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BioNTech CEO: Vaccine May Be Ready For Approval By October; Pfizer & BioNTech Say Their Vaccine Could Be Ready In October; Activists: Navalny Volunteers Attacked In Russia; More Than 20 Fires Scorch 850,000 Hectares Across State; "Bill & Ted" Are Back With Third Film After Nearly 30 Years; Prince Harry & Meghan Pay Back Cost Of Renovating U.K. Home. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired September 8, 2020 - 11:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: This hour when will we have a COVID-19 vaccine? Well, some experts tell us weeks, other months or more.

We have a CNN exclusive with the man running a massive German Pharma Company for his view. Then this hour I speak to the W.H.O. for their expert


Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, we've heard so much about the numbers, the cases, the deaths and the forecasts. I'm afraid to say

they paint a grim picture. Take a look at the world's Coronavirus cases. Globally we are nearing 30 million infections and nearly 900,000 deaths.

But what if I told you those numbers are, in reality, much higher? In India, for example, which has just surpassed Brazil to become the second

hardest hit country, experts worry the death toll is much higher than reported, by how much?

Well, one estimate says it could be five times the official total. Meanwhile, the country's leaders are pushing to reopen the country. The

country, mass transit and the Taj Mahal, for example, reopening and health experts say the country has gotten a bit complacent.


DR. RAJIV PARAKH, CHAIRMAN, PERIPHERAL VASCULAR & ENDOVASCULAR SCIENCES: People thought that once the numbers started to go down, this was it, they

had won the war. And everybody was out there without wearing a mask, without any social distancing, without any sanitizers.


ANDERSON: A similar story elsewhere, not least in Latin America. The Mexican government says its death toll is higher than the numbers show,

because not every sick person gets tested for COVID before losing their lives. By the way, Mexico has one of the lowest testing rates in the world.

Well, the life at the end of the tunnel for all of this, of course, will be an effective vaccine if one can be developed. In just the last couple

hours, my colleague Fred Pleitgen spoke to the CEO of the BioNTech in Germany who told him a vaccine could be ready in about a month. Fred joins

me now from Berlin. What exactly did he tell you, Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Becky. Well, the CEO BioNTech Ugur Sahin told me that they believe that they could

submit a vaccine for approval by about the middle of October. Now they do say that there are still some unknowns because they are right now in phase

III trials.

They say there are about 25,000 people enrolled so far. They want to get about 30,000 people enrolled. Of course, in order to know if a vaccine is

effective, they have to submit a lot of people, expose them to the novel Coronavirus to then see whether the vaccine fights that off.

They're still waiting to see how many people they have actually in their trials who have been in contact with the vaccine, and once they have enough

together, they will submit it for approval immediately again.

They say the middle of October, maybe towards the end of October or even the beginning of November, but they say so far the data is showing them

that the vaccine candidate they have is effective and also safe. Here's what the CEO told me.


UGUR SAHIN, CEO, BIONTECH: It's an excellent profile and I consider this vaccine as a vaccine that is just a near perfect profile. We have done

preclinical experiments, we have shown that this vaccine is able to protect animals from infection in really tough challenge experiments, and they

have, of course, done much more testing than we have people so far.

This provides us a lot of confidence in combination with understanding of the mode of action in the combination with the safety data coming in from

the running pad. Yes, we believe that we have a safe product and we believe that it will be able to show efficacy.

PLEITGEN: You're not in a rush to bring this on the market, either, right? Because something like this should never be rushed. Right now people in

politics are talking about the end of October, everything has to do with the American election, but you guys are focused on the science.

SAHIN: Yes, there is no other way. We are considering all options how development can be accelerated. So we have for example implemented 24/7

research teams, ensuring that we don't lose any time. We are cooperating with the authorities who have us provide documents, including the safety

data, almost in real time to ensure that there's no time lost.

But we will not make any shortcuts. It is extremely important that we have a full development, addressing all needs of pharmaceutical development to

guarantee that we have a safe and efficient vaccine.

PLEITGEN: Would we be talking about sort of an emergency use approval, or are we talking about full approval?

SAHIN: I believe given that we have addressed the full package which is required for a vaccine development, including scientific studies,

preclinical studies, safety testing and efficacy testing, there should be not too much time between emergency use authorization and full approval.



