congresswoman Jill Tokuda of Hawaii. Congresswoman, thank you so much for being with us. I mean, the thing is,

Derek just talked about this idea that there has been some containment, so that's great news, but these wildfires really caught people off guard.

You're a representative, but do you have friends, family members, relatives who have been caught up in these fires in Maui? Just walk us through what

you're hearing about what's happening on the ground.

JILL TOKUDA, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: You know, absolute heartbreak, terror, fear, anguish from so many of our constituents. I've reached friends who

have lost loved ones to this tragedy. I have friends that have lost homes. I have some friends I still can't connect with. So, it is, you know,

absolutely heart-wrenching for all of us to just worry about how people are doing. They're so disconnected at this time.

We are rushing in with, as you said, every bit of help we can provide form the U.S. Coast Guard pulling people out of the water to military

helicopters coming in to try to contain those hot spots, put out those fires. Firefighters from all of our islands really converging to try to

help, you know, in this situation. But the reality is as day breaks today for a second time, really trying to take in the aftermath, combing through

the wreckage. It is a search and rescue operation at this particular point, and it's going to be a long road ahead for all of us. And we're just

bracing ourselves and really trying to pull together as a community to support each other.

ASHER: The entire communities have been pretty much decimated. I mean, they look as though they've been razed to the ground. People are talking

about seeing images that look nightmarish, stuff of war zones, that sort of thing. What does the immediate future hold for those who have lost

absolutely everything? We're talking about losing your home entirely and losing your businesses, your livelihood, that sort of thing.

TOKUDA: You know, it's gonna take a lot. If you think about it, I was talking to the superintendent of schools, we lost at least one school

completely that was out there on the waterfront. And when you talk about how are you going to help to create some sense of normalcy for the

children, we have teachers, principals, kids going to that school that have lost everything. They just ran out with the clothes on their back. So, it

really is going to be about how we try to bring even a smallest shred of normalcy back to our community.

Many of them don't have a roof over their head, they've lost all of their belongings. For some individuals, businesses that go back generations, now

gone -- their livelihoods, and in some cases, we will be burying loved ones, family members.

And so, this really is going to be about, first, remembering these are real people who have suffered an absolute tragedy and we're gonna have to

surround them with every bit of support from food, shelter, water, to, you know, mental health support, finding permanent housing, making sure our

kids are okay. And so, this is really going to, as I said, be a long road ahead to looking at how we rebuild and quite frankly rebuild stronger in

our communities.

ASHER: And so, what sort of assistance is needed from the government? What sort of federal assistance is needed from FEMA, for example?

TOKUDA: There's all types of emergency assistance that will come into play. Obviously, the first thing that has to happen is the president has to

declare that that federal disaster we're awaiting that hopefully very shortly that will be done because then that triggers a number of different

supports and help that can start to come towards our community. I know the White House has expressed their absolute support and commitment to throwing

everything they can behind Maui, Hawaii, the impacted residences and visitants.


So, that declaration is going to mean a big deal in terms of making sure that our community can get all of that support that they're gonna need

right now -- emergency assistance, helping them get back on their feet. You know, as part of the congressional delegation, we're gonna make sure our

community can get the help they need even to fill out the most basic forms, which right now is not so simple when you are literally just still in shock

over what you've lost.

ASHER: Absolutely. I mean, airlines, we know, are canceling some flights to Maui. We know that they're sending in empty planes to evacuate more and

more people. They're reducing their fares. I think Hawaiian Airlines were offering flights of up to something like $19 per passenger. We know that

Hawaii's tourism sector is basically saying, listen, we strongly discourage any travel, any non-essential travel to Maui right now. Are people heeding

to those warnings based on what you know right now?

