Return to Transcripts main page

Hala Gorani Tonight

ISIS-K Claims Responsibility For Mosque Suicide Blast In Afghanistan; U.S. Submarine Hits An Unknown Object In South China Sea; Journalists Maria Ressa And Muratov Shares Nobel Peace Prize; Kunduz Official: At Least 46 killed, 143 Other Wounded; Newcastle Fans Celebrate Club's Saudi-Backed Takeover; Amazon Rainforest At Severe Risk From Deforestation, Fires. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired October 08, 2021 - 14:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. A suicide bomber targets a Shia Mosque during Friday

prayers in Afghanistan. And an increasingly familiar terror group is claiming responsibility. We are live in Kabul this evening. Then an

American nuclear submarine hits an unknown object in the South China Sea. Why Beijing says it has, quote, "grave concerns".

And later, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to two journalists in the Philippines and Russia. Why the committee is focused on press freedom this

year. One of those journalists, by the way, one of our former colleagues here at CNN, Maria Ressa. We'll have the latest on that. We begin tonight

with the deadliest attack in Afghanistan since the withdrawal of U.S. forces. ISIS-K is now claiming responsibility for a horrific suicide

bombing in Kunduz. We have pictures of the aftermath. We are showing you the least graphic of those. And we warn you, even these images are


A U.N. agency says at least 100 people were killed or wounded when a blast ripped through a Shia Mosque during Friday prayers. And you can see and

understand the panic and chaos as people tried to rush victims to hospital amid heartbreaking screams. A Taliban spokesperson says security forces are

investigating. Let's bring in our chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, she is live in Kabul for us this evening. We have a claim of

responsibility. What's the latest?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Hala. We have now heard a claim of responsibility from ISIS-K, no surprises

there. They have claimed all of the major attacks over the course of the last six weeks starting with the bombing at the airport and then most

recently just a few days ago at a central Mosque here in Kabul. This really raising a serious challenge now for the Taliban as this insurgency appears

to mount. You know, the Taliban's appeal here in Afghanistan to many people is that they have promised that they can deliver security, they can deliver

an end to the fighting, but this type of vicious sectarian terrorist attack is exactly the sort of attack that Afghans have become far too used to and

also far too sick of.

So the question now becomes how will the Taliban respond to the growing threat of ISIS-K with this now claim of responsibility, Hala.

GORANI: Yes, and precisely. I mean, they have come, as you said, to power on the promise that they'll bring back stability and security, and now

this. What might their response be against these increasingly deadly and vicious attacks?

WARD: Well, we've seen a series of raids being carried out, both in the eastern part of the country, but also here in Kabul. The Taliban announcing

several days ago that they had taken out an ISIS-K network here, that they have also destroyed a safe house and killed a number of ISIS-K insurgents.

I think you'll expect to see a concentrated effort in the city of Jalalabad and perhaps Kunar and Nangarhar, which are the sort of provinces where

ISIS-K has its support base, if you will, although it's very difficult to have a sense, Hala, of just how much support they do have.

But I think this is a real challenge for the Taliban. They were an insurgency for 20 years while America and the Afghan government were in

charge. Now, the Taliban are in charge and they're seeing for themselves firsthand just how difficult it is to grapple with a vicious and ugly

insurgency. So, I would expect to see more raids in some of those ISIS strongholds, but I would also expect to see more ISIS-K attacks certainly

in cities like Jalalabad, but potentially more in cities like Kunduz as well which are not traditionally associated or thought of to be strongholds

of the terrorist group.

So, it's an alarming development to be sure, and you have to remember as well, of course, that this is happening against the backdrop of many

challenges that the Taliban --

GORANI: Yes --

WARD: Are facing. This is just one more thing that they now have to deal with

GORANI: All right, well, they're in charge now, so we'll see how they react. Thanks so much for your reporting, Clarissa Ward coming to us live

from Kabul. A mysterious incident in one of the world's busiest and most sensitive waterways is increasing tensions potentially between the U.S. and

China. Now, here is what happened, an American nuclear-powered submarine hit an unknown object in the South China Sea this weekend.


Beijing is demanding answers and wants to know why the sub was there. The collision happened just days before China sent a record number of military

planes into Taiwan's airspace. CNN's Oren Liebermann joins me now from the Pentagon with the latest. So, it's a mysterious story because we know that

the sub hit an unknown object. Do we know what that object was? Could it have been a hostile act?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: No, there's no indication, at least, not at this point that it was some hostile act or that the

submarine, the USS Connecticut hit another ship. In fact, the speculation I've heard so far from a few officials is that perhaps it was a reef,

perhaps it was an errant shipping container. It is still a question as to what happened here, especially because of the level of arrays and sensors

submarines have to detect what is around them. So, that's remains a key question here. Of course, it comes in the bigger tension, the bigger

context of the tension between Beijing and Washington.