PLEITGEN: And Becky, both BioNTech and Pfizer that are working together on this vaccine, BNT-162 both signed a pledge along with seven other big

pharmaceutical companies saying that they will abide only by the highest standards when developing a vaccine and will not cut any corners,

especially as far as safety is concerned.

Now the folks are at BioNTech, the CEO says if everything goes according to their plan, they want to be able to manufacture about 100 million doses of

this vaccine by the end of this year. That would first and foremost go to folks who are at high risk, like for instance, medical professionals and

then they hope for up to 1.3 billion doses, to be able to manufacture that in 2021, Becky.

ANDERSON: The W.H.O. has said that COVID nationalism, Fred, will prolong the pandemic, not shorten it. And it is trying to get countries to join

what's known as this COVAX collaboration, not go alone, as it were. But the big countries and big Pharma are cutting these bilateral deals at this

point, which the W.H.O., quite frankly, are saying is dangerous.

When you talk to companies like that which you interviewed, fascinating to hear that CEO's position, do they understand - clearly they understand the

urgency here, but do they understand the sort of worry that normalization the W.H.O. has about this race to be first?

PLEITGEN: Yes, I think that they do, and I think that they do believe there are certain mitigating factors. On one hand it is certainly clear that

companies like BioNTech and of course Pfizer as well they are cutting deals with countries to provide them with vaccine, which of course in the end

could leave large parts of the world left out.

Pfizer and BioNTech, for instance, they have an agreement with the United States. They say they plan to have an agreement with the European Union as

well. But the CEO of BioNTech, interestingly, told me that he believes that developing a vaccine was really helped along by international cooperation

this time around.

He says that that is making things a lot quicker. There are a lot of organizations that are sharing data. They say they're working together with

international regulators to have those regulators check the data they have in real time to make sure that they can move along quicker.

If you look at BioNTech and Pfizer, one of the things that the CEO told me today is that these two companies actually started working together without

even having a written agreement to work together, simply because they thought the urgency was so big.

So I think on the one hand, as far as the distribution of any sort of vaccine is concerned, I think that nationalism that we're talking about

certainly could be a big factor. But on the one hand, the companies, at least the ones I've been speaking to, say that there has been a degree of

international cooperation that has helped things along, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, and I think we have to be clear these companies are not entirely altruistic, but let's be fair, they're clearly working together to

ensure that a vaccine is provided on a wide basis as quickly as possible. Fred, thank you, terrific reporting.

Let's bring in Margaret Harris from the World Health Organization. She is joining us from Geneva. We've just heard my colleague speak to the CEO of

BioNTech in Germany who says the company's vaccine, which he calls near perfect, could be ready for approval by mid-October.

You and indeed the W.H.O. have stressed that you do not expect widespread vaccinations until the middle of next year. So what do you make of his


DR. MARGARET HARRIS, SPOKESWOMAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Good afternoon, Becky, and great to be with you. A number of the different

candidate vaccines are getting to the stage where they've done what was referred to as the phase III trial, and that's where you've tested it on a

large number of people out in the wild, as it were.

Half of them get the vaccine, half of them get a dummy or a different vaccine, and you simply look at where the people are who got the vaccine,

whether they're more protected than the people who didn't. That takes quite some time to follow those people through and to see if it really was

protective, what the level of protectiveness was, and also any safety signals.

And so we are saying before you have a vaccine or several candidate vaccines, the science has been extraordinary, will and should take time.

ANDERSON: Margaret, I promised the viewers we will cut through the sort of messy narrative here, competing narratives, to really try and sort of

underline the most important issue. Will we have a vaccine by mid-October?

DR. HARRIS: So I can't promise that, and I appreciate that you're a great communication and it's important for your viewers to get very clear



DR. HARRIS: But it's like, when we say we, who is we? The first groups of people that need to be vaccinated are the health care workers because

they're the ones facing this virus day in and day out. We're seeing 10 percent of them getting infected and we have huge mortality rates among


So they'll be the first groups and then you go to the vulnerable groups. So even when we talk "we," who is we? That's why I said as the general public,

do not expect to see widespread vaccination until the middle of next year, and therefore, do the other things. Do all the other things. Do not also

think we're just waiting for the vaccine.