TOKUDA: You know, it's very hard to tell in terms of whether or not individuals will be changing their travel pattern to Hawaii. We're asking

for the absolute kokua and aloha, you know, help us through this situation, being respectful. You know, as you saw in many of the images, we had

thousands of people stuck at the airport because there was no hotel to go to. We're very fortunate that the airlines have started to bring in larger

planes to help us move people out of Maui, in many cases back home because there was no vacation to be had on the island that they were hoping to be


So, as of right now, we've seen a lot of cooperation, a lot of respect. As you know, the Convention Center has been set up as an alternative site for

tourists that may be displaced right now. But this is going to be a tough time for Hawaii. On one hand, we're going to need that economic stability

that tourism provides. On the other hand, this is the time for our community to have a chance to heal and to regroup and to support each other

and have that space and ability to do that.

ASHER: Ad what about the emotional toll, the mental toll that something like this takes on an individual? I mean, we talk about people being

obviously lucky to be alive, who manage to escape, but there is an aftermath just in terms of healing from this.

TOKUDA: There is definitely going to be some very deep-seated emotional trauma in every single individual who, you know, whether they were right

there in Lahaina and running from the flames, jumping into the ocean, or if they were impacted because they lost a loved one, even just witnessing this

on television, seeing the images for so many of us. We have a personal connection to this community.

I've walked the streets. I've stayed in inns there. I've sat under the Banyon tree. Read in the library. Those places don't exist anymore. So, I

can tell you that there's going to be some real deep-seated trauma that's going to take a lot of a thing together, not just in the next days and

months, we're talking years, generations, to really focus in on the healing that will eventually lead to the rebuilding of this community.

ASHER: Yeah, my family and I have had such wonderful memories from Hawaii and it's just so sad to see the communities going through something like

that. Representative Jill Tokuda, thank you so much for being with us, we appreciate it.

All right, Ecuador's president has declared a state of emergency and is vowing Wednesday's assassination of presidential candidate Fernando

Villavicencio will not go unpunished. Villavicencio was gunned down after a campaign rally near Quito. The suspected gunman was killed in a shootout

with security personnel, that's according to Ecuador's attorney general's office. CNN's Rafael Romo has more.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cheers for Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio as he's ushered into a car.

But gunfire rings out at least 12 shots as those around them die for cover. This was a targeted attack killing the man who once described his country

as a Narco state run by a political Mafia.

Authorities say nine people were injured, a blood splattered floor inside the school gymnasium where emergency service workers treated them at the

scene. Villavicencio, an anti-corruption campaigner, was targeted moments after attending this campaign event at a school in Northern Quito.

We are going to write on August 20th the final story of the rebellion of democracy, of the struggle against corruption against the mafia that have

subjugated our homeland for 20 years, he told the crowd. The 59-year-old centrist was one of eight candidates in the first round of Ecuador's

presidential election, scheduled for August 20th. The South American country, historically relatively safe and stable, facing a deadly

escalation of violence and organized crime. Seven of the eight candidates in the election were under police protection, local media reported this


In a recent interview, Villavicencio said he had received threats to break him from drug trafficking group Los Choneros. And in a video filmed at a

rally August 5th, he said he had been told to wear a bulletproof vest, but told the crowd, here I am from drug trafficking group Los Choneros.


And in a video filmed at a rally August 5th, he said he had been told to wear a bulletproof vest, but told the crowd, here I am wearing a sweaty

shirt, damn (ph) it. You are my bulletproof vest. I don't need it. Meanwhile, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso vowed the killing would not

go unpunished and announced a 60-day state of emergency.

GUILLERMO LASSO, ECUADORIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The armed forces from this moment on will mobilize in all the national territory to

guarantee the security of our citizens, the tranquility of the country, and the free and democratic elections of August 20.

ROMO (voice-over): The suspected gunman died in police custody while six people have been arrested following the assassination, the prosecutor's

office says. Questions now for a shocked, changing nation, days ahead of a presidential election.


ASHER: Rafael Romo reporting there. We'll have much more on that particular story throughout the day on this network. And I'm being told we

have some breaking news out of Iran. I want to hand it over to my colleague, Dana Bash, out of Washington, D.C.

