Return to Transcripts main page
One World with Zain Asher
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Arrives In Washington To Appeal For More War Aid; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Calls On The Government Of India To Cooperate In The Investigation Of The Murder Of A Sikh Separatist Leader In Canada; Ukraine Takes Credit For Its Own Attack On Russian Military Base In Crimea; Rupert Murdoch Steps Down as Chairman Of Fox News And Fox Corporation; King Charles Addresses French Senate In A Passioned Speech; Sudden Disappearance Of Two Senior Chinese Cabinet Members Raises New Questions; Mexico's Ferrmax Suspended Freight Services; NASA Astronaut Frank Rubio Becomes The First American To Have Spent A Full Year In Space. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired September 21, 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 ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Zain Asher in New York and this is ONE WORLD. At this hour, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is
in Washington as I speak. He is hoping to keep the military aid flowing into his country, and he's also addressing criticism that the U.S. isn't
seeing strong enough results for its money -- that it is not getting its money worth.
Here, he is arriving at the Pentagon, a short time ago with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. In the coming hours, he's going to be meeting with
President Joe Biden who is trying to shore up support for a $24 billion aid package for Ukraine.
Earlier, Mr. Zelenskyy met behind closed doors with lawmakers, some of whom were particularly Republicans, have lost their appetite in terms of backing
a war with no end in sight. But the other believes that not defending Ukraine will effectively hand Russia a win. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES SCHUMER, U.S. SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: The effect on Ukraine would be very quick and devastating. We cannot let Putin win. Without aid,
Ukraine could run a very strong risk of being defeated.
JOSH HAWLEY, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN: They want $25 billion more now. They're going to ask for more later. There's no end in sight. We were told
this could literally go on for years. It's another forever war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: All right, political lines drawn, very different perspectives on the war in terms of funding for it. We are covering all angles of Mr.
Zelenskyy's visit. Arlette Saenz is in Washington. I want to turn now though to Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon. So, Orin, we know that Zelenskyy
actually met with Secretary Austin. Just walk us through what the two men discussed. Do we not have --
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the Pentagon here. Hopefully you can hear me loud and clear. Zain,
can you confirm that for me?
ASHER: Yes, I do hear you. I'm so sorry we did have some technical difficulties, but I hear you perfectly.
LIEBERMANN: Excellent. We've sorted through those. Great. Moving on. So, Zelenskyy arrived just a few moments ago, about a half an hour ago, and was
immediately greeted by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Austin knows very well and has openly made the case for more Ukrainian aid. Of course, it's
not Austin that Zelenskyy has to convince. It's the lawmakers across the river.
He will also meet with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley. This is an important meeting as well. It will be the most substantive
meeting the two have had, and it comes just eight days before Milley retires. Milley also very much a proponent of more aid to Ukraine. And then
Zelenskyy will make another very important stop. He'll visit the 9-11 memorial on the far side of the Pentagon from where we're sitting, and
there he will lay a wreath at that memorial.
So, not a very long visit here. He's only expected to be here for something like 45 minutes to an hour, but a critical visit, especially at this time
during the war. It's worth noting this is only his second visit to the Pentagon, his first since the war began. Zelenskyy was here back in August
of 2021, a very different world at the time. There weren't even really rumors that Russia was getting ready to invade Ukraine, so that meeting
didn't get nearly as much fanfare as this one.
Meanwhile, my producer Haley Britzky was out there as Zelenskyy arrived and said she hasn't seen a crowd like that for a visiting dignitary in years.
So, that gives you an idea of the importance of this visit and certainly we'll be waiting to hear what comes out of those meetings before Zelenskyy
heads over to the White House.
All right, so a warm welcome as you point out at the Pentagon. As your producer pointed hand, she saw it first-hand. Arlette, let me bring you in,
because there is a lot of skepticism, Arlette, especially among Republicans, just in terms of whether or not the U.S. is really getting its
money's worth, in terms of continuing to pump money into a war that, you know, there's clearly no end in sight right now. What did Zelenskyy say to
lawmakers? Was he able to convince them? Was he able to change anyone's mind?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's unclear whether he was able to change the minds of the House Republicans and some
Republicans in the Senate who have said that they are not sure they should be giving more aid to Ukraine at this moment. But part of Zelenskyy's moves
and the purpose for his visit here in Washington was to try to present this not just to lawmakers, but also the greater American public.