ANDERSON: All right. Thank you for being clearer. Nine major pharmaceutical companies who are all competing in this race for a vaccine have signed what

is an unusual pledge to uphold - and I'm reading from this - high ethical standards suggesting they won't see premature government approval for a

COVID-19 vaccine. Have a listen to what the CEO of Pfizer said just a few hours ago.


ALBERT BOURLA, CEO, PFIZER PHARMACEUTICALS: It's an unprecedented moment, it's an historic pledge with increasing public concerns about the processes

that we are using to develop these vaccines, and even more important, the processes that would be used to make these vaccines.

We saw this critical to come out and reiterate or accommodate - that we will develop our products, our vaccines, using the highest ethical

standards and the most scientific rigorous processes.


ANDERSON: These CEOs of course pushing science, not politics. That's not something that the U.S. President is doing. He is teasing a vaccine before

the election. Let's just have a listen to what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to have it soon. So now what they're saying is, oh, wow, this is bad news. President Trump

is getting this vaccine in record time. By the way, if this were the Obama Administration, you wouldn't have that vaccine for three years, and you

probably wouldn't have it at all.

So we're going to have a vaccine very soon, maybe even before a very special date. You know what date I'm talking about.


ANDERSON: Federal officials are disputing this. At the W.H.O. and we know the relationship between the U.S. President and W.H.O. is horrible at the

moment. What do you make of all of this?

DR. HARRIS: So I think - there are some many important things that have been really discussed by all the various people you have been talking to.

One of the things that really come through is the importance of sharing the data. We heard from one of the CEOs about that, and that is what's making a

very big difference here.

Part of the data that's extremely important is the safety data. So as my Director General said, we are not going to be backing any vaccine that

hasn't been proved to be absolutely safe as well as to have the worthwhile efficacy. And those are the two things to be really, really clear about.

The other thing, the advantage the world has, is actually us. We are a neutral party. We are not about politics. We are about the science. We are

about the solutions, but we need the solidarity of the world to ensure that the science turns into a solution.

ANDERSON: And your COVAX collaboration would effectively make you perhaps more relevant in the eyes of many. Your head at the W.H.O. has said COVID

nationalism will prolong the pandemic and not shorten it. But we are seeing countries and companies cutting bilateral deals aren't we?

Countries and companies not joining this COVAX collaboration, which, quite frankly, many experts will say does make the W.H.O., and particularly with

this terrible relationship that you now have with the U.S., quite frankly, relevant at this point to which you say what?

DR. HARRIS: So actually COVAX is not just us, it's GAVI the vaccine alliance and CEPI which is another group about ensuring that vaccines get

developed. So it's not simply us. I think the really crucial thing here is the recognition of this vaccine as a global public good, but what's going

on with different countries is they are hedging their bets.

Now, that doesn't mean they are not involved with the COVAX facility. We're seeing greater and greater momentum, and this will continue. So it's not an

either/or, and we are definitely seeing enormous momentum around the COVAX facility.


ANDERSON: I just want to talk about India, because we've been reporting from there this hour. The country just surpassed Brazil, of course, as the

second hardest hit nation with COVID. It continues to report a very high number of cases, almost 90,000 daily, and those numbers could be

significantly high.

You've been in talks with India about joining the COVAX global vaccine allocation plan. How can you ensure that once a vaccine is approved, it

will be equally distributed around the country as densely populated, for example, as India?

DR. HARRIS: So you're quite right to be talking about that, and that work is going on in parallel. So we would look at every country. And goodness

me, there are a lot of countries with enormous difficulties, but we managed to get a vaccine in a conflict zone in this remote part of the Democratic

Republic of Congo, and it was affect seeing that had to be stored at minus 70.

So we know it can be done, but you've really got to do the hard yards and you've got to do the preparation and the planning, and also have the

commitment and understanding at every level of society of why you're doing this, what you're doing it for, and that this is, as I said, a global

public good.

ANDERSON: In a recent poll, Americans were asked if a vaccine became available this year at no cost to you, would you get one as soon as

possible. Only, Margaret, 21 percent said yes. Most people wanted to wait and see. People clearly have trust issues with their governments, with

pharmaceutical companies and the like.