VOICE-OVER: This is CNN Breaking News.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: The breaking news is out of Iran. Four Americans wrongfully detained in Iran have now been released on house arrest. CNN's

Christiane Amanpour broke the story and is joining us now. What does this actually mean for the four Americans?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, it is a major, major step forward. However, we have to really make a caveat that this,

according to their lawyer, who has confirmed that the four Americans who were detained at Evine Prison, the notorious Tehran Prison, are now at a

hotel that is going to serve as house arrest for a period of weeks.

We, at the moment, do not know the full terms of any deal that's been reached between the United States and Iran. You know, of course, that the

U.S. and Iran do not have diplomatic relations. They have been in treaties and helped by the government of Qatar. And we know that these four Iranian-

Americans have now left and are at the hotel. We understand that they are being fitted, they are wearing, and they will be wearing ankle bracelets.

They are being in the custody not of the Americans, not of any international diplomats in Iran, but in the custody of Iran still, the

IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. That is the way it's going. And then we understand that once all the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted

between the United States, Iran and any intermediaries, then they will in the next several weeks, we don't know exactly when, be actually freed,

freed to leave the country.

So, what the lawyer, Jared Gensler, has been saying and is saying to us, and I'm going to read you what he said is that, "This is an important first

step. We welcome it, but we are just waiting, and we are not gonna call it freedom yet. We're waiting to see how it all plays out."

But you know, Dana, this is a really big deal. Siamak Namazi, 51 years old, has been held there for over seven years. He's the longest ever American

hostage, they call themselves, American prisoner held there just because of being American. And the two others have been held for the last five years.

There was another, a fourth, whose identity we do not know because the family has not made it public. And that person was held for about a year.

But what we do know is that today, they have been at least allowed to leave the Evin prison. Dana?

BASH: Well, Christiane, good news, indeed, great news for these prisoners, hostages, and of course for their families. I'm sure you'll be on

throughout the day as you learn more information. Thank you so much for that, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Thanks, Dana.

BASH: And now to the special counsel's case against former President Donald Trump. Today, Carlos de Oliveira and Walt Nauta, two names now

forever recorded in an indictment alongside Donald Trump's, were inside court to answer new charges. Let's go to Florida outside the Federal

Courthouse in Fort Pierce. CNN's Randi Kaye is there. Randi, what happened?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, Donald Trump wasn't here. He waived his appearance. But his aide, Walt Nauta was here, and his property

manager at Mar-a-Lago, Carlos De Oliveira, were both here. Walt Nauta did plead not guilty to the new charges in the superseding indictment at this

appearance. He showed up here with his two lawyers. And we were expecting the property manager, De Oliveira, to enter a plea, as well. He was in a

Miami courtroom last week. He did not enter a plea because he did not officially have a Florida lawyer. He needs a Florida-barred attorney in

order to enter a plea.

There was a Florida lawyer, Dana, in the courtroom with him today. His name is Donnie Morell, but he wasn't officially signed on yet. So, he told the

court that he was waiting for confirmation before entering his appearance as counsel.

So, De Oliveira's D.C. attorney, John Irving, told the court that they believe they've ironed out the details, but they need another day or so to

make it official.


So, now, another day, another delay. We have Carlos De Oliveira returning here to the court, at least his attorneys will be. He may waive his

appearance next week, August 15th, to officially enter a plea in the classified documents case. And all of this comes as they are facing these

charges from the special counsel, which include false statements, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and concealing documents. Dana?

BASH: Randi, it is very hard to find an attorney in Florida. No question about it. That was sarcasm, of course.

KAYE: Yeah.

BASH: Randi, thank you so much.

KAYE: Yes.