On that same day, there were 36 or so military aircraft that China sent into Taiwan's air defense identification zone, just a couple of days later,

they sent more than 50 aircrafts into Taiwan's air defense identification zone. That has led to a bit of an escalation of rhetoric as well as a

soaring of hostilities between the two and tensions -- and that's essentially where it stands now. China demanded answers for what a U.S. sub

was doing in the South China Sea, the U.S. sees it as international waters while China claims its sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.

And that's where this friction comes from in such an absolutely --

GORANI: Yes --

LIEBERMANN: Critical waterway. Now, the national security adviser Jake Sullivan just met with a high-ranking Chinese official to try to set up a

virtual meeting between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping to ensure stability, but that hasn't cut the tension yet nor has it alleviated

the friction around the South China Sea, especially, Hala, with a multi- national force operating in the region, essentially a show of force and deterrence against China.

GORANI: So, from what I understand, the sub re-emerged on its own power. It traveled to Guam without assistance. What does that tell us about the

level of damage the sub sustained and were there any injuries among sailors on board?

LIEBERMANN: Yes, there were a number of injuries but none of those according to U.S. Pacific fleet were life threatening injuries. In terms of

the damage to the sub, we don't know how extensive it is, what we do know, and this is crucial, is that the nuclear power plant of the submarine was

not damaged, and there's --

GORANI: Right --

LIEBERMANN: No indication, at least, not right now, that there's a nuclear leak, and it made its way under its own power to Guam where the

investigation will go and where at least some level of repairs will begin.

GORANI: Right, so this is a nuclear-powered sub, I guess the likes of which the U.S. will have signed a contract to sell to Australia?

LIEBERMANN: So, I don't know exactly what class of submarines or how that will work in terms of a nuclear-powered submarine, but yes, this all comes

just a few week after the August deal where the U.S. agreed that it would help Australia develop and procure a nuclear-powered submarines. The USS

Connecticut is a sea wolf class-based submarine, and again, it made its way under its own power. Now they have to figure out what it is that it hit.

GORANI: All right, Oren Liebermann, I know you'll stay on it and update us when you have more information. Thanks so much. Oren is joining us from the

Pentagon. In the United States, this is not good news for the Biden administration. A disappointing U.S. jobs report is closing out a roller

coaster week for worldwide stocks. Only 194,000 American jobs were added in September, and that sounds like a lot, but the important aspect here of

this is that it was a lot less than expected. It marks the second straight month the U.S. labor market recovery has hit the brakes, and despite these

latest figures, President Biden says economic trends overall are moving in the right direction.

So how is Wall Street reacting? Let's take a look at the big board for you. And the Dow Jones Industrial average is pretty much flat, just slightly

higher, a tenth of a percent up, 30 points, trading at 34,785 right now. But as you can see from the graph above the figures, it went up and down in

positive and negative territory throughout the session. Now, later this month, Ghana's parliament is set to debate a bill that would introduce one

of the harshest anti-LGBTQ laws in all of Africa. Now, how harsh? We're talking about potential jail time just for being gay or controversial

conversion therapy. Our David McKenzie has much more in an exclusive report. David.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, we just returned from Ghana where we found the LGBTQ community living in fear, anticipating this harsh anti-

gay law to be debated and possibly passed in parliament in just a short time. I must warn you that some of these images are deeply disturbing.



MCKENZIE (on camera): Hey, it's David, how are you doing?

(voice-over): We're heading to a safe house in Accra.

(on camera): We're probably about 30 minutes from your live location now.

(voice-over): Run by gay activists.



MCKENZIE (on camera): Can we carry in the cameras or we need to keep the cameras in boxes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think let's carry it in boxes.

MCKENZIE: Thank you for having me.

(voice-over): We're meeting Joe. We agreed to hide his identity because he is afraid of being attacked again. Take me back to that moment when those

men came and started harassing you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was shaking when they took me to that room and then they set up their cameras, and I was screaming, I was crying.


MCKENZIE: His crime, the gang of men say, approaching another man. "Is it true that you told them that you like him", they ask? Yes, he whispers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, like how can this happen to me? They beat me, around 9:00 to 11:00, all those times in the night they were beating me. I

wanted to kill myself, for me, when I saw this video, I was like, it would be better I kill myself because I have nowhere to go.