Does that concern you, and what is your message to those who have an issue with any vaccine when and if it is distributed on a wide basis?

DR. HARRIS: So every individual should indeed investigate any kind of medical or health intervention and understand what's going on. And that's

the important thing. Really understand what's going on.

And so, again, this is why we have been coordinating all the trials, and we've asked all the vaccine developers to put them in head-to-head trials

so we can compare them, not just their efficacy, but also their safety and really come out with the very best candidate, the safest and most


ANDERSON: Finally a new report illustrating dire pandemic conditions in the Americas compared to the rest of the world. America accounts for 46 percent

of all new COVID cases over the past week, 59 percent of newly reported deaths. We've got some statistics to put up on the screen here.

Contrast that to your figures on Europe, which, of course, has been in the midst of a second wave, the continent only accounting for 13 percent of

cases and 8 percent of deaths. What are your projections at this point? How bad might things get and where?

DR. HARRIS: So, indeed, when you're seeing this kind of intensity, you know that you have to really keep on stepping, keep on the pressure on this

virus. And both in the Americas where we're seeing the very first exposure to this virus, but also Europe where it wasn't completely suppressed so

it's coming back as people relax, as they crowd together, as they seem to have, during the summer, felt that things were going back to normal.

My real message here isn't the old normal is not our normal. We have to find a better normal, and the crucial thing is to really be avoiding the

three C's, the crowds, the closed spaces. If you're in an enclosed space make sure that you can at least ventilate, open the windows or wear a mask

and also avoid the close contact.

As well as all the other public health safety measures, the social distancing, the hand washing at all times, the ensuring you never touch

your mouth, nose and eyes. These things we have to continue to do. It's boring, it's annoying, but we have to continue doing it.

ANDERSON: With that we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us. And thank you for making yourself available to this

show when requested. It's so important. Thank you.

Well, no matter how exhausted we all may feel about the tragedy of COVID-19 and our collective longing to find a way to end it, kids seem to be showing

the way when it comes to staying resilient. Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the U.S. has been tweeting.


ANDERSON: She posted a photo showing a child getting back to schooling in Saudi Arabia. You've probably heard it a hundred times, but as she points

out, it really does feel like the new normal. Just ahead on "Connect the World," huge antigovernment crowds take to the streets of Belarus Capital,

but the fate of some opposition leaders is not known.

Plus, we're also checking you know what happened to some activists in Russia. They are all connected with Alexey Navalny's pro-democracy

movement, and we've been told they have been attacked. We're going to get you live to Moscow in just a few minutes.


ANDERSON: Right now we're hearing albeit new attack on opposition activist in Russia and some of the victims may be volunteers on Alexey Navalny's

team. That's what team members tell us, they say at least three volunteers linked to the Kremlin critic's pro-democracy efforts in Siberia had to be

taken away in an ambulance after Tuesday's attack on their office with an unknown substance, which you are looking at here on this security camera


Now, Alexey Navalny himself still trying to recover after Berlin doctors says he was poisoned with Novichok. Claims about the nerve agent's use are

getting Russian diplomats in a flap, and now they want to hear from the German Ambassador about Berlin's lab tests on Navalny. Let's get you to

Berlin where Matthew Chance is standing by with the very latest. Matthew?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky thanks very much. Disturbing scenes, I think, in the Russian city of Novi Serbia Square

where that attack took place on the offices of opposition activists in the city. It's caught on security cameras.

You can see it, masked men bursting into the offices, dicing the whole place with a pungent yellow liquid, which made people's eyes water, filled

the whole room with a stench and had to evacuate. Some people got quite serious that symptoms of coughing, a couple of people lost consciousness.

Three people were hospitalized.

We're told by those individuals now and we reached out to that the hospitals checked them over and they're now out again, so it doesn't seem

to be anywhere near as serious as a situation that Alexey Navalny, the sort of main opposition figure in this country is, is in but it does outline I

think just how risky it continues to be for opposition activists to carry out their work in this country, Becky.

ANDERSON: We see a lot of activists criticizing Russia for their position on all of this. How is the Kremlin reacting?