If you take a look at polling, there is some weariness when it comes from Americans relating to aid to Ukraine, a little over a majority saying that
they don't believe the U.S. should be providing more aid to Ukraine at this moment.
But it does come as President Biden has asked for that additional $24 billion to be provided to the war-torn country. But what remains unclear
right now is whether that will get the support or even come up for a vote up on Capitol Hill. There is mostly bipartisan support in the Senate. There
are some Republican senators, for instance, Josh Hawley, who met with Zelenskyy today and said he was not convinced that there should be more aid
But the bigger issue is over in the House of Representatives where Republicans are in control in this moment. And House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
has suggested that he may not even bring up a Ukraine aid bill for a vote in the House before the end of the year, presenting some of the complicated
dynamics not just for the President, but also Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Of course, the political environment is very different from when he visited here nine months ago. Yes, there's still President Biden, who is one of the
staunchest supporters of Ukraine's war against Russia. But up on Capitol Hill, last time he visited, there was Democratic control in both chambers.
Now, Republicans control the House. And a source that told us that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy actually turned down Zelenskyy's request to address
a joint session of Congress like he did when he was here just nine months ago.
So, there's a host of political issues at hand at this moment, but Zelensky is here trying to make his case that there needs to be the sustained
support for his country. That's a case he's expected to make in front of President Biden. We were told by officials that he wants that -- that the
President wants to hear a battlefield perspective, learn more about what Zelenskyy needs as this war is going well into a second year.
ASHER: All right, Arlette Saenz, Oren Liebermann, thank you both so much. Live television, always fun, right? Thank you both so much, appreciate it.
All right, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling on the Government of India to cooperate in the investigation of the murder of a
Sikh separatist leader in Canada. He repeated his earlier claim that there are credible allegations, this is according to Justin Trudeau that New
Delhi had a possible role in that June assassination.
His remarks in New York moments ago come amid an escalating diplomatic route between the two nations. Earlier, India's foreign ministry leveled
explosive allegations, calling Canada a safe haven for terrorists. Both countries have expelled senior diplomats and taken other measures, too.
CNN's Paula Newton is following developments from Ottawa. She joins us live now. So, just walk us through where this diplomatic route goes from here.
Both countries are very upset at the other. Just walk us through, you know, where relations go from here between both sides.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They've certainly been set back years at this point, Zain, and India has really taken issue with Justin Trudeau
publicly stating that he has credible intelligence, that Indian agents were involved in that murder of a Sikh leader. At issue now is India's comeback
on this, and they have escalated by suspending all visas, Zain, for Canadian nationals at the moment. And as you just alluded to, they are
accusing Canada of harboring extremists and terrorists.
Justin Trudeau, facing all of this as he learned the information in the last few hours, is at the U.N. General Assembly meeting. This was his
closing press conference from his time in New York. Of course, faced many questions about where is the evidence? Will you show both Canadians and the
international community the evidence you have of this? He was very somber, but again, very deliberate with his wording, but did not promise to release
any more evidence. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: As a country with the rule of law, we have an obligation to ensure that those processes unfold in a
rigorous and independent manner, and that is what we are ensuring. At the same time, we are ensuring that Canadians stay protected and that we stand
up for the international rules-based order. That is something that we are doing, and it's something we are doing alongside our allies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: At last count, Zain, he has repeated that at least six times at this point in time, that they will continue to follow the rule of law. I
can tell you, though, they are getting a lot of blow-back. Canada is from the business community right now that has completely chilled by the fact
that they will no longer be able to get visas, at least in the short-term, and also by the security situation both in India and Canada, because there
are people on social media that continue to face threats.
All missions, whether it's in Canada or India right now, are facing extra security measures. And this, again, has become an escalation that I'm not
sure that the Prime Minister's office here in Ottawa actually expected. Trudeau was asked directly again, Zain, whether or not he would also
He did not answer that question, and we await a response from Global Affairs Canada on that. Zain.
ASHER: All right. Paula Newton there live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, I want to turn now to the war in Ukraine, where Russia has
launched its biggest missile strike in weeks on Ukraine's capital. Kyiv's mayor says a nine-year-old girl was among seven people who were injured.
And for the first time in six months, Ukraine says Moscow is targeting its energy grid just ahead of winter.
Meantime, Ukraine is taking credit for its own attack on Russian military base in Crimea Wednesday. And that's according to sources in Ukraine's
security services. CNN's Investigative Producer Katie Polglase is following all the developments and she's joining us from London. So, Katie just
explain to us what happened because details at this point are still sparse in terms of Ukraine possibly attacking a Russian air base in Crimea. What
more do we know at this point?
KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: Well, Zain, what we know is that they are claiming, and this is all from sources that we have with the
Ukrainian security services, nothing officially on the record from public statements. But from our sources, they are claiming that this is the Saki
airbase that has been targeted before, and they're claiming 12 Russian military aircrafts were at the base that was damaged.
And also, it's an airbase that Russia uses quite a lot for training people to use drones, particularly the Mujahid-Iranian drones, apparently, that
have been used quite frequently in this conflict and we've reported on before a lot of the damage that these attack drones have done to various
areas across Ukraine including civilian infrastructure.
Now, this is part of a strategy we've been seeing quite a lot in the last few weeks in terms of Ukraine targeting specifically Russian infrastructure
in the Crimea. We were reporting just last week on an attack in Sevastopol on the port there. There was a ship repair facility. Ukraine took credit
for the missile attack that they launched on that area, huge fires as a result and damage to ships facility.
Now, the strategy is clearly to target areas where Russia is launching this invasion from, areas they are storing ships, areas they are storing
ammunition, areas they are storing all kinds of military equipment to then continue this offensive. This is clearly part of a strategy from Ukraine
alongside this counteroffensive, potentially because of the marginal gains, the slow land progress they're making. This is another area that they are
employing as part of their strategy.
That's also worth noting the kind of equipment used to make these attacks. They're likely to be long-range missiles. And again, this is something that
Zelenskyy -- President Zelenskyy has been arguing for in his conversations in the United States to get more U.S. aid. Because specifically, long-range
missiles are something that they claim can target behind enemy lines and therefore are crucial for Ukraine's counteroffensive going forward.
We've noticed just in the latest aid package promised from the White House that long-range missiles from the U.S. are not currently included, these
ATTACOMs, Army Tactical Missile systems. This is another indication as to why Ukraine is wanting to use them so badly because these kinds of attacks
on the Saki airbase, on Sevastopol last week, are clearly very damaging to the Russian offensive and the Russian war effort going forward. But clearly
a lot still going on while diplomacy is playing out in the United States at exactly the same time. Zain.
ASHER: All right, Katie Polglase, live for us there. Thank you. Among those fighting on the front lines in Ukraine, a battled hardened soldier
who is also a mother of three young children. CNN's Fred Pleitgen met the woman they call unbreakable.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As Ukrainian artillery hits Russian troops, one of those scoping out Vladimir Putin's
forces and directing the fire is not only a career soldier, but also a mom of three. Her call sign, Nizlamna (ph), the unbreakable.
I've seen so much at this stage that I can't be easily taken by surprise, she says, but of course, there is a constant risk. Nizlamna has two
daughters and a five-year-old son. She hasn't seen them since April. Is it tough, I ask? Of course, they get offended when I'm not there, when they
need me as a parent, but they understand someone needs to do this work for our country, she says.
And that work is often gruesome for those on the front lines here in the south. The 47th Mechanized Brigade gave us this video they say shows their
troops coming under Russian fire even while collecting the bodies of their fallen comrades. Their U.S.-supplied Bradley fighting vehicles bearing the
scars of relentless combat.
This vehicle is really emblematic of just how tough the battle is down here in the south. You can see there's a lot of fire damage. Well, the
Ukrainians say that's because this vehicle took hits from Russian artillery, 152-millimeter Russian artillery shells. And they say this is
not an outlier. Most vehicles look like this.
The troops say they are making headway, but often still get bogged down in Russian minefields and artillery barrages. Bradley driver nicknamed Revo
recalls his toughest mission. The most scary situation was driving behind a demining vehicle while it was creating a pass for us, he says. We were
coming under constant shelling. The rounds were landing a few meters away from us.
Ukrainian forces remain badly outgunned as the country's President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in the U.S. pressing the Biden administration for
more ammo. Nizlamna says she will fight on for the future of her children. I want them to live in a flourishing country, she says. I said many times
that our job is small, we only have to win back our borders, but they will have to rebuild the whole country, and that is a much harder job.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.
ASHER: Azerbaijan is calling the first round of talks over the future of breakaway territory constructive. Negotiators from the Nagorno-Karabakh
region met with representatives from Baku earlier to discuss how to integrate its ethnic Armenian residents with an agreement to meet again
soon. It comes one day after Azerbaijan said it had taken back the breakaway area after launching a military assault on Tuesday that forced
ethnic Armenian forces to surrender and agree to a Russian-brokered ceasefire.