MCKENZIE (on camera): And your dad threw you out.


MCKENZIE: And what was that moment like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cried like never before.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): Often captured in videos too graphic to show and shared on social media, part of a pattern of brutal, verbal and physical

attacks by vigilantes to humiliate LGBTQ Ghanaians. Soon, the community fears they could be targeted by the state.

(on camera): What is your message to someone who is LGBT in Ghana right now?

EMMANUEL BEDZRAH, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, GHANA: Well, we love them, as we always say, we love them.

MCKENZIE: But you want to send them to prison.

BEDZRAH: No, we are asking them not to do it.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): A draft law to be debated in weeks, coerces LGBTQ Ghanaians to choose between jail time and so-called conversion therapy seen

by U.N. experts as torture. It prosecutes same-sex displays of affection, even punishes activists supporting the community. Activists call it a

homophobe's dream.

(on camera): Today, in 2021, you believe that someone who supports openly the LGBT community should potentially go to prison for ten years.

BEDZRAH: Of course --

MCKENZIE: Why is that?

BEDZRAH: Because it is against our culture, it is against our norm, it's against our tradition, and we don't want things that are against our

sensibility to be, you know, given priority in our society.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Tragically, the LGBTQ community here says that tolerance was slowly improving in Ghana.

GREGORY ANDREWS, HIGH COMMISSIONER, AUSTRALIA: And I know that African cultures are cultures of tolerance, diversity, acceptance and


MCKENZIE: When they opened a support center in January, it rallied conservative lawmakers who say that being gay is un-African, a western

import. Backed by powerful religious groups, the leadership of the million- strong Pentecostal Church say LGBTQ organizations are a national security threat.

(on camera): We're struggling a little bit to get hold of someone.

(voice-over): But they refused to speak to us.

(on camera): The leadership today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talk to our leadership.

MCKENZIE: To the leadership?



MCKENZIE (voice-over): And the security stopped us from filming.

(on camera): We're just -- we're just trying to speak to some people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not allowed.

MCKENZIE: It's not allowed?


MCKENZIE (voice-over): The religious support for the bill here is absolute.

(on camera): It's one thing promoting the values of the church. It's another thing to prosecute those who are identifying like this. So, why

take that extra step?

PHILIP NAAMEH, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC BISHOPS COUNCIL, GHANA: It's not the values of the church. It's the values of the human species. The human being

is created to be in a family and to propagate itself. It's not just the church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the same Bible told people to love thy neighbor as thyself, why would you want to torture your own neighbor? Why would you

want to torture your child?

MCKENZIE (voice-over): This prominent gay activist has already gone underground. The draft bill calls on all Ghanaians to hand in their LGBTQ

neighbors for prosecution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are waiting for the bill to pass so that they can actually beat you up, they can actually pick you and do whatever they

want with you.

MCKENZIE: The limited space Ghanaians like Joe had just to be themselves could soon vanish, and they'll need to move further into the shadows.

(on camera): What is your message to those politicians?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are all human beings. Their sons and their daughters can be like me. My answer for them is, they should put a stop to it.


MCKENZIE: Hala, as you heard there, many MPs say that being gay is un- African, a western import. But our reporting ironically shows that there could have been key inspiration for this law from an American ultra

conservative group. We put the question to the head of the World Congress of Families who held a conference in Ghana where many of the same language

and words were used, and asked him whether they're responsible for the bill.


BRIAN BROWN, WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES: No one has a right to redefine family for everyone else. Family is what it is, and you can try and couch

these issues in rights, but they aren't.


MCKENZIE: Would LGBT rights not be human rights?

BROWN: It's not real. You can attach yourself as much as you want to euphemisms like LGBT rights, but if they aren't based in fundamental human

nature, then they're not rights at all. And I don't think you need to look for a big bogey man behind all of this legislation in Africa or elsewhere.

It's going to come from the people themselves.


MCKENZIE: Now, this law will be debated in just a few weeks. There will be intense international pressure to stop it from being signed, but the MPs

and religious leaders we spoke to are adamant to pass it. Hala.

GORANI: All right, and that's a fascinating report, especially the U.S. connection there, an interesting story. Thanks so much, David McKenzie. And

still to come tonight, standing up to authoritarians and defending free speech no matter what. The efforts of two journalists are recognized with

one of the most prestigious awards in the world. We'll be right back.