CHANCE: Well, I mean, the Kremlin has a history of rejecting as false any allegations of maligned activity at a level against it. And it is doing the

same thing with the suspected poisoning with the nerve agent poisoning of Alexey Navalny both with the officials of - state and municipal officials

and on broadcasts on Kremlin controlled state media.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're calling it the mysterious poisoning of Alexey Navalny. Russian state television trying to sow doubt among its viewers

that the Kremlin's loudest critic was silenced on purpose at --. The sent Navalny to Germany with no poisons in his body the anchor says. The

suggestions if he was poisoned, it was by another's hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything looks like a special services operation in which a poison Navalny is needed more than a non-poisoned one. The poison

Navalny is an excellent playing card in the hands of Americans.


CHANCE: You would think the poisoning in Russia theory would be hard to deny given these disturbing images of Navalny writhing in agony as he was

stretchered of a plane in Siberia last month. Even the testimony of German officials who say the nerve agent Novichok is the cause hasn't convinced

everyone not even the U.S. President.


TRUMP: Well, I don't know exactly what happened, I think it's tragic. It's terrible, it shouldn't happen. We don't have any proof yet, but I will take

a look.


CHANCE: But doubts in the U.S. add credence to conspiracy theories over here. These were the scene this weekend in Belarus where popular anti-

government protests stoked fears that Russian forces could intervene.

According to the embattled Belarusian President, who wants Moscow's support, Navalny poisoning was a distraction, fabricated by foreigners to

keep the Kremlin active. He even released what he said was an intersected phone call between unidentified figures in Germany and Poland, discussing

the plot.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree we need to discourage Putin from poking his nose in the affairs of Belarus the most effective ways to drown him in Russia's



CHANCE: Russia has form when it comes to making stuff up to explain what looks like overwhelming evidence against it back in 2018 after another

Novichok poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.

The two suspects Russian military intelligence according to the British authorities appeared on state television with an extraordinary tale of two

men with a shared love of architecture on a short break together, unfairly accusing a couple of close friends for silencing a Kremlin critic at home.

For Russian TV, there are no lengths its enemies won't go to, to make Russia look bad.

Becky, the latest reports from the clinic in Berlin where Alexey Navalny is being treated is that his condition has improved. He's out of his coma and

off his ventilator. But the bad news is doctors there still can't determine what long-term effects of what they call a serious poisoning could have


ANDERSON: Matthew is on the story for you. Matthew, thank you. Well, opposition leaders in Belarus say at least three of its organizers have

been abducted. The leader of the anti-government group says activists standing up to President of Belarus are being "Chased, kidnapped and


Unrest has continued for the month since the President Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory and what is a widely disputed election in August.

Opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova has been detained on the Belarusian side of the border with Ukraine its reported that she tore up her passport

as she approached the border, meanwhile President Lukashenko told Russian journalists he has no intention of meeting with opposition groups calling

for his removal.

Well, you're watching "Connect the World" broadcast of course from our Middle East Programming Hub here in Abu Dhabi where the time is half past

7:00 in the evening. Coming up, will Boris Johnson finally get what he wants when it comes to Brexit?

Another round of talks could determine if it's a deal or no deal? Plus, an update on the rescue efforts underway in California to get people trapped

by raging wildfire, I'll talk to the Director of CALFIRE.



ANDERSON: A complex and tricky rescue effort is underway in the mountains of Central California to try and find people trapped by a raging wildfire.

Emergency officials rescued another 35 people by helicopter early Tuesday after carrying hundreds to safety over the weekend.

People are being stranded in the Creek Fire, as it's known, one of the largest of more than 20 burning across the state. It has scorched 55,000

hectares and is still zero percent contained. I want to bring in Thom Porter.

He is Director of CAL FIRE, California's department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Sir, thank you for joining us. I know how busy your department

is. What is the status of the rescue operations as you understand them? How many people are in danger, sir?

THOM PORTER, DIRECTOR, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION: Thank you, Becky. What we have is a situation where we had a

holiday weekend that was - there were a lot of individuals that came up to the mountains for a visit, and so we don't know the actual numbers.

We do know that there are many that have been cut off, they're in safe zones. We're trying to access those safe zones by various means, including

caravan out of the area. Can you still hear me?