All right, now to some blockbuster news about media. Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as Chairman of Fox News and Fox Corporation, too. Fox News
announced the retirement of the 92-year-old media magnate, saying his life's work has left an indelible imprint on the global media landscape.
Murdoch says the time is right for him to take on a different role. His son, Lachlan, will become sole chairman of both companies. Murdoch launched
Fox News back in 1996 as a competitor to CNN pushing a conservative agenda.
CNN's Anna Stewart is tracking the story for us. I mean, it is quite, it is some legacy that he leaves. I mean, he's been in the business for decades,
I think about seven decades. He's 92 years old. But I will say that if you look at Fox News and the tumultuous time that Fox News has had over the
past few years, that has been a problem, especially the Dominion lawsuit certainly comes to mind after the 2020 elections.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: I mean, what a legacy, Zain. We're talking about a man who really started off in the Australian newspaper business
that he inherited from his father in the 1950s, moved towards the U.K. with purchases of all sorts of tabloid newspapers, and then to the U.S. with the
New York Post, and eventually 21st Century Fox in the 1980s, I believe.
So, this is an empire that has been built very steadily. Lots of bits have been sold off and carved out at various times. So, the empire that you see
today is actually much leaner in many ways, there was even a few years ago. There have been so many mistakes along the way. Perhaps unsurprising when
you own that many different newspaper outlets and media brands.
I mean, there was the phone hacking scandal in 2011, which saw Rupert Murdoch testifying in British Parliament saying this is the most humble day
of my life. And he got cream pied, I believe, at the same time. There's also, as you mentioned, more recently for Fox News --
ASHER: That would humble you.
STEWART: -- the settlement of that Dominion lawsuit, $787 million and very much the credibility of Fox News hanging in the balance. So, he's leaving
behind a huge legacy, a much leaner business, I would say, to his son, Lachlan, at this stage, and one that has such a huge sway, particularly
over U.S. politics. And Rupert Murdoch, I have to say, Zain, the first line of this statement says, "I have decided to transition to the role of
Chairman Emeritus." Which is stepping aside a little bit. I'm not even sure it's a step -- it's like a shuffle. I think he'll still very much have his
eyes on what's going on at that business.
ASHER: Yeah, but real-life succession, right? Lachlan now taking over. Anna Stewart, live for us there. That is a monumental -- monumental
breaking news that Rupert Murdoch who has been just the storied character in media for so long in the United States and in Australia, now stepping
down as Chairman of Fox News. Anna Stewart, live for us. Thank you.
All right, on the second day of the state visit to France, Britain's King Charles has addressed the French Senate in a passioned speech. Switching
between French and English, Charles praised the two countries commitment to democracy and what he calls the biggest challenge of our time. Climate
The royal couple also joined their French hosts to see the reconstruction work at Notre Dame Cathedral, but there was also time for some good-natured
competition. There we go, table tennis between Queen Camilla and France's First Lady.
Charles and his wife will end their three-day state visit in Bordeaux on Friday. I want to bring in our Royal Correspondent Max Foster. I mean, this
three-day state visit was really significant. France, no doubt, rolling out the red carpet, highlighting, I mean, it's beyond special, right? The
relationship between the U.K. and France, it's a relationship that goes back centuries.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, if you go back historically, very close neighbors, they've had their ups and downs. The most recent one
was post-Brexit, of course, but they are very, very close. And that was really the idea of today's speech.
Charles really talked going back to the war and how they were indispensable allies in fighting back the Nazis, for example. And this is where heads of
state monarchs really have a role, not getting involved in all the minutiae of recent political events, but talking about the deep, long-standing
relationships between two countries. And his speech went down incredibly well.
There was more than a one and a half minute standing ovation for King Charles in the Senate. Extraordinary response really. He couldn't sit down
until it was over, so he almost looked lost at one point. It went down far better than even he expected and this is obviously something that both
governments wanted to see to show that France has big supporters in the world but also the U.K. needs France, as well, to plow forward in the
There was also something quite distinctive that we saw in his speech, which you wouldn't have seen with his mother, he threw himself into climate as a
topic, which is quite sensitive considering some of the debates going back in the U.K. right now, but also firmly on the side of Ukraine, saying
Ukraine has to win this war to protect the freedoms that we fought for over time.
