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One World with Zain Asher

War In Gaza Begins To Impact Global Economy; Energy Prices Surge As A Result Of The Red Sea Unrest; State Republican Party Votes To Censure Christian Ziegler; Trump Adopts Alarming Messages From Dictators; "Rolling Stones" Guitarist Keith Richards Celebrates His 80th Birthday. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired December 17, 2023 - 12:00   ET




BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Ironclad support in the phase of mounting criticism at home and abroad. The United States is standing with

Israel. "One World" starts right now. Today, Lloyd Austin is touring the Middle East amid signs of a rift between the White House and Prime Minister

Netanyahu. Israel's defense minister says they will destroy Hamas no matter what.

Also ahead, Ukrainian failure, the counteroffensive isn't going as planned. We'll take you inside an underground bunker. And later, as if being

stranded on your roof during a flood wasn't a nightmare scenario enough, imagine being in that situation surrounded by crocodiles. We'll have the

latest on the heaviest rain Australia in decades.

Hello everyone, live from New York, I'm Bianna Golodryga. Zain is off today. Well, just a short time ago, the U.S. Defense Secretary made one

thing very clear. The U.S. remains Israel's strongest ally. Lloyd Austin met earlier with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel's

Defense Minister.

As pressure mounts over civilian casualties in Gaza, U.S. officials want Israel to move away from the intense bombing campaign in Gaza to a lower-

intensity strategy that targets Hamas' leadership directly instead. But if there were any messages of caution in private, Austin's words in public

were ones of absolute support for Israel.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: This is Israel's operation, and I'm not here to dictate timelines or terms. Our support to Israel's right to

defend itself is ironclad, as you've heard me say a number of times, and that's not going to change.


GOLODRYGA: One offshoot from the war in Gaza is beginning to impact the global economy. Houthi rebels in Yemen are continuing to launch attacks on

ships traveling through the Red Sea. The Houthis aimed a responsibility for attacks on two ships on Monday. U.S. officials say they are building an

international coalition to deal with the Houthi threat.


PATRICK RYDER, BRIGADIER GENERAL, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: The actions that we've seen from these Houthi forces are destabilizing. They're dangerous

and clearly a flagrant violation of international law. And so, this is an international problem that requires an international solution.


GOLODRYGA: Meantime energy prices are surging as a result of the Red Sea unrest. BP says the Houthi attack has forced it to stop shipping oil

through the Red Sea for now.

We are covering all of this from several angles. Let's begin with CNN's Jeremy Diamond, who is in Tel Aviv for us, where Defense Secretary Lloyd

Austin is right now. Our Security Analyst Jim Sciutto is looking at the Houthi Red Sea threat. And Matt Egan is tracking the way of the shipping --

the shipping threat and how it's rippling through oil markets.

Well, let's start in Israel with Jeremy Diamond. And Jeremy, the Defense Secretary reiterating unwavering U.S. support for Israel while also noting

that the country, quote, "has the moral duty and strategic imperative to protect civilian life. How are the Secretary -- how is the Secretary's

visit and his comments being received in Israel?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was clear from listening just now to the Defense Secretary and the Defense Minister Yoav Gallant that the

Israelis are at least listening to their American counterparts, but the extent to which the gap between what the Americans are telling them and

what the Israelis are hearing and actually implementing on the ground still remains to be seen.

It was very clear that there are pointed differences that remain between the Israeli and the American perspective on the timetable for transitioning

this war and also on what post-war Gaza actually looks like. We heard Defense Secretary

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin making clear that they had a very transparent, a very frank discussion about that timetable for transitioning

the operations. In public, at least, the Defense Secretary didn't want to make anything sound like the Americans telling the Israelis what to do.

He made clear several times that we are not here to dictate timelines or terms, he said, and he rather framed it as great thoughts, great advice to

provide the Israelis on the ways in which they can transition their operations.

And also, you said, the ways in which this war can go up and down in terms of tempo, talking about the fact that at times what you may want to focus

on as a military is ramping down the fighting to focus on delivering aid, to focus on carrying out more strategic special operations raids on

intelligence-driven targets like those senior Hamas leaders that Israel still must go after.


The Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, for his part, you know, he was clearly listening to what Austin was saying and he said that he took a lot of great

advice from Austin. But he also made clear that Israel's fight in Gaza is going to be dictated, not by arbitrary deadlines.

He said at one point that there is no clock that is ticking, that there is no date by which they will officially transition those operations But

rather that any transition will be dictated by the conditions on the ground.