GORANI: This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to a pair of journalists who've spent their careers speaking truth to power. Maria Ressa

from the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia have been recognized. Let's get more from CNN's Will Ripley in Taipei who has more on their

careers and in particular the career of our former CNN colleague, Maria Ressa, Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I admire Maria's work and I have ever since I went to the Philippines to cover the drug war that she

and her team at "Rappler" always were the ones when you're on the ground there, we spent five weeks. We were following their lead in terms of where

to go. There were bodies that were being discovered every night. They were the ones that were exposing and uncovering new information about

corruption, and they were holding the government accountable.

And for that, Maria Ressa now has something like 11 criminal cases that are civil cases that she's been in and out of jail. She is out on bail

currently, just for basically doing her job, for doing what journalists are supposed to do in a democracy, but a job that is increasingly under fire.


RIPLEY (voice-over): For award-winning journalist Maria Ressa who has been in the media industry for almost 35 years, being the story was never part

of her remit. But hauled through the Philippines justice system, accused of libel, alleged tax offenses and violation of foreign owners rules in media,

Ressa has made headlines around the world.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miss Ressa and Mr. Muratov are receiving the Peace Prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the

Philippines and in Russia.

RIPLEY: No headline will be more widely reported or more vindicating for Ressa than Friday's announcement, that she had won this year's Nobel Peace

Prize, sharing the award with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov. Representatives for the fight for press freedom everywhere.

MARIA RESSA, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE: Journalists will keep doing those stories, and that's what I hope, that's what I hope will give us more power

to do this.

RIPLEY: Last year, a judge in the Philippines found the veteran journalist and her former colleague, Reynaldo Santos, who wrote a story guilty of

cyber libel. It followed the publication of an article in 2012 on her online news website "Rappler" about a top level judge with links to a

businessman with an allegedly shady past. The article was published two years before new libel laws were enacted. Authorities initially dismissed

the case, but then President Rodrigo Duterte came to power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The arrest warrant.

RIPLEY: He took exception to Ressa and her company's scrutiny and coverage of his war on drugs where thousands of extra judicial killings took place.

In frequent media attacks, he even went so far as to say that journalists were not exempt from assassination if they did something wrong. Suddenly

Ressa was facing 11 criminal cases from cyber libel to tax evasion, an attempt Ressa believes to scare and silence her.

The former CNN bureau chief and "Time" person of the year for 2018 said she was devastated by what she's always said were trumped up charges. But Ressa

has continued to inspire her colleagues not to give in.

RESSA: I appeal to you, the journalists in this room, the Filipinos who are listening, to protect your rights. We are meant to be a cautionary

tale. We are meant to make you afraid, right? So I appeal again! Don't be afraid.

RIPLEY: High-profile human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has represented Ressa as part of her international legal team fighting what she has called

a sinister attempt to silence the journalist for exposing corruption and abuse. Ressa, out on bail as she wins her Nobel Peace Prize, has proven she

will not be silenced.


RIPLEY: Don't be afraid, it's what Jimmy Lai; the owner of "Apple Daily" in his 70s now sitting in jail, you know, indefinitely because his

journalism got him there, because the authoritarian government in China got him there. So, for Maria Ressa to be a co-winner of this Nobel Peace Prize,

she has already won the war even if she is still doing battle with the Duterte regime in the Philippines, she's already won the war, Hala.

GORANI: And what's the latest on her legal cases there? Because as you laid out in your report, the government has gone after her quite


RIPLEY: They have. And as I said, this has been dragging on for years, she's currently out on bail, but every time that there's a new charge,

she's brought back in, and there's -- this has to jump through all sorts of legal hoops, you know -- at one point, she was outside of the Philippines,

and of course, she knew as soon as she went back, she would be arrested. She wasn't afraid to go back, she's not going to live in exile. She's

committed to the Philippines, she's committed to that job and she's committed to exposing the truth at whatever cost.

And she and her organization have certainly paid a deep price, and yet, here they are in this moment in history.

GORANI: It's interesting because I interviewed Maria Ressa right before her return to the Philippines and asked her that very question. I said,

you're going to go back and you're going to get yourself arrested, and it was breathtaking --

RIPLEY: Yes --

GORANI: She said, all right, fine, I'll do it because I believe in what I do and it's the right thing to do. It's a special kind of courage, I have

to say.

RIPLEY: It was inspiring to all of us when we had the chance to meet with her when she came through, you know, Hong Kong as well. It's just -- she's

an extraordinary example of journalism for the right reasons at the right time doing the right work, even if it led to so much difficulty. I heard

Dan Rather once say that the harder the story is, the more worthwhile it is. And she has had to cover just about the hardest story that a journalist

can cover on a professional and personal level, and yet she is now the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

GORANI: Absolutely, thanks very much. Will Ripley reporting live from Taipei. And a word on the other winner of this prestigious prize, Dmitry

Muratov; he's the first Russian to win the prize since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. For decades, he's defied the Kremlin with investigations

into wrongdoing and corruption. And he too shares this prize with Maria Ressa.