So, I think, you know, we talk about royal soft power. I've talked to you about it before in the past. This is what the U.K. deploys. It's one of its
great weapons in its diplomatic armor. But I think Charles is changing it slightly. He's more willing to delve into some of those international
issues which his mother stayed well clear from because she didn't want to cause controversy. She wanted to be this independent figure, global figure
on the world stage.
ASHER: All right. Max Foster, live for us. Thank you. All right, coming up, the mysterious disappearance of two senior Chinese officials has many
wondering if it's a sign of things to come. That story ahead. And why is this man smiling? He just set a record in outer space that he wasn't even
planning on setting. His out of this world story coming up next on CNN.
ASHER: The sudden disappearance of two senior Chinese cabinet members in recent months is raising new questions about whether cracks are starting to
emerge among Xi Jinping's hand-picked ruling elite. CNN's Will Ripley reports.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Away from the Great Wall's glaring lights in the shadows of Xi Jinping's China, a silent storm is
brewing. Trouble at the top of the Communist Party. Two high-profile senior officials, once trusted members of Xi's inner circle, abruptly vanished
from public view with little explanation. First, it was Foreign Minister Qin Gang, China's second most powerful diplomat on CNN last year.
QIN GANG, CHINA STATE COUNCILOR: We are fully justified to do what we must.
RIPLEY (voice-over): A close aid of the Chinese leader, winning favor with the help of his wife's homemade mooncakes, "The Washington Post" reports.
Just seven months into the job, a dramatic fall. In June, he disappeared. In July, he was dismissed.
The Foreign Ministry in Beijing refusing to address reporting by "The Wall Street Journal, saying they are not aware of claims Qin was ousted for an
extramarital affair during his stint as China's U.S. ambassador in Washington. Citing sources familiar with a communist party investigation,
the journal claims Qin's affair led to the birth of an American-born child, a potential problem for China's national security.
TERRIL JONES, LECTURER, CLAREMONT, MCKENNA COLLEGE: So, there's a question as to, well, you know, are there such people in China still whom Xi Jinping
can trust and rely upon to be his closest aides and associates?
RIPLEY (voice-over): Palace intrigue at a fever pitch, speculation swirling over another apparent disappearance. China's defense minister, Li
Xiangfu, last seen in late August, more than three weeks ago. Back in June, he briefly shook hands but refused to meet with U.S. Defense Minister Lloyd
Austin in Singapore. Now, Lee is under investigation, Reuters said last week. A government probe reportedly over the purchase of military
Last month, a surprise shakeup in the People's Liberation Army rocket force. Two leaders suddenly replaced without explanation. Beijing
notoriously nebulous when it comes to bad-behaving senior leaders. This latest scandal involving the defense minister, setting China's heavily
censored social media on fire from the foreign ministry.
UNKNOWN: I'm not aware of the situation.
RIPLEY (voice-over): A familiar response. No answers, but plenty of questions about instability at the top and the potential danger it brings.
JONES: But I do think there's more to it. I mean, Xi Jinping, he would not take these measures against such high-level military and diplomatic figures
unless he felt some kind of genuine risk.
RIPLEY: What these purges do is they raise a question about President Xi's judgment, because Qin and Li were both considered loyalists. They were
handpicked by the president himself. And their removal from such visible positions so abruptly, it raises questions in the international community
about the stability of the Chinese system.
And, you know, Chinese leaders have long said that their stability makes their system superior to democracies. President Xi, however, might be
sending a message to the world that no matter who he has put by his side, if they fall out of favor, no one is indispensable. No one is irreplaceable
under his one-man rule. Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.
ASHER: All right, still to come here on ONE WORLD, the United Nations General Assembly taking place in New York this week. But as multiple crises
play out on the African continent, just how much focus is going to be on the global south? We'll talk about that next.
ASHER: Hello and welcome back to ONE WORLD. Let's catch up on the headlines. Syria's President has arrived in China in his first visit in
nearly 20 years. Bashar al-Assad will attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in eastern China. He meets Chinese President Xi Jinping on
Friday. Assad is seeking to end his diplomatic isolation after more than a decade of civil war.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak insists the U.K. will meet its climate commitments. This comes one day after he announced a rollback of green
policies specifically delaying a ban on sales of new petrol cars, moving it from 2030 to 2035. Britain has a legally binding 2050 net zero emissions
More than a dozen African nations are addressing the U.N. General Assembly today, including leaders of the Central African Republic and South Sudan,
as well. Some of the issues they have raised include, of course, climate change and the natural disasters faced by the continent, and also the
migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.