And I think that was ultimately the key point that the Israelis wanted to make to the Americans, which is that they will transition this operation to

a less intense phase, but only they can dictate when that's going to happen, and only the conditions on the ground can dictate when that will


GOLODRYGA: Yeah, that quote and that line from Yoav Gallant stood out to me as well, Jeremy. There is no clock running. Obviously, a lot of our

reporting suggesting that behind the scenes, the U.S. is indeed putting some pressure on the amount of time Israel's have left to conduct this

operation, at least at the scale that they have been for the last several weeks.

Jeremy Diamond in Tel Aviv for us, thank you. Well, let's now turn to CNN's Chief U.S. Security Analyst, Jim Sciutto, for more on this developing an

alarming situation in the Red Sea. Jim, I found one of the questions to Secretary Austin about the escalating attacks by Houthi rebels especially


And that was why hasn't the U.S. struck back like it has following other attacks by Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria? What did you make of his

response that the U.S. is, in essence, building a coalition to address this?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: I mean, it appears that the administration wants to internationalize this. It does not want to make this a U.S. versus the

Houthis, which would be, in effect, as you know, a U.S. versus Iran conflict, because Iran backs the Houthis, although there are some questions

as to how directly they're directing these particular attacks.

Regardless, from the beginning, it's been a U.S. priority, a Biden administration priority, not to allow the war in Gaza to expand, whether

that be with Hezbollah in the north attacking Israel or to further expand these attacks, we've already seen on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.

So, they want to bring partners in so that this is an international response to these ongoing attacks on shipping, which are having the effect,

Bianna, the more we watch this of a blockade to some degree, because the threat proving so great that you're having a series of shipping companies,

such as Maersk, and oil companies, such as BP, saying they're just not going to go through the Red Sea anymore, whether that be to an Israeli port

in southern Israel or to continue on to the Suez Canal, which is a vital corridor for container shipping, certainly, but also oil shipping.

And you're hearing numbers down to a third of the normal oil flow through the Suez Canal. That's a significant economic impact, and that, therefore,

has global ramifications.

So, the Biden administration appears to want to make this not just a U.S. versus the Houthis battle, but a world or at least a coalition versus the

Houthis and by association Iran. We'll see if that coalition comes together and how quickly and can it have the effect re-opening these vital shipping


GOLODRYGA: It is striking how brazen these attacks have come and become over the last few days, Jim.


GOLODRYGA: It's not just drone attacks on Friday.


GOLODRYGA: The Houthis launched three ballistic missiles --


GOLODRYGA: -- at a Liberian-flagged ship. We know that the missiles are supplied by Iran. The ship intelligence is coming from Iran, as well. But

it sounds like the U.S. isn't ready to officially come out and link the two as being driven by Iran just yet.

SCIUTTO: Well, they will say they're linked, certainly, because Iran backs them, but they don't want to go to war with Iran. I think that's the

simplest headline here, that the U.S. does not want to expand this into war. And by the way, when I speak to U.S. military officials and Europeans

as well, they do not believe that Iran wants to go to war with the U.S. directly.

But what you have here is something just below that kind of war, which is having quite a significant economic impact, the impact of something of a

blockade there. And we'll see if the effort to internationalize this stops, because the current efforts have not stopped it.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, and these attacks clearly are not sustainable, as well. Jim Sciutto in Washington, thank you. Well, for more now on the economic

impact of all this, let's turn to Matt Egan, who joins us live from New York.

So Matt, four of the world's biggest shipping containing companies pausing or suspending their services in the Red Sea. They account for more than

half of the container trade. Now, we're seeing BP follow suit. Most experts expect other companies to do the same. What are the global economic

ramifications of this?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Bianna, these are significant developments, and there could very well be some major economic ripple effects. Let me

read you what BP is saying about these attacks in the region. They put out a statement saying that in light of the deteriorating security situation

for shipping in the Red Sea, BP has decided to temporarily pause all transits through the Red Sea.


So, in other words, one of the biggest oil companies on the planet no longer feels like it's safe to go through one of the most important

maritime choke points. That is a big deal. Remember, the Red Sea is just a very important shipping lane, but also especially for oil. It allows oil to

go from the Persian Gulf to the Suez Canal and then eventually to the Mediterranean.

According to S&P, we're talking about almost 10 percent of global seaborne oil flows going through this region. Now, there are other options, but

they're going to cost you time and money. If you go around the southern tip of Africa, that's going to add 40 percent in terms of travel distance, and

it's going to be more expensive, of course.

So, that's why we're seeing an impact in the energy market right away. We're seeing U.S. oil and Brent oil, the world benchmark, moving more than

two percent higher on this news, and those gains have been accelerating from earlier this morning.