Poland's court ruling that challenges the supremacy of European law has plunged the EU once again into uncertainty. There are fears that the

judgment could pave the way for Poland to leave the bloc. The ruling says some EU laws are in conflict with Poland's constitution, undermining the

EU's legal framework. The Polish prime minister has welcomed the decision, but others outside the country such as Luxembourg's minister for foreign

affairs say the Polish government is quote, "playing with fire", unquote.

Still to come, deepening concerns for the future of Afghanistan after the worst attack since the U.S. military and its allies withdrew from the

country. Plus, Newcastle United, the football club just got sold, but the fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi is calling it an

embarrassment. We'll explain why? Stay with us.


GORANI: Back now to our top story. That suicide bombing that targeted a Shia Mosque in Afghanistan today, absolutely horrific scenes. ISIS-K is

claiming responsibility, deepening fears that it will continue to try to destabilize the country through these ruthless attacks following the

Taliban takeover. And we just got an update on casualties. A provincial spokesperson in Kunduz where the attack took place says that at least 46

people were killed and 143 others wounded. I'm joined now by Rory Stewart; a former British Secretary of State for international development, he's

written an article about Afghanistan for an upcoming issues of foreign affairs, it's called "the last days of intervention."

The former secretary joins us tonight from the U.S. state of Connecticut where he is a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute. I got

all of that in. Rory Stewart, thanks so much for joining us. First of all, your reaction to this attack, because ISIS-K, obviously in the chaotic --

during the chaotic U.S. pull-out outside of the airport, targeted people trying to flee there. Now this Shia mosque in Kunduz, what do you make of

their increasing violence and their desire to really sow chaos here?


reminder that the Taliban doesn't have full control of the country, that there are these other groups, including terrorist groups who are

challenging their authority already. The second thing is, it's a reminder that Afghanistan is now a safe haven for a number of terrorist groups,

which ISIS-K is probably one of the most terrifying, and it remains to be seen what ISIS-K's objectives will be outside the country.

GORANI: The Taliban promised that they would take power and ensure that people would be secure, that there'd be safety. And there was a period,

brief period of a few weeks after their takeover in Kabul, where that seemed to be the case. But now we have these increasing attacks. How do you

see the future unfolding going forward?

STEWART: Essentially, the Taliban government is in a very difficult situation. The banking system has frozen. Afghanistan used to get billions

of dollars a year in international aid to its budget, which isn't coming through. There's a humanitarian crisis, prices are going up, many people

aren't getting less salaries and it's going to be very difficult for the Taliban government to exercise control of the country. And this is one

example of this. But we'll also see how terrorism we'll see humanitarian crisis spreading quite quickly, unless the U.S. and its allies step up and

begin providing some support for Afghan people.

GORANI: So you wrote for -- in Foreign Affairs, I just want to read an excerpt, they -- speaking of the United States, and its allies, "They could

not return to the moderate position of a light footprint, and instead lurched from extreme overreach to denial, isolationism, and withdraw. In

the end, they walked out blaming the chaos that followed on the corruption in gratitude and the supposed cowardice of their former partners. Now

that's happened, it's done. Going forward, what should the U.S. and Western Allies do to try to mitigate the effects of their withdrawal?

STEWART: I think the first thing is we must follow through on the commitments to the Afghan people. President Biden, and many others, keep

saying that they're not going to betray the Afghan people. But it certainly feels like it at the moment. Money isn't getting through development

assistances, isn't getting through a lot of the United Nations agencies, a lot of the nonprofits on the ground, are in a very difficult funding

situation. Afghans are not receiving their salaries, The Winter's coming. So the first most straightforward thing that can happen is to make sure

that we're continuing to provide support, not to the Taliban government, but to basic health care, education, provisions for Afghans.

The second thing that we must do is not impose brutal general sanctions on the country if we do that. So that thousands -- tens of thousands of women

in Afghanistan, for almost a million women in Afghanistan work, for example, in the carpet industry, they need to be able to export those

carpets. That's how they feed their families. But at the moment, it's going to be very difficult to do that, because the U.S. government is not

allowing people to pay export tax because they don't want any of the money going to the Taliban government. So we've got to deal with all these

details. Unless we do, unless there's a real will to make this work, Afghanistan is going to be a very, very poor, unstable country very


GORANI: ISIS-K is an offshoot of ISIS, what -- who's -- what countries, what groups are funding it? Where's the money coming from? What's the

objective for this group inside Afghanistan right now?