In Libya, a slow-moving tragedy is still unfolding more than one week after catastrophic flooding there killed thousands of people. The U.N. is warning
that a disease outbreak could create a second devastating crisis, as well.
In Morocco, meantime, survivors are coping with their own heartache after a powerful earthquake killed nearly 3000 people just days before the tragedy
that I just mentioned in Libya. And to the south, the war in Sudan is now in its sixth month, with no sign of fighting ending anytime soon. But as
world leaders meet for the U.N. General Assembly in New York, just how much attention is going to be on Africa and, of course, the needs of the global
Time now for The Exchange and my conversation with the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Samantha Power is also the
former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. She joins us live now from Washington.
Administrator Powell, thank you so much for being with us. We're so grateful. When you think about what's happening now with the UNGA, there's
no better time to talk about this. Obviously, the needs of the global south are vast. They are extreme. They're dealing with multiple crises happening
at once. Do you think that the needs of the global south are a priority on the world stage right now? And what needs to change for that to be the
SAMANTHA POWER, USAID ADMINISTRATOR: I do think they're a priority. I mean, if you take USAID, which is the biggest national to be the case.
I do think they're a priority. I mean, if you take USAID, which is the biggest national development and humanitarian agency, our assistance just
this past year increased to $13 billion in Africa. And that's a combination of emergency assistance and then the deeper food security assistance,
resilience assistance, how to help countries kind of climate-proof their communities given what is coming at them.
I also think you heard in President Biden's speech, you know, the preponderance of attention actually being paid to things like building
infrastructure of high standards, avoiding the kind of debt distress that has plagued so many countries in the global South that that's really
interfering with their ability themselves to make domestic investments in combating climate change or promoting food security. So, there's a lot of
At the same time, of course, Russia's invaded Ukraine is pulverizing innocent people and that war is having these knock-on effects on the global
South. So, you're definitely going to see a continued focus on Ukraine, but I think it is a mistake to see that focus as coming at the expense of the
global South, although I acknowledge that perception is out there.
ASHER: Right, that perception is totally out there because obviously, I mean, for your agency, clearly the global South is a priority just given
the work that you do, but you're just one agency. In terms of the conversation, both in Western media outlets, both just in terms of the
priorities for leaders across the world. There doesn't seem to be that much of a focus on the global South.
The attention is, of course, on the war between Russia and Ukraine. I do want to talk about climate change, because that is an area where Africa
really is suffering. You know, you talk about what's happening in Libya. Obviously, the earthquake in Morocco just being a natural weather disaster,
On the flip side to that, though, is there an opportunity for Africa, given that Africa produces so many of the natural resources that could help with
the green energy transition, how do we reframe the conversation here where Africa can really be a major player in terms of figuring out its own
POWER: Yeah, well, I think your question is especially pertinent given that in the area of renewables, you're now seeing solar and wind more
affordable than actually traditional forms of electrification. We, at USAID have a program called Power Africa that's all about helping countries
electrify. And when it first started, of course, it was invested in traditional, you know, forms of energy and using fossil fuels.
But now the countries are saying to us, you know, solar is much, much cheaper. We can go off grid, not even have to attach ourselves to the
central grid and go through the phases that predecessors have had to go through, but we can just pop up some solar panels and suddenly have solar
powered wells, you know, suddenly have the ability to run hospital clinics and make sure machinery doesn't have to run off generators.
So, we see huge opportunities. And I met, yeah, just back from the General Assembly and met with President Ruto. He's making the shift to renewables
and the provision of energy, even for Kenya's neighbors, a major feature of his leadership. But I will say one of the challenges is governance, as
well, in sub-Saharan Africa. We've had a lot of military takeovers of late in a way that is really destabilizing, that deters investment.
So, you know, a lot of leaders who might be less democratically inclined, you know, want to have the economic benefits of transitioning to
renewables, of having energy renaissance without tending to the fact that we also need to see democratic accountability, the rule of law, checks and
balances that will give those who might provide capital for those kinds of projects the confidence that their investments will be well spent.
ASHER: Right, and we have seen a wave of coups, I mean, particularly in French-speaking Africa, where there does seem to be just this destabilizing
movement across the Sahel and also in places like Gabon. I want to talk about Ukraine, because obviously so much of your work focuses on Ukraine in
terms of humanitarian efforts and rebuilding and development.