BASH: Now, to a different jurisdiction, Georgia. The prosecutor and the former president are trying to tilt the scales. CNN learned Wednesday that

Fani Willis plans to indict more than a dozen individuals next week in her case against Donald Trump. The Republican frontrunner is already out with

an ad that Willis calls derogatory and false. CNN's Sara Murray is here now to give me more on what's going on in Georgia. Sara.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yeah, Dana, I mean, I think we're seeing some political sniping -- surprise, surprise, ahead of

Fani Willis going for a grand jury. We expect this to happen next week. We expect she's going to seek charges against more than a dozen individuals as

part of her sprawling case. She's been looking at, you know, potential racketeering charges, which would allow her to ensnare many defendants,

including Donald Trump.

But the Trump campaign is now airing an ad in the Atlanta area where they did a number of claims against her. Some of them are true, like she's been

disqualified from investigating Georgia Lieutenant Governor Bert Jones in this probe because she hosted a fundraiser for his Democratic opponent,

something the judge slapped her down for.

There are other claims in this ad that are more salacious and completely baseless. They allege, you know, that she had a relationship with a local

rapper that she had previously defended. There's just no factual basis to back that up. So, Fani Willis sent a note to her staff, and I'm going to

read you a part of it.

She said, "We have no personal feelings against those we investigate or prosecute and we should not express any. This is business, it will never be

personal." She goes on to say, "Your instruction for me is to ignore all the noise and keep doing your job with excellence." Obviously, we've seen

Donald Trump come out pretty harsh against all of the prosecutors investigating him, but especially Fani Willis.

BASH: This is not gonna be changing anytime soon -- this dynamic. Thank you so much for that reporting, Sara. A new explosive reporting about

Justice Clarence Thomas and his Lux lifestyle is next.




ASHER: All right, hello and welcome back to ONE WORLD. We've got some breaking news to bring you. CNN has learned that four U.S. citizens

wrongfully detained in Iran have been released from prison and are currently under house arrest signaling a potential end to their

imprisonment. That is according to a lawyer for one of the prisoners. CNN's Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour joins us live now from


So, Christiane, one of the prisoners was Shamak Namazi, who I remember you interviewed. It was an extraordinary, unprecedented interview from inside

Evin Prison. I mean this is quite a moment for him and his family. Walk us through it.

AMANPOUR: Well, it really is. Siamak Namazi, who I actually knew as a source and a contact in Iran when I was reporting there in the early 2000s,

he had been taken as prisoner in 2015. So, he was the longest held and he had been left behind three times in U.S.-Iran prisoner swaps. Once under

the Obama administration and twice under the Trump administration. There were also with him, two other Iranian-Americans who were taken five years

ago. They were Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz.

And in the last year, a fourth who's been unidentified publicly. In other words, we don't know his identity. But all four, according to Jared

Gensler, who is the lawyer for Siamak Namazi and family, say they have seen and they have eyewitness accounts that they are at this hotel now, out of

Evin Prison and they are under house arrest.

We have been told that that will include wearing ankle bracelets. They are not put into the custody of the U.S., of course, because the U.S. has no

presence in Iran, nor the Swiss, which actually represents Iranian-American diplomatic interests. But they will still be under guard by the Iranian

authorities and the Iranian security services.

So, this is what Jared Gensler, the lawyer, is telling us. He basically says that this is a very, very good first step but it is only the first

step because they are not free. They are not free to leave Iran yet. That, they believe, might happen, hopefully, if the deal goes as according it

should, in the next several weeks.

The brother of Siamak Namazi, Babak Namazi, says, "We are grateful that Siamak and the other Americans in Iran are out of Evin prison and under

house arrest. While this is a positive change, we will not rest until Siamak and others are back home. We cannot and we continue to count the

days until this can happen. We have suffered tremendously and indescribably for eight horrific years and wish only to be reunited as a family."

So, that is what's happening. We know that the families were told yesterday, I believe, by the United States, by the White House, the State

Department, that this was imminent and also cautioned that this is not the end of this journey for them. But it's a huge, big step. So, there are four

who have been let out of Evian Prison today under house arrest, under Iranian security surveillance right now. And this is how it all unfolded.

We're just going to play you a report.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): It was a heartfelt plea heard around the world.