Now, the natural gas market is actually seeing an even bigger impact. U.S. natural gas up around three percent. European natural gas price is up

around eight percent. So, right now, for the moment, this is inflationary. Now, we asked David Petraeus, former CIA director, about all of these

developments this morning. Listen to what he told CNN this morning.


DAVID PETRAEUS, RETIRED GENERAL, CHAIRMAN, KKR GLOBAL INSTITUTE: Well, this is one of the most important arteries in the world when it comes to

maritime shipping. If you have to go all the way around, say Africa or something like that, it obviously adds a considerable amount of time and

expense. So, this actually will have a real impact on the global economy.


EGAN: Now, Petraeus went on to say that he believes U.S. and other forces are going to have to respond, both to the threats as they happen, but also,

he thinks, to take pre-emptive action to make sure they don't happen again. Bianna, it's easy to see how that kind of an escalation would only cause

energy prices to go even higher.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, we'll see what the U.S. does with this coalition that we heard about from Secretary Austin to address all of this. Matt Egan, thank

you. Well, with Western allies distracted by the Israel-Hamas war, another harsh winter is setting in. The fight continues along Ukraine's front

lines, nearly two years after Russia's invasion.

But six months into Kyiv's closely scrutinized counteroffensive, there have been no significant progress made. Fruit morale is low, and Ukraine's

critical U.S. financial lifeline appears to be hanging by a thread. CNN's Nick Paton-Walsh reports more on this, and we must warn you that some of

this video is disturbing.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: This was where the billions were meant to spell a breakthrough. But where the counteroffensive

was supposed to have kicked Russia to the sea this summer, now it is mud, death, deadlock and the remnants of American help vanishing.

It's a notably different mood here, dark frankly. In the summer they were buoyed, feeling like they had the world at their back moving forwards. Now,

it's slow, dangerous and a real sense of, well, despair to be honest.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): Forty Russian drones swarmed one Ukrainian trench here in a day. Down here in this tiny basement the rule is do not get seen.

The other side are not so lucky. Two Russians spotted moving a load. They guide in, and more to strike. There are just so many Russians now.

Usually more meat means more mints, the commander says. But sometimes their machine struggles to handle it, and sometimes they have success. Batteries

die fast in the cold, and Russian jamming seems to damage them, too. That's it. The battery's dead. This is Orakiv, whose streets reek of crushed

lives, and how much horror Moscow is willing to bring to be seen to win.

PATON WALSH: It's been a matter of months since we were here in the summer. How much more damage has been done?

PATON WALSH (voice-over): If you've stopped thinking about Ukraine, be sure Putin hasn't. At command, they watch a wasteland, tree lines now bare. The

dead, the injured. It's unclear if Russia treats them differently.

Another Ukrainian drone aims for a foxhole. What they've struggled with are the waves of Russian assaults. Dozens of Russian prisoners, well trained

and equipped, backed up by armor, who they say are given amphetamines.

They show us this graphic video of a wounded prisoner, his legs severed, seemingly high enough to smile through his fatal injuries. Still, they

claim they have held hard-won ground, but at a huge cost. As we say in the army, he says, the counteroffensive was smooth on paper, but we forgot

about the ditches.


Colossal changes are taking place. They started making their own attack drones and outnumber ours, but they use them badly like a kid's toy.

UNKNOWN (through translator): Excuse me. What's happening?

UNKNOWN (through translator): Three hundred, heavy injuries.

UNKNOWN (through translator): From what?

UNKNOWN (through translator): Dexter, Dexter, I'm Bremya. Do you copy?

PATON WALSH (voice-over): They say a drone has hit a trench and blown up a gas heater.

UNKNOWN (through translator): Begin the evacuation. Begin the evacuation. Evacuate with a small vehicle. Move to the ATB shop and pick him up. Did

you move already?

UNKNOWN (through translator): We didn't.

UNKNOWN (through translator): Why not? Why not?

UNKNOWN (through translator): No transport. No transport.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): The silence. The wait for news. Agony.

UNKNOWN (through translator): Already 200 dead.

UNKNOWN (through translator): Copy. Is the 200 dead?

UNKNOWN (through translator): Yes.

UNKNOWN (through translator): It's over. Evacuate him. No rush.

UNKNOWN (through translator): We can't help him already.

PATON WALSH: Does it feel like the casualties are getting worse?