STEWART: Essentially, it's a more radical version of al-Qaeda. And it's the group as you -- as viewers will know, which was most famous for its

activities in Syria and Iraq, but it's got branches in Africa in the Sahel, and it's got this branch in Afghanistan. And essentially, they are

committed to creating a caliphate. The Taliban, traditionally, has tended - - I mean, this is all, you know, they're all on a spectrum, they're all related to each other, these groups, and some of their ideology, but the

Taliban have tend to be more focused internally on a project of getting foreign military out of Afghanistan and imposing their own very strange

version of Islamic social codes on people inside Afghanistan.

But ISIS-K is engaged in trying to create a global caliphate. They're engaged in jihad and are much more interested in international terrorism,

which is why we should be very concerned about this.

GORANI: And how do they finance themselves?

STEWART: It will come from a variety of different sources. So some of it unfortunately will be coming from individuals in the Middle East who will

be sending money through.


Some of it is collected in mosques around the world, some of it will be their in-trading activities, including illegal activities, smuggling things

including drugs out of Afghanistan.

GORANI: Rory Stewart, thanks so much for joining us from New Haven. Really appreciate your time this evening on the program on a very sad day once

again for Afghanistan.

The Premier League gave the Saudi-backed takeover of Newcastle United the green light yesterday, something the fiancee of murdered Saudi journalist

Jamal Khashoggi is now calling an embarrassment for the club. The Saudi Crown Prince oversees the main investment fund that bought the club, but a

U.S. intelligence report last February found that he approved the operation that killed the journalist. Newcastle United fans, though, are celebrating

their team's takeover chanting "We've got our club back."

The previous owner, Mike Ashley, was deeply unpopular. CNN World Sport Contributor Darren Lewis joins me now with more. So the fans -- well, at

least the fans we've heard from, seem quite happy. What about the league itself? How do they justify these big money transactions with countries

like Saudi Arabia?

DARREN LEWIS, CNN WORLD SPORT CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the line put out by the Premier League, Hala, is that there was distinction between the public

investment fund and the Saudi State even though -- even we at CNN have been able to find what appears to be evidence to the contrary. And certainly

human rights groups feel that is not the case either, you know. What's interesting is that from a human rights perspective, the condemnation has

been fierce and sustained. But sadly, as we've just seen with the pictures you've shown a second ago, Hala, the Football perspective shows that the

anger has been drowned out by a combination of joy from the club's supporters of Mike Ashley, who's probably the most unpopular owner The

Premier League has ever seen.

And the excitement from supporters were just delirious at the thought of trophies, and superstar players, and Champions League Football. Now the

claim, I'm sure you may have heard it yourself, Hala, is that the Saudi- backed new owners of Newcastle are engaging in the process of sports washing, and that's a practice of states using the power of sport to

improve their reputation. The new owners deny it, and we've got to be fair, but what we are seeing is evidence of that in plain sight.

GORANI: And we've heard from a fan of -- by the way, you mentioned of the fans and leading into you, I told our viewers about how many of the fans

are happy that they'll -- their club will be able to become competitive and buy expensive players, here's one in particular with his reaction to the



ANDY BROWN, NEWCASTLE UNITED FAN: We've protested, we've sung, we've gone into the stadium late we've left the stadium early. People like myself have

cancelled our season tickets, all to try and just get Mike Ashley's tenure to end sooner than it can, because he's been starving the club of ambition

for the best part of a decade now. And this change in ownership symbolizes a change in the club's future.


GORANI: So what will the club look like in the future then? Do you think?

LEWIS: Well, it's a really good question. I mean, I think the club will be a superpower in The Premier League. And, you know, sadly, Hala, despite the

words we've just heard a second ago, it has always been the case that if somebody rich has a finance to take over a football club in this country,

and turn them into this kind of superpower that Manchester City and Chelsea and PSG have become, fans simply would not care about where that money has

come from. They wouldn't care about any perceived human rights violations. And they would look simply ahead.

The questions are asked. But eventually, as I said before those questions, they eventually go away or they're drowned out by money, success, and

superstar players. In addition to all of that, many fans point out that the U.K.'s arms sales to Saudi Arabia are well documented. There are also

questions over the running of a number of clubs in this country here in the U.K., which is why it's hard to blame supporters for a decision over which

they have zero control.