SIAMAK NAMAZI, IRANIAN-AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN: Honestly, the other hostages and I desperately need President Biden to finally hear us out, to finally

hear our cry for help and bring us home. And I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures. So, this is a desperate measure. I'm clearly


AMANPOUR: Siamak Namazi was Iran's longest held American prisoner. He was arrested in 2015 while on a business trip and then sentenced to 10 years

for, quote, "collaborating with a hostile state". Namazi, a dual citizen, always denied the charge, and Washington accused Iran of wrongfully

detaining him. This was the desperate appeal he made to us from inside Evin Prison in our unprecedented conversation.

NAMAZI: I think, the very fact that I have chosen to take this risk and appear on CNN from -- from Evin prison, it should just tell you how dire my

situation has become by this point. I spent months caged. I spent months caged in a solitary cell. There was a size of a closet sleeping on the

floor being fed like a dog from under the door and honestly, that was the least of my troubles.

AMANPOUR: Siamak's elderly father, Baquer, who is now 86, was lured to Iran in 2016 with the promise of seeing his son. Instead, he too was

arrested, imprisoned for two years, and then barred from leaving the country. He was finally allowed out last October to seek medical treatment

abroad. He's never stopped publicly campaigning for his son's release.


BAQUER NAMAZI, FATHER OF IMPRISONED AMERICAN CITIZEN: I will never truly be free until Siamak is here beside me. I could not be more proud of his

courage, but I don't want him to have to be brave anymore. I want him to be safe. I want him to be free to live life he should have been living for the

past seven years. I want him to be home.

AMANPOUR: Among the other hostages released along with Namazi are businessman Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, who have both been held for more

than five years. They say they never so much as jaywalked, and they were held only as Americans to be traded on the geopolitical market. Before

their release, their families tried to rally support.

NEDA SHARGHI, SISTER OF EMAD SHARGH: I know that they are desperate, that they are scared, and they feel like they've been forgotten. They have been

determined, officially, by the Department of State, by our Secretary of State as having been taken, detained by the Iranians for one reason, and

that is because they are Americans.

TARA TABAZ, DAUGHTER OF MORAD TAHBAZ: My father is an amazing person. He is so calm, so kind, so generous, so noble. And I think just how my

siblings and I have been able to carry ourselves through this surreal nightmare is just a testament to him and my mother and everything that

they've instilled in us and who they are.

AMANPOUR: Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who advocates for some of these families, puts it bluntly.

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR: And this has happened in Russia, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea. It's a pattern, it's a new hostage

diplomacy that we have to start confronting.

NAMAZI: Just do what's necessary to end this nightmare and bring us home. Thank you.

AMANPOUR: We'll get that message out, Siamak. These few may finally have been released, but will they be the last American hostages taken by Tehran?


AMANPOUR (on-camera): So, we also understand from the lawyer, the lawyer representing the Namazi family, that in his words, their conditions under

house arrest are expected to be no worse than what they endured in Evin prison, and that they will likely be able to, you know, see each other, be

together, and also to be able to make phone calls to family members who are out of Iran.

I'm just going to read a little bit of a statement that the sister of one of the other hostages, one of the other prisoners, Emad Sharghi, has sent

to us. This is Neda Sharghi. This is attributed to her. "I'm aware of reports that Emad and the other Americans have been transferred to house

arrest in Tehran. My family has faith in the work that President Biden and government officials have undertaken to bring our families home and hope to

receive that news soon. Until that point, I hope you understand that we do not think it will be helpful to comment any further."

So, that is what's going on. We, of course, are reaching out to the Iranian government and, of course, waiting for official confirmation from the U.S.

administration, as well. Back to you.

ASHER: Yeah, worth-noting we still don't have details in terms of what exactly the deal was that allowed for their release, but hopefully we will

get some insight in the coming days. Thank you so much, Christiane, and there'll be much more on this story in about 30 minutes from now.