PATON WALSH (voice-over): Every casualty makes a difference, he says. It affects everyone's morale. It's very painful for me. Sergey, aged 48, was

one of four Ukrainians to die in that area that day and about 50 that week. They haven't had to really talk about losing in this war, but this is what

it looks like.

It's not just drones. This Russian video seems to show a new threat. Gas. Caustic. Flammable. The Ukrainians have had nine incidents on this front,

killing one. Here are two survivors.

UNKNOWN (through translator): At first I saw smoke. We ran out from the trench and the gas suddenly caught fire. The trench was in flames. This gas

burns, blinds you, you can't breathe, shoots down your throat immediately. We didn't even have a second. You inhale it twice, then you fail to


PATON WALSH (voice-over): Medical reports confirm they're poisoning. Ukrainian intelligence officials are investigating the attack, but did not

name the substance.

PATON WALSH: And there was injuries inside your mouth? Where?

UNKNOWN (through translator): On my cheeks, everywhere, inside the mouth. My face is swollen and covered in red marks. It is an ugly, savage world,

even on a TV screen, where there seems little Moscow won't do, but too much the West won't.


GOLODRYGA: Wow. That was really powerful reporting there. Lieutenant General Mark Hertling now joins me for more on this. General, good to see

you. So, what a difference six months, seven months has made. Do you see a real shift in morale among the Ukrainian soldiers? And what's even more

notable, perhaps, is that we have access to that, that our reporters are allowed to film.

Some of their really sobering assessments of how this war is going. So, a shift in strategy on the part of the Ukrainians' communications of how this

war is being fought. What do you make of what we just heard?

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: What we've been talking about for a while, Bianna, is the fact that there has to be a continual resupply of

Ukrainian forces on the front line. Anytime there's a gap in that, it's called a culmination point. And that's when the Ukrainians have to go on

the defensive, because they can no longer execute the massive attacks like they've been doing.

They've been doing a relatively good job of it. But while they've attempted to, they've culminated on the offense and gone into the defenses in many

places. The Russians have continued, as the reporter just mentioned, to push reinforcements, new soldiers to the front line. And it's knowing that

these new soldiers on the Russian side are just cannon fodder, meat for the attacks, throwing a lot of bodies into an offensive operation.

And thus far, Ukraine has been relatively good in handling those on the defensive. But pretty soon, in terms of a lack of logistics, a lack of

supplies. And, actually, the devolution of the capability of the Ukrainian force, because they are without the capability of putting more manpower on

the front, it's going to take a toll.

GOLODRYGA: Right. I mean, you just look at the numbers, and they are outnumbered compared to Russian soldiers and the number of soldiers Russia

has at its disposal. It was interesting to hear that the man who Nick Paton Walsh was talking to say every casualty makes a difference. In that one

strike, that one drone strike that we reported, they lost maybe 200 soldiers.

I do want to pick up on something that I know was interesting to you, and that is "The Washington Post" reporting that there may be bugging found in

General Zaluzhny, who's overseeing the war in his office.


And what strikes me about this is that if this had been reported maybe a year ago, the prime suspect would have been Russia. But you now see

publicly some distance and disagreements between the President of Ukraine and the man leading the war.

And that makes you question, you know, where this bugging may have come from. Can you conduct a war successfully when you have public disagreements

between the leadership in the country and the man who's overseeing the war front?

HERTLING: Well, first of all, they answer that question. Yes, you can certainly conduct operations when there's some disagreements between the

civilian leadership and the military leadership. All armies experience that, Bianna. No one is immune from that.

But what we're talking about is the potential for General Zaluzhny to be bugged. And who is doing that? Is it inside of the Ukrainian government, or

is it from an outsider? And what's interesting to me, and my experience is dated the last time I worked with the Ukrainian army was 2013.

But even at the time, the chief of staff of the Ukrainian army was talking about the old Soviet generals that were still in the Ukrainian army. And

one of the things he used to talk to me about is, how do we replace them with the younger breed, the ones who are more patriotic toward Ukraine as

opposed to the old Soviet bloc?

Now, that was in 2013. And it was surprising to me to hear him say that. But when you think about it, the military that grows up in a society that

spends 30 to 40 years reaching the top ranks certainly will be beholden to some of the old days.

So, was that bugging conducted by someone within the Ukrainian government to get the feeling for what General Zaluzhny's next plans were going to be

or how he was affecting it, or was it from an outsider?

Again, I don't want to throw conspiracy theories out, but you're in the context of a war that's been going on for two years now that has had fits

and starts, good times and lesser good times for the Ukrainian forces. And they are entering a period when the West must continue to support.