One final point if I may, Hala, and it goes back to what I mentioned earlier, Ashley, Newcastle's previous owner, he took over the club in 2007,

began the process of trying to sell it just a year later. He was never committed according to the fans. The acrimony between them lasted most of

his 14-year reign. So, yes, they are delighted he is gone and while there were often empty seats for Premier League matches during his reign,

Newcastle's home stadium, St. James's Park, is already sold out ahead of their next match against Tottenham in nine days time.

GORANI: All right.


Darren Lewis, thank you so much for joining us. Still to come tonight, environmentalists in Brazil are literally risking their lives to save the

Amazon. And now, the forest is actually working against itself. We'll explain ahead in a special report.


GORANI: The Amazon is suffering another season of devastating fires and deforestation. CNN flew over some of the worst affected areas to see the

destruction and spoke to people working to try to save the rainforests despite threats of violence. CNN's Isa Soares has our exclusive report.

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Smoke billows above the Amazon state of Rondonia. A haze so thick it blankets this lush forest. Fires so intense

that the earth is left charred. Only dust remains. It's a side that troubles Romulo Batista. The spokesman for Greenpeace Brazil tells us 60

hectares of the Amazon have gone up in flames in four days. And the blame falls squarely, he says, on President Jair Bolsonaro.

CNN flew over some of this year's hardest hit areas to see the devastation for ourselves. From above our cameras capture the damage of these

increasing fires. The demarcated lines are sign of human destruction at work as the forest is cleared for agriculture or mining. There have been

nearly 13,000 fires in the same area, roughly a 50 percent increase from 2020 to 2021. Now compare these images with these every five-year period.

Further south in the same state, Milton de Costa, a former cattle rancher, is fighting to protect what's left of the rainforest. This month, he begins

the task of helping restore and reforest 2,600 hectares of land that had been burned and used for cattle production.


He's made it his mission to reforest the burned land, but in doing so, he's facing attacks on his life, recounting vividly when he was ambushed in

early September.

With the flight for land resources comes increasing intimidation for those who work here. According to Brazil's Land Pastoral Commission, 97 people

have faced death threats this year alone as association lead over restoration reserve in the Amazon, Jose Pinheiro Borges, has seen this

often. His love for the Amazon has kept him going.

Borges, along with the other Amazon defenders, could be facing a losing battle. Carbon samples from the Amazon collected over a period of nine

years by scientific researcher Luciana Gatti has shown the 20 percent of the Amazon is releasing more carbon than it absorbs.


LUCIANA GATTI, RESEARCHER, INPE: This Southeast of Amazon now, the forest itself became a source. This can mean the trees are dying more than



SOARES: Behind this, an increase in forest fires, which is leaving the Amazon unable to renew itself.


GATTI: You know, we have records in deforestation, fire in Amazon, and also records in reduction in precipitation in the whole Brazil.


SOARES: The devastating impact of human behavior that experts is say sipping the climate scales in the mazonm, leaving us all potentially

gasping for air.

Well, in a statement, the Environment Ministry tells us it has suspended agricultural fires from July to October. Our footage, you saw that, that's

from mid-September. And as you saw, those fires keep on raging. The Environment Ministry has also claimed in its statement that it's allocating

more money and hiring more firefighters to combat and prevent fires. However, these comments don't give the full picture. The Bolsonaro

government has taken multiple steps to reduce the overall budgets for the Environment Ministry. So, these recent investments only bring spending back

to roughly what it was before Jair Bolsonaro took office. So context matters. Back to you.

GORANI: Thank you, Isa. In the U.K., important habitats are also facing the threat of disappearing and fast. Climate change, for instance, is wreaking

havoc on some of England's iconic landscapes. Salma Abdelaziz has that story.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Northwest coast of England, where sand moves with the tides, but the climate crisis is disturbing the rhythm

of this ecosystem with more intense storms wrecking a barrier of sand dunes, says local official Paul Wisse.


PAUL WISSE, COASTAL EROSION RISK MANAGEMENT LEADER, GREEN SEFTON: These natural systems do provide an important defense for Sefton. The sand dunes

obviously hold an awful lot of sediment that when it's released on the beach helps raise the level of the beach to reduce the wave impacts.


ABDELAZIZ: Global warming also means rising temperatures and longer tourist seasons.


WISSE: We have an awful lot of visitors to the coastline. And they can have, in some areas, a detrimental impact on the vegetation and the dune



ABDELAZIZ: And with tourists comes trash. Tom Norbury runs a volunteer group that picks up litter on the beach.


TOM NORBURY, HIGHTOWN BEACH CLEAN: Let people come in and keep it protected, very fine balance. And people just think they're entitled to

come here and didn't realize it's, you know, it's a special place.