I know that the issue of corruption is a priority for people who have spent so much money, you know, donating all sorts of lethal and non-lethal aid.
There is a focus on just making sure that money is not squandered, that it goes to where it needs to go.
POWER: Well, yes, that is one aspect of our focus. Absolutely critical as we go now to Congress and seek more resources to support Ukraine, which
again in supporting Ukrainian, agriculture in turn will support the Global South.
If we can get those exports out, that's going to bring global food prices down and have benefits for everybody. But as we do that, and as I go up to
Congress, I have to be able to represent that that money is being well- spent, that it is going where it is intended. So, we operate in a way, particularly when it comes to direct budget
support to the government of Ukraine, where we have to see the receipts in order to provide the funding, which we do through the World Bank, and we
have unprecedented tools for verification. We also have inspector generals who are auditing, and so far, again, that money has been going to its
But I will say, as well, that the focus on corruption is for Ukraine and its own independence, its own democratization, its own development, its own
path to European integration. And if you go back to Putin's speech as to why he invaded Ukraine in the first place, he'll give you a lot of rhetoric
about NATO and this and that and the other thing. But it was so much about the fight against corruption and how it was picking up steam and how much
it was implicating his interests and those of people close to him.
So, that work on strengthening those anti-corruption institutions, whether that's an independent media and making sure that they are able to survive
and sustain themselves, whether it's civil society organizations like the offshoots of Transparency International that are looking at government
leaders and their expenditures and their assets and where those assets are going or whether it's judges and making sure that judges themselves are
people of integrity and have been properly vetted.
There's a number of anti-corruption bodies that USAID has actually and the European Union have invested in substantially over the last decade. And
those are the kinds of bodies that now, when corruption does emerge, which it does in all countries, those are the bodies that we need to be cracking
down on those individuals.
So, you see people being fired because they're being alleged to have carried out corrupt acts. You see journalists exposing what leaders are
doing. That's, you know, I've heard it put that it used to be that corruption was systemic and accountability for corruption was episodic.
Now, what you see is, yes, there are corruption -- there are corrupt things that happen in Ukraine, but watching those checks and balances that many of
us have invested in over a long period of time and that the Ukrainian citizens are so dedicated to seeing work, I think it's those institutions
that are going to make the difference as to whether Ukraine can continue on this path and really crack down so those episodes are fewer and fewer.
ASHER: As you point out, there have been people that have been fired. There have been entire government agencies that have been cleared of those
people suspected of being corrupt officials. Al right, Administrator Power, live for us there. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.
POWER: Thank you.
ASHER: Is the Middle East on the brink of history? Slowly but surely, both Israel and Saudi Arabia are indicating a breakthrough deal to normalize
their relations, maybe on the horizon. Here's what the Saudi crown prince had to say about the prospect of an agreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN, SAUDI CROWN PRINCE: We have good negotiations continue till now. We've got to see where it will go. We hope that it will
reach a place that it will ease the life of the Palestinians and get Israel back as a player of the Middle East.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: So, you think if you were to characterize it, are you close?
BIN SALMAN: Every day we get closer. It seems it's for the first time a real one, serious. We got to see how it goes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Joe Biden that he believes a deal is within reach. All right,
coming up, a Mexican freight train notorious for claiming the lives of migrants is finally being taken off the tracks. What this means for those
trying to enter the U.S. Just ahead.
ASHER: All right, one of Mexico's biggest train operators has suspended freight services on 60 different lines heading north into the U.S. after a
number of migrants were either killed or injured trying to hitch a ride across the border. As CNN's David Culver reports, the suspension comes as
the number of migrants trying to cross into the U.S. has spiked again.
DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With the growing concerns over a rising number of migrants trying to cross into the U.S.
through the southern border, one of Mexico's largest freight rail operators, Ferrmax, has halted several northbound trains.
Now, these are the freight trains that migrants jump on to and they ride for days amid really treacherous conditions. It takes them from places in
southern Mexico closer to the U.S. border. In May, my team and I went aboard and rode only just a small portion of what some refer to as La
Bestia, the beast, given how dangerous and deadly it can be for migrants.
UNKNOWN: We have permission to go up. Yeah.