All right, the economic community of West Africa has ordered its standby force to restore constitutional order to Niger. That decision comes after a

meeting that just wrapped up on Thursday in Abuja in Nigeria. The order adds that restoring constitutional order should be done through peaceful

means. It's unclear what exactly standby force means. Larry Madowo is following developments from Nairobi and joins us live now. Larry.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zain, so the big headline here is that ECOWAS is sending this standby force to Niger, in their words, to restore

constitutional order. So, there's a lot of questions we still don't understand. One, when will they be in Niger? How will they get there? The

military junta have closed the airspace there. And is this a fighting force? Is this a peacekeeping force? There's a lot of questions.

But some background in the ECOWAS standby force. It's got just under 3000 soldiers, but the wider force has military, police, and civilian elements.

It's got two infantry battalions and one logistics battalion. And two of these are led, one by Nigeria, one by Senegal. The idea here for the ECOWAS

standby force, it's part of the U.N. Charter, is supposed to be for rapid deployment before a main force can be sent in.

So, we've seen some statements from West Africa, from Senegal, for instance, that said if the ECOWAS were to send in the military, they would

contribute troops, because Niger would be one coup, too many. So, before they can marshal, I guess, a wider army to deploy into Niger, this appears

to be the first step into that. We, at CNN, are trying to clarify the exact details that went in the house with ECOWAS. We haven't gotten any

information, but at least they are at least appearing to make good on that threat to militarily intervene in Niger to restore constitutional order

like they've always said, Zain.


ASHER: And so, Larry, I mean, just in terms of what happens next, I mean, this appears to be the first step towards a possible military intervention,

but there's so much that is unclear at this point in time. If ECOWAS does intervene militarily in Niger, what is at stake? What are the consequences

of that?

MADOWO: They talked about this in their first extraordinary summit, that any military intervention might end up in a protracted battle, which would

have far-reaching ramifications, would have ripple effects across the region. Because we saw that statement from Niger's neighbors, Mali and

Burkina Faso. They said clearly that they would consider any military intervention in Niger to be an act of war, and they would defend Niger.

They would rally together as these other military juntas.

So, if this does go ahead, it means that we're looking at ECOWAS forces on one side and Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso troops on the other in

confrontation. So far, this coup has been a bloodless coup. Nobody has died in it. Nobody has been shot in the ways that you've seen coups in other

places. And that's something the military has been celebrating. That's why they've been keen to show so many people supporting them. But if this does

happen, it might lead to actual military confrontation. There could be deaths in this situation, Zain.

ASHER: All right, Larry Maddow, live for us there. Thank you so much. Time now for The Exchange and a closer look at what is next for Niger. Joining

me live now is Cameron Hudson, a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Cameron, thank you so much for being

with us. You heard Larry Madowo there talking about the fact that ECOWAS has ordered some kind of standby force to go to Niger to restore

constitutional order. What do you interpret that to me?

CAMERON HUDSON, SENIOR ASSOCIATE, CSIS: Well, it's hard to say right now exactly what that's going to mean and what that's going to look like in a

practical sense. It's certainly not surprising. ECOWAS, from the moment this coup happened, took a very hard line on this coup, I think much more

so than what we have seen in previous coups in Mali and Burkina Faso and Guinea just in the last few years.

I think, sadly, a lot of ECOWAS response is trying to correct their weakened response to those coups. You know, they sort of met those with the

shrug when they happened. There was certainly no tough talk about trying to roll them back like we are seeing now.

And so, I think it's both a reflection of the fact that Niger was seen as a real democratic state in ECOWAS and that rolling back this particular

democratic state would really undermine the entire regional grouping, number one, and then number two, I think, as I said, they're trying to talk

tough in ways that they didn't talk tough because they might have, you know, unleashed this contagion of coups by not drawing a line in the sand

sooner when all of these coups started a few years ago.

ASHER: I think what's interesting is that ECOWAS has actually tried the diplomatic route already with Niger and the coup leaders are showing no

signs of backing down. In fact, they're already forming a government. How on earth does ECOWAS restore constitutional order to Niger in terms of

reinstating President Vazoum without the use of force? How on earth do they do that?