And their morale is being affected because they see what's going on in the politics of other countries, especially the United States, who has been

their main supporter in terms of arms and ammunition.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, winter is setting in. Morale is at one of its lowest points yet in this war. And you have nearly $100 billion, if not a little

more, hanging on the line from both the United States and the E.U., not making a guarantee that that funding and those military armaments will come

when Ukraine needs them in the coming months and weeks.

Lieutenant Colonel, I mean, Lieutenant General, if I can ask you again about Israel and what we saw today, Lloyd Austin there meeting with his

Israeli counterpart. A lot of focus has been, and rightly so, the way this war is being conducted and what the next stage looks like.

But also interesting to me was the Israeli Defense Minister noting that what is happening in the north of the country and the border with Lebanon

is not sustainable, that you have hundreds of thousands of Israelis that are just displaced now from their homes.

And that if something politically is not being able to be negotiated with Hezbollah and in those who are in charge there, that Israel will have to

act. How alarming is that to you and the potential of another front opening?

HERTLING: It's very alarming, Bianna. Truthfully, I've been watching the northern front. I'm familiar with that area. I wrote a master's thesis on

that, truthfully, in the operation Peace for Galilee in 1982. So, I'm familiar with the terrain. I've walked the terrain up there. What's

interesting to me is, it's not getting as much attention, certainly, as what's happening in Gaza, but on a daily basis, Israel is sustaining

strikes from within Lebanon, and they are conducting operations to counter those strikes, artillery, drones, some tank fire from within the Lebanese


So, what we're talking about is the potential for Lebanon or Hezbollah to come into this fight, to open a second front. And when you have not only

that, but some of the other things we've been seeing, and you were talking about earlier the Houthi conflict and the potential for the paramilitary

organizations from Iran to continue to affect this fight, that's problematic for Israel.

They could potentially, as we've been concerned with from the very beginning, for them fighting on multiple fronts when they're trying to

eliminate the Hamas terrorist organization within Gaza.

So, I think Secretary Austin today, what I picked up from his presentation in the press conference was he was very adamant about the fact that he was

not approving or disapproving any Israel war plans.


What he was suggesting is, hey, we've learned a lot. The United States has learned a lot in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations. And you

have to ensure you don't make more enemies during that period. He was also sort of focused on what happens after the end of Hamas.

What is Israel going to do about the Palestinian plight, the refugees, the destruction of Gaza and the infrastructure? How is Israel preparing to

handle that? Because if they don't have that as part of their plan, if it's just kinetic operations from now until the end with nothing as a follow-up,

it's going to be problematic. And I think that's what Secretary Austin has been pushing.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, Yoav Gallant said Israel will not control Gaza in any civilian way and that they're working to build routes for non-hostile

actors on the other side to oversee Gaza. When and how that will actually work out.

HERTLING: And who.

GOLODRYGA: And who, right. Much more complicated. Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, always great to see you. Thank you. Well, coming up flash floods

and severe weather are wreaking havoc on the eastern seaboard of the U. S. What this means for holiday travel still ahead.


GOLODRYGA: At least 13 people were killed and dozens are injured after a blast in Guinea's capital of Canarki. That's according to a senior police

source quoted by Reuters. The explosion took place at an oil terminal in the early morning hours. Eyewitness says the blast blew out windows of

several homes and forced hundreds to flee. An investigation into the cause is currently underway.

Well, hundreds of people were rescued from floodwaters in northeastern Australia after remnants of a tropical cyclone dumped the heaviest rain in

the area and that it has seen in decades.

The popular tourist spot of Cairns has been almost completely cut off by the rising waters, forcing some residents to escape to rooftops. And in one

town, a crocodile swept in with the floodwaters. If you can imagine that, Michael Holmes has more from Australia.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: The toothy smile of a saltwater crocodile, perhaps more comfortable than most beneath rushing

floodwaters. The two and a half-meter long reptile spotted by children in a park Monday in the rain-drenched Australian town of Ingham.


Rangers were quick to capture the croc and haul it safely out of the public space.

Australia's public broadcaster, the ABC, quickly named the animal Jasper after the ex-tropical cyclone which made landfall last week and has since

dumped on Australia's tropical far north. For days and nights heavy rains and flash flooding have forced rescues like this. As of Monday, first

responders were averaging more than 40 rescues an hour.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology downgraded its rain warnings Monday, but major flood warnings remained in place. Help couldn't depart from the

tarmac at Cannes Airport on Monday. The biggest town in the region, a tourist hotspot, now almost entirely cut off. The extent of the damage

hidden beneath the water, where more crocodiles may lurk. Michael Holmes, CNN.