CULVER: Many of these folks tell me they've been on here, not hours, but days. Four days on the train, but he's been traveling from Venezuela for
six nights. Do you have food? He's going to show me the little things he brought with him. This is everything he has right here. From yesterday,
this is what he's got.
Now, he finished his food, but he has a little bit of water left. He wants to work in the U.S. when he gets there. He wants a better future, a better
life. I asked them, where are they going then? And they said, they really don't know. But as of now, they're basically just going with no idea as to
what's next. Getting all their belongings out of what they have with them. Adios. Animo.
CULVER (on-camera): Now, the trains were halted to protect the migrants, according to the railroad operator. Mexico's president has said he would
assure the routes continue. But it speaks to not only the pressures for U.S. border officials, but the growing number of migrants flooding into
Mexico. It's something we saw firsthand this summer.
Five hundred miles from the U.S. southern border, encampments filling Mexico City. The country's capital struggling to deal with the influx.
Shelters overcrowding. We noted at the time the number of migrants entering the U.S. was decreasing after the Title 42 ended. It by no means has
stopped the flow. Those migrants still desperate, still determined to reach their end goal, which for most is the United States. David Culver, CNN.
ASHER: All right, up next, breaking records in space, why this NASA astronaut spent way longer than he planned on the International Space
Station, that story coming up.
ASHER: Several works of art, which were stolen by the Nazis during World War II, have been returned to the family of their former owner. The seven
drawings by Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele were looted from Fritz Grunbaum, an influential Jewish Austrian-Caribbean performer who died in
the Holocaust. Authorities in New York say the drawings worth more than $9 million were voluntarily surrendered by museums and collectors and given to
A historic milestone for NASA Astronaut Frank Rubio. He's now the first American to have spent a full year in space, but that was not the original
plan. CNN's Kristin Fisher explains.
UNKNOWN: And lift off.
KRISTIN FISHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A few weeks before NASA astronaut Frank Rubio launched to the International Space Station with two cosmonauts on a
Russian Soyuz rocket, I spoke with him about the geopolitical tensions that he'd be leaving behind on Earth.
FISHER: Did you ever have any second thoughts about flying on a Russian Soyuz in the middle of this conflict with Ukraine?
FRANK RUBIO, NASA ASTRONAUT: You know, again, not really, because I do, I trust my crew wholeheartedly. If anything, right, there's a little bit of
nerves about the whole big picture of going to space for the first time, spending six months up there.
FISHER: But six months quickly turned into a full year after his ride home, the Soyuz spacecraft was struck by a small object in space,
puncturing the Soyuz's radiator and spewing coolant into space.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): A stream of particles.
FISHER: Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, decided the spacecraft was unsafe and a replacement Soyuz would need to be sent to bring the crew
home. For Rubio, who was on his first space flight and had just become the first Salvadoran American to go to space, it meant being away from his wife
and four children for double the time that he'd been preparing for.
If you had known at the time you launched that you were going to be up in space for a full year instead of six months, would you have still done it?
RUBIO: Yeah. Hi, Kristen. It's good to talk to you again. I think it would have depended on when I would have found out. Obviously, if they had asked
me upfront before you start training, because you do train for a year or two years for your mission, I probably would have declined. And that's only
because of family things that were going on this past year.
And had I known that I would have had to miss those very important events, I just would have had to say thank you, but no thank you. But once you
commit to the mission, once you're part of the training, I would have been committed to the mission.
By the time Rubio returns to Earth next week, he will have been in space for 371 days, longer than any other American in history. Three spacewalks
conducted dozens of science experiments, but perhaps the most interesting experiment for this army doctor turned astronaut is the one that zero
gravity has been conducting on his own body.
RUBIO: The reality is we're not standing, we're not walking, we're not bearing our own weight, and so it'll be anywhere from two to six months
before I essentially say that I feel normal.
FISHER: And normal is exactly what Rubio's craving, spending time with his family and time outside these walls on earth.
RUBIO: Up here we kind of have the constant hum of machinery that's keeping us alive and so I'm looking forward to just being outside and
enjoying the peace and quiet.
ASHER: And that was Kristin Fisher reporting there. All right, kite boarders gathered in the Netherlands this week to compete in the Red Bull
Mega Loop Championship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: My goodness, incredible images. The athletes fought storms and gale force winds, producing some pretty amazing results. It is the first time
the competition has been held in four years because of the specific weather conditions needed to perform these amazing acrobatic acts. All right, thank
you so much for watching ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher. "AMANPOUR" is up next. You're watching CNN.