HUDSON: Well, we are in really unchartered territory here. There's no precedent to what ECOWAS is trying to do right now. And it's certainly not

something that this standby force has ever trained for. It's not received training from the United States. I mean, we're talking about a hostage

situation where the president of the country is essentially being held as a human shield against this military intervention, right?

And so, we're talking about going in liberating him somehow and then restoring him against the wishes of the entire national army. And at the

same time, you've got, you know, at least an ambivalent society. We don't know fully how much support this coup has, but it doesn't have no support.

It has some amount of support from the population.

And so, I understand that ECOWAS is drawing a line because it feels like it needs to condemn any kind of coup, even if that coup has got a popular

element to it. But as the same time, as Larry said, this has been a bloodless coup thus far, and I think the threat of starting a war in

Central Africa right now is one that I think ECOWAS needs to be very careful about, how it positions itself and how it says what it's going to

do going forward.

ASHER: And in terms of the U.S., I mean, can the U.S. really continue its military presence in Niger in the short term? What are your thoughts on



HUDSON: Well, I think certainly, we've seen that our security assistance to the Nigerian military in the counterterrorism operations have stopped.

There's been some reporting that we continue to fly drone flights out of the country and over the country. That is happening with the permission of

the junta right now. So, I think that from Washington's perspective, there's no question that we cannot continue to be in the train and assist

program. But I think they are on the look for ways to try to maintain their intelligence collection over the region because it affects more than just

Niger, it affects U.S. interests across a broad swath of Central Africa.

ASHER: Of course, two weeks since the coup actually happened, it is becoming really difficult to see how and when President Bazoum can be

reinstated. That window, if ever there was a window to begin with, that window is certainly narrowing. All right, Cameron Hudson, live for us

there. Thank you so much. We'll be right back with more.


ASHER: Russia is bombarding the city of Kupyansk with increasing intensity. Ukrainian officials say the area around the city, in the Kharkiv

region, has become an epicenter of hostilities. Officials say more than 10,000 residents are under mandatory order to evacuate. Kupyansk was one of

several cities recaptured nearly one year ago in a lightning Ukrainian offensive. And both sides are reporting heavy fighting in southern Ukraine,

but little territory has changed hands. Now, to an up and close and frightening look at the war from Ukraine's front lines.


In southern Ukraine, but little territory has changed hands. Now, to an up and close and frightening look at the war from Ukraine's frontlines. Nick

Paton Walsh got exclusive access to Ukraine's counteroffensive and the huge challenges facing Ukrainian troops. I want to warn you that some of what

you're about to see is graphic.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): The brutal work here the world hasn't seen but wants its results. From the West

they have words and weapons of support, but out here it's them alone. In searing heat cloaked in dust. In the southern counter-offensive near

Orochiv, Ukraine has the initiative. Yet they have to shoot their way forwards round by round. The Russians are just past the building on the

horizon. Let's keep moving, guys. They're very anxious. We need --

WALSH: We're the first journalists to reach this part of Ukraine's counter-offensive push south towards Rohatyn (ph). Rohatyn (ph) tank was

spotted by the Russians, and so now we're moving fast out of here because they're expecting return fire. The losses from their early assaults

evident. There's a destroyed U.S.-supplied Bradley armored vehicle. In this thick dust, these tankers moving forward to fire at Russian positions,

which they say are beginning to look in peril as Ukraine's southern counter-offensive pushes forward.

The 15th National Guard have lost many friends here but also gained ground. It has been incredibly tough but some faces we saw over the past week have

brightened. Rohatyn (ph) has got closer. Some of the assessment of their fight and the tools given towards it grates here. They're being expected to

do things no NATO army would attempt with equipment they'd scoff at.

The Humvee we travel in with tires so threadbare, no American soldier would be expected to drive it. They have no time for armchair assessments that

they're failing.