GOLODRYGA: Just incredible images there. Well, happening right now in the U.S., a coastal storm is battering the Northeast, causing heavy rain,

flooding, and strong winds. In Maine, the winds were whipping near the beaches. One man says it felt like sandblast mixed with salt.

And in South Carolina, severe flooding wreaked havoc in Charleston. Forecasters say the city saw nearly four inches of rain, breaking a 100-

year-old record. The powerful nor'eastern is bringing everything but snow. CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam is tracking the wild weather for us.

So, Derek, it's a little warmer outside, if there's anything positive to read into this at all, but, wow, the rain here in New York was quite

intense. What more can we expect to see on the East Coast?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I'm no animal expert but I'm pretty sure there's no crocodiles hidden --


VAN DAM: -- in the water so I can give you that guarantee. How about that?


VAN DAM: Listen, it has been difficult across the East Coast of the U.S. the past two days. This is what you get when the combination of tropical

storm force winds and extremely heavy rain come together, saturate the soil and topple trees.

Six hundred and fifty thousand customers. That's not people. That's customers. That's households, businesses without power. So, this storm has

far reaching effects from Florida, all the way to the northern sections of New England. Here's an example. This is Linfield, Massachusetts. This is

just north of Boston. Trees toppled over, smashing two vehicles, and also taking out part of the home here as well.

And of course, it's not just the wind that we've been talking about. It is the rain, which has been significant for many locations. In fact, well,

going back to this wind gust, this is just incredible. We have 120 kilometer per hour wind gust, which is hurricane force near the Blue Hill

Observatory near Boston. The winds will relax going forward. That's the good news as the storm exits.

But it's the rain that has been concerning. Look at the water rescues that were occurring near Patterson, New Jersey overnight. There's still 40

million Americans under some sort of flood alert, many of which are warnings, but they are set to expire or they're being canceled early across

some of the most populated areas of our country, New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area.

Radar is still very busy. But if you look over past 24 to 48 hours and this is the swath of rain that was heaviest on the weekend across the southeast.

Places like Georgetown, South Carolina received over 300 millimeters of rain.

This is what it looked like in Charleston, South Carolina, just a little further up the coast. This is a combination of surge and inland flooding

working together to help raise the water levels within that city. Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Just an ugly, ugly widespread storm.

VAN DAM: Yeah.

GOLODRYGA: Derek Van Dam, thank you.

VAN DAM: All right.

GOLODRYGA: Well, just ahead here on "One World", as the U.S. Republican presidential primary heats up, a new poll shows Nikki Haley may be gaining

ground on Donald Trump in a key voting state. But in the race for second place, she's aiming her attacks elsewhere.


NIKKI HALEY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll just say it. Biden's too old. And Congress is the most exclusive nursing home in America.




GOLODRYGA: Welcome back to "One World", I'm Bianna Golodryga. A troubling story to bring you out of Afghanistan, where young girls, once full of

dreams and ambitions, are now struggling to find the will to live after the Taliban's draconian crackdown on women's rights and access to education.

CNN's Anna Coren brings us the story of one of those Afghan girls.


ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a small, dimly lit room in the outer suburbs of Karachi, Pakistan, a 15-year-

old girl Wilka Azo lays on a cot. With eyes closed she slowly inhales. Her skeletal frame rises slightly, an action causing pain and an enormous

amount of effort.

Don't worry you'll be fine says her brother kissing her hand. We are with you always. Her older siblings, who asked not to be identified for security

reasons, smuggled her in from neighboring Afghanistan five months ago, following a series of events that would irrevocably change the course of

their lives.

We don't try to force her to remember what happened, he says. But once I asked her and she replied crying that she was tired and had given up all

hope. But Azo didn't always feel this way. Seen here in pink, dancing on cell phone footage, the teenager was happy, studious and had big dreams to

one day become a doctor.

But that all changed in August 2021, when the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal following its 20-year war. And one of

the first edicts the Taliban enforced was a ban on female secondary education. She would say, I hope we move from this place, explains her

sister. I don't want to be here. There is no education.

Over the following months, her mood darkened but nothing that alarmed her family until one day in July this year. She came into the room and I saw

her eyes were abnormal, she says. I asked her what had happened and she said she drunk acid. I didn't believe her so I put my fingers in her mouth

and she vomited up blood.


Azo's sister says she had drunk battery acid in their home in an attempted suicide. A trend that is spiking amongst teenage girls across Afghanistan,

according to health professionals and human rights groups.