ABDELAZIZ: Coastal erosion is happening at an alarming rate. Experts say large swathes of coastline here are at risk of retreating more than 65 feet

in the next 20 years. British scientists warned that if the climate crisis continues unchecked here, it could threaten railways, roads in more than a

hundred thousand homes across the U.K. Coastlines like this one could disappear in the next century.

On this protected beach, rangers are repairing the sand dunes, home to rare species of lizards and toads. But unpredictable weather events, made more

likely by climate change, are a threat to recovery says lead ranger Kate Martin.


KATE MARTIN, LEAD RANGER, NATIONAL TRUST FORMBY: The storms are a real issue. You don't really know when they're coming. We're also getting freak

storm events happening in August and other times of the year and that makes it a lot harder for us to plan management.



ABDELAZIZ: Manmade infrastructure blocking the back of the dunes is another challenge, Martin says.


MARTIN: If those dunes can't move and shift as they want to move and shift and adapt, then that is an issue because if they suddenly, the dunes go,

then the whole of the sea defense in this area goes.


ABDELAZIZ: But beyond this coastline, humans will also need to adapt their behaviors to preserve these beaches for future generations. Salma Abdelaziz

CNN, Sefton Coast.

GORANI: Stay with us. We'll be right back with much more.


GORANI: All this week, we've been marking the release of the new James Bond film by looking at how the franchise has evolved. Now today, we explore the

sometimes controversial way in which female characters have been portrayed over the years. Christina Macfarlane has that.


JANE SEYMOUR, ACTRESS: Look at that hairstyle. Oh my gosh. And look, I have got the gold for Goldfinger on my eyelids. Just in case you were wondering,

that was the actual gold from Goldfinger leftover. The announcement to the world that they had found the Bond girl, it was, you know, we get to tell

the world you're perfect. And we went -- we searched the world for you. But everything about you is wrong, and we're going to change it. Harry Saltzman

looked at me and said, "You got two different colored eyes." I said "Yes." He said, "Well, you're going to have to have contact lenses, you know,

either brown or green, we'll decide." He said, "And your hair, we're going to have to dye it and cut it."

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And did your world change overnight at that point when they announced it?

SEYMOUR: Well, it did because then Terry O'Neill was assigned to me for three days, the immortal Terry O'Neill, to take photographs of me and come

up with a story about why I was the sex symbol of all time. So he comes up with this stuff about me, loving to run naked through long grass, which I

have never done in my life. And then I have to explain to my father when he reads it in the newspaper. He said, "Darling, number one I read the book,

and you're dragged naked across the coral reef with crocodiles, that's too dangerous. And number two, I don't recommend running naked through the


MACFARLANE: He's quite right.

SEYMOUR: But, anyway, so yes, my life did change.

MACFARLANE: See, this is the scene that I find distinctly uncomfortable.


ROGER MOORE, ACTOR: The cards say we will be lovers.


SEYMOUR: There was absolutely nothing wrong with it in that era. Now, literally everything about that film is wrong.


I mean, you know, for my millennial children, it'd be mom, mom, that's so not PC. In a Bond film, you run, in those days, three paces behind a man

with a gun whimpering with as much cleavage showing and as much leg showing and you need to be saved. But I have to just, you know, take my hat off to

Barbara. I think Barbara did a brilliant job in keeping the franchise always current to the world we live in.

MACFARLANE: The new film No Time To Die makes strides in pulling its female characters into the 21st century, introducing Nomi played by Lashana Lynch

and Paloma played by Ana de Armas.


ANA DE ARMAS, ACTRESS: It was the perfect combination of, like, real qualities in a woman. She's not hiding anything. There is no pressure to,

like, this perfection and, like, this kind of, like, you know, appearance or anything. I think this movie is bond women, not so much bond girls. I

think in this movie, you'll find women that are also beautiful and sexy and sophisticated and all of that, but they're equals to Bond. There they're

bringing the action so, you know, times change and I think that is reflected in film. I think you will see the evolution of the female roles

and hopefully we'll set the tone for future Bond films and the female roles in them.


GORANI: And finally, Istanbul has a new best friend for commuters, a street dog named Boji has been touring the city on public transport for the past

few months. Boji travels up to 30 kilometers a day, making use of not just the subway, the ferries, the trams as well. He's quickly earned popularity

with fellow commuters who often post sightings of him on the internet. The celebrity street dog even has a dedicated social media account with over

50,000 followers. Boji has reportedly visited at least 29 Metro stations a day and always shows respect to other passengers. Good boy, Boji. Good boy.

Thanks for watching tonight, I'm Hala Gorani. If it's your weekend, have a great one. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.