VITALY, TANK OPERATOR, 15TH NATIONAL GUARD BRIGADE (through translator): They are wrong. We have successes. It depends on how fortified they are.

Above all, don't underestimate the enemy.

WALSH: And that underestimation is visible here in the nearest town of Orikhiv pummeled by the main problem -- Russian air superiority and the

half-tons bombs they drop. At any moment, it may not matter how much cover you have. We take cover in a basement. One day, 20 rockets hit in as many

minutes. The wait now is for what they think is another missile to come in and land. The smell of death haunts the rubble, where entire lives have

been torn through.

This was the main humanitarian aid point of the town. And weeks ago, this was where the remaining locals would be hiding out, getting shelter from

airstrikes. But it's taken a direct hit. And quite a few people lost their lives when this explosion happened. You can still smell the explosive in

the air. In Moscow's warped world of targeting, it is these men, the military medics, who feel hunted. The underground world in which they live

is hidden as their last two triage points have been bombed. And in the three hours a day they spend above ground, this is what happens.

This is rare footage of their frontline rescues. The painkillers, clearly not enough. Treatments given at up to 100 miles an hour over bumpy, shelled

roads. It seems miraculous. Anyone makes it. In the back of this armored vehicle, not everyone has. These transfers, perilous, their vehicles

bunched together, perhaps visible to Russian jets. Sometimes, they don't all come back. On Friday, fellow medic Andrey, aged 33, was hit by

artillery. They buried him Monday.

EUGENE, MEDIC. 15TH NATIONAL GUARD BRIGADE (through translator): We went there immediately. Another team picked up the driver.


And that was the hardest thing I ever did -- pick up the body and deliver it to the morgue.

UNKNOWN: His family, his mother -- they are in temporarily occupied territories. They couldn't even come to the funeral.

WALSH: Down here, death is far too close and they seem to shut it out.

EUGENE (through translator): When they hit further than 100 meters away form us, we don't pay attention. If it's closer, we just laugh


UNKNOWN: I tell everybody, we will all die. But a bit later. Maybe in 50 years.

WALSH: They need the war to end in months, though, not years, before nothing but dust is left. Nick Pato Walsh, CNN, Orikhiv, Ukraine.



ASHER: It's liftoff for space tourism. You're watching Virgin Galactic's flight, which took off earlier on a round trip to the edge of space before

coming back down to Earth. It was the company's second ever flight, but it's first with paying customers instead of professional astronauts. Two on

board were a mother-daughter duo from Antigua who won the seats in a charity raffle, as well as a British former Olympian. So far, around 800

more tickets have been purchased costing from $250,000 to $450,000.

And a Nigerian artist is hoping to draw attention to his country's waste problem, and he's literally digging through dumpsters to help bring his

message to life.


A dumpster to many, but an unconventional supply store to an unusual artist. His name is Chibuike Ifedilichukwu (ph), a 37-year-old Nigerian

upcycler and environmentalist. No cash payment is needed here, but the cost is his reputation.

CHIBUIKE IFEDILICHUKWU, UPCYCLING ARTIST: Basically, you know, when you are in a waste bin to collect waste, they will see you as a madman.


Back home, Ifedilichukwu gets to work. He cleans the beverage cans, cuts and carves them into strips, interweaves them to form a canvas, sketches

his subject and interlocks the cans with plastic strips. After about three days, the result is a colorful portrait that makes a bold statement about

waste management in Nigeria.

One of the largest solid waste producers on the African continent, generating over 32 million tons of waste annually, according to a 2021

report from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and Nigeria's Ministry of Environment.

IFEDILICHUKWU: I choose the part of collecting this waste and adding value to them. Ifedilichukwu says the subjects of his art are other environmental

campaigners. And these include Nigerian celebrities like Don Jazzy, founder of music label Maven Records. Dealing with materials like cans, steel wires

and craft knives have drawn his blood many times, but the artist says that that's a small price to pay for art that could help save the environment.


And thank you so much for watching ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher. "AMANPOUR" is up next. You're watching CNN.