COREN: An Afghan doctor who spoke to us anonymously, fearing retribution from the Taliban, tells CNN he's seen a 50 percent rise in the number of

mental health cases among girls at his clinic, who have considered suicide in the past two years.

Of these cases, at least 10 percent have taken their own lives, drinking chemicals, overdosing on pain medication, even consuming rat poison. He

believes this is the direct result of the education ban and other draconian restrictions that have been placed on girls.

UNKNOWN (through translator): I tried to give them hope that education will start again. But I don't see any good future for anyone in this country.

Everything is in a very dark situation.

COREN: From her home in a remote Afghan province, Azo was rushed to a clinic, but doctors said there was nothing they could do. So, in a

desperate attempt to save her life, her family decided to smuggle her into Pakistan.

Azo ever since had three operations at a private hospital in Karachi as doctors try to repair her severely damaged esophagus and stomach, but so

far it's not working. Weighing a mere 25 kilograms or 55 pounds, Azo is slowly wasting away.

She's fed a nutritional drink and separately juice four times a day via a tube in her stomach. But she's not gaining weight, which may jeopardize her

next operation scheduled in a matter of weeks.

Adding to the family's worries is Pakistan's recent decision to expel Afghans living illegally in their country. Her siblings fear if they're

forced to return to Afghanistan, Azo will die. I don't cry in front of her, but when I kiss her at night while she's sleeping, I will cry, he says.

I'm so worried for her future, her treatment, and if she will be able to survive. A daily anguish for these siblings doing everything they can with

what little means they have to keep their sister alive. Anna Coren, CNN.




GOLODRYGA: An update now to a sex assault scandal we've been following out of Florida, where the leadership of the state Republican Party has now

voted to censure its Chairman, Christian Ziegler.

In an emergency meeting Sunday, the group stopped just short of removing Ziegler, but they stripped him of nearly all authority and slashed his

salary to one dollar. Ziegler has been under investigation by the police department since October.

According to an affidavit, a woman has accused him of rape. Ziegler has not been charged with a crime and says that he is innocent. Here's CNN's Carlos

Suarez with the latest.


CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: State party leaders will meet in early January to officially remove a Christian Zeigler Chair of the party. On

Sunday, party officials told me there is nothing he can say that will change their minds. They want him out.

Zeigler was stripped of his duties and his salary reduced at a closed door meeting in Orlando of the Florida Republican Party, where we're told that

Zeigler tried to defend himself and apologize in remarks that were not welcomed by officials.

Over the weekend, there had been some talk that Ziegler was looking for a buyout. That is a move that Ziegler told me was not true and it's a move

that party officials said is not going to happen.

Ziegler has been under investigation since October when a woman claimed he raped her after a planned sexual encounter between the woman, Christian and

his wife, Bridget, fell through. The woman told police that she canceled on the encounter after learning that Bridget could not attend and that

Christian still showed up to her home in Sarasota where the alleged sexual assault took place.

Ziegler, who has not been charged, said the sex was consensual. Here now is the Vice Chair of the Florida Republican Party on why top Republicans

across the state of Florida, from Governor Ron DeSantis to Florida's two senators and county-level officials all believe that Ziegler is unfit to


EVAN POWER, VICE CHAIR, FLORIDA REPUBLICAN PARTY: You cannot lead the Republican Party with the charges that are standing in front of him and the

things -- omissions he's made in the affidavits. You cannot morally lead the Republican Party forward.

And that's, I think the end of the day, we wish Christian well in his legal endeavors. If he did not do it, we, we feel for the victim if he did do it

or in the -- what she's gone through, but he needs to handle the legal problem on his own time. And we need to move the party forward in its own

legal -- in its political process.

SUAREZ: We reached out to Christian Ziegler for comment on Sunday and we have not heard back as for Bridget. She has also refused calls to resign

from the Sarasota County School Board. Last week, fellow board members asked her to voluntarily step aside, calling the details of the sex scandal

a distraction.

Bridget, a co-founder of the Moms for Liberty Group, hasn't been accused of criminal wrongdoing. She admitted to police to having a sexual encounter

with her husband and the victim over a year ago. Back to you.


GOLODRYGA: Well, when it comes to the race for U.S. President, Donald Trump is still the overall undisputed leader in a crowded field of Republican

candidates. But in the key early primary voting state of New Hampshire, the former governor of South Carolina may actually be gaining ground.

A new poll by CBS and YouGov shows Nikki Haley closing the gap with the former U.S. President and emerging as the top alternative. But in Haley's

new ad released today, she focuses on the current occupant of the Oval Office emphasizing the need for generational change.


HALEY: I'll just say it, Biden's too old and Congress is the most exclusive nursing home in America. Washington keeps failing because politicians from

yesterday can't lead us into tomorrow. We need term limits, mental competency tests, and a real plan to defeat China and restore our economy.


GOLODRYGA: With just weeks until the first votes are cast in the U.S. primary season, Donald Trump is adopting messages that critics say are

truly alarming. At a rally in Iowa over the weekend, Trump adopted language that comes straight out of Adolf Hitler's playbook, while also cozying up

to dictators like North Korea's Kim Jong-un and Russia's Vladimir Putin. CNN's Omar Jimenez has the story.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former President Donald Trump is zeroing in on his campaign message in the final weeks before the Iowa


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Given the unprecedented millions of Biden illegal aliens who are invading our

country, it is only common sense that when I'm re-elected, we will begin, and we have no choice, the largest deportation operation in American


JIMENEZ (voice-over): While holding rallies in two early voting states, he tapped into a similar immigration message that helped catapult him to the

White House in 2016.

TRUMP: They're poisoning the blood of our country. That's what they've done. They poisoned mental institutions and prisons all over the world.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Trump also praised dictators, claiming that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was, quote, "very nice", and he quoted Vladimir



TRUMP: Vladimir Putin, has anybody ever heard of him? Vladimir Putin of Russia says that Biden's and this is a quote, "politically motivated

persecution of his political rival is very good for Russia because it shows the rottenness of the American political system".

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The Biden campaign responded forcefully, writing in a statement, "Donald Trump channeled his role models as he parroted Adolf

Hitler, praised Kim Jong-un and quoted Vladimir Putin while running for president on a promise to rule as a dictator and threaten American

democracy." Trump's GOP rival Chris Christie slammed the rhetoric and is calling out Nikki Haley for not condemning it.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's disgusting. And what he's doing is dog whistling to Americans who feel absolutely under

stress and strain from the economy and from the conflicts around the world. Nikki Haley should be ashamed of herself. And she's part of the problem

because she's enabling him.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): He, Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are locked in a race for second place. While speaking in Iowa, Haley's singled

DeSantis out for running negative ads against her.

HALEY: Ron DeSantis has not put one truthful ad up there about me. He has spent millions of dollars against me. And while he's lying about me, I'm

going to tell you the truth about him because he doesn't want to hear it.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): And DeSantis continues his huge campaign push in Iowa.

DESANTIS: We've already done all 99 counties and we're just going to keep going for good measure.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Despite a major setback in his political operation, after the sixth senior leader of the Never Back Down Super PAC in support

of him, stepped down.


GOLODRYGA: I just have to say, as far as the former president, objectively, that was really disturbing rhetoric from the Republican frontrunner. I want

to thank Omar Jimenez for that reporting. And we'll be right back with more.


GOLODRYGA: Well this weekend in Florida, legendary golfers teamed up with a family member. A treat for Tiger Woods fans. This was the fourth time Tiger

and his son Charlie has appeared. It's the fourth time that they have appeared at the annual tournament in Orlando.

Fourteen-year-old Charlie already shaping up to be an impressive player. Tiger certainly had a fun time this weekend, especially when seeing his son

make this shot.


TIGER WOODS, GOLFER AND PROUD DAD: I was on the high side, so I got a chance to see it from about 10 feet out and it looked pretty damn good to

me. And then it went in, he got excited and I looked over and he's just looking at me, just shaking his head. Yeah, it was a great shot.


GOLODRYGA: The talent clearly runs in the family. Wood's daughter Sam, there you see her also helping out. She was caddying for the pair.


GOLODRYGA: Well, "Rolling Stones" guitarist Keith Richards is celebrating, get this, his 80th birthday today. He's been playing with the Stones for

more than 60 years and he's still rocking. With more than a decade ago, Richards humbly told CNN that he doesn't understand all the hoopla

surrounding him.

KEITH RICHARDS, "ROLLING STONES": I'm just a guitar player, you know. I mean, I do my best and it's amazing that people have found it that

interesting. I'm still amazed.


GOLODRYGA: Sure, just a guitar player. "Rolling Stones" frontman Mick Jagger, who also turned 80 this year, tweeted a picture of the pair on X

wishing his long-time buddy a happy birthday. The Stones, by the way, are still commanding the stage and rocking it. They are about to embark on a

North American tour beginning in April of next year, proving that indeed age is just a number.

Well, that does it for this hour of "One World". I'm Bianna Golodryga. Thank you so much for watching. Amanpour is next and I'll see you back here