ANDERSON: Okay. We're well aware that that is not the only fire raging, of course. Let me focus on another. What more do we know about what was this

gender reveal party that spiked the wildfire in San Bernardino County?

PORTER: Yes, so what we have is we're in a really dry state. I mean, much like a lot of the Mediterranean climates of the world, things are just

very, very receptive to new starts of fires. And so, what we're seeing is sometimes, you know, very much accidental starts of fires are becoming

large and damaging. That's happening throughout the state.

We have fires stretching over more than two-thirds of the length of California top to bottom. In miles, that's about 750 miles separating

hundreds of different fires that are burning. We have three of the largest fires in California's history, three of the top five, number 2, 3 and 4 -

2, 3 and 4 all burning at the same time.

And we have a new fire, the Creek Fire you mentioned, that is likely to grow to that top five status as well. And so, really, the story of Southern

California and the story of many of these fires are accidental starts, one spark that caused a fire, and it's unfortunate, but we need all people to

really watch out for what could start a fire in these dry conditions.


ANDERSON: And you talked about the enormity of this. Do you have the necessary resources to fight this, both at the state and federal level?

We've been looking at images of exhausted firefighters. I want to just bring a couple of those up.

It does strike me that the national discourse around climate change is convoluted right now in the state. So let's start with whether you've got

the resources and then whether you think there should be a better conversation going on about climate change going forward. Take the first

one, if you will.

PORTER: Great questions, and in the conditions we're in, there are never going to be enough resources for every need that is out there. We are

stretched thin. We, along with our federal partners and our local government partners, have all days off canceled.

So every firefighter in the state plus those that we've brought in from other states, the federal government and other countries are all on standby

or on fires as we speak. We have to keep other new fires small, so we do keep a reserve ready to jump on those new fires and keep them small so they

don't become part of the bigger problem.

But this is a scenario that's unfolding that we couldn't have enough firefighters under the scenario we're in. And we've reconciled with that.

We have been bolstering our ranks over the last several months with Governor Gavin Newsom adding 858 new firefighting positions to CALFIRE in

order to have hand crews available for this.

But basically every firefighter in the Western United States and throughout the United States that's available is coming here to our aid.

ANDERSON: Two million acres scorched, sir. These have been the worst fires that California has seen. Are you expecting worse to come and into next

year? And how is climate change factoring into your projections and your preparations?

PORTER: Sure. So it's clear to us that we haven't seen our climate in the condition it's in ever before. We're seeing fires that are growing in ways

that are uncontrollable, burning in what we have considered to be an asbestos forest for my whole career, and that is the Redwoods.

The Redwoods, we're seeing fires that in bad years would grow to 1,000 to 1500 acres, growing to 85,000 acres and 45,000 in a single day. That has

never happened in Redwood forests since we've been keeping records of fires.

Just for reference, what we're dealing with right now, we have right now today over 2,000 miles of fire line that needs to be built. 2,000 miles,

that's the distance from L.A. to Chicago, and it's growing. And we have to cut a line from L.A. to Chicago, basically, in order to get around these

fires and they continue to grow.

ANDERSON: Remarkable. I lived in the states. I've got to tell you, I was never more impressed than the work that I saw of the firefighters in that

State of Arizona when I lived there. You do an amazing job and we just wish you the best, and I hope that you and your colleagues do stay safe. It is

tremendously difficult for you. Thank you, sir, for joining us.

PORTER: Thank you, Becky, for having me.

ANDERSON: Eighth round of post-Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU are getting underway. British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is giving

until mid-October to reach a deal or the UK, he says, will walk away with nothing in place.

On the European side of the talks, the EU wanting that the UK cannot back out on the Brexit promises that it has already made. International

Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson has covered Brexit extensively from the start.

He was exhausted by it when we were still covering it on a daily basis January and February of this year. It went away and it's come back. What's

the latest, Nic? COVID-19 and Brexit, of course, is a perfect storm for many businesses in Britain.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, twin challenges will come pretty much about the same time towards the end of this year.


ROBERTSON: I'm revitalized as we get into more Brexit talks, but it seems as though the talks aren't what we heard today from the Secretary of State

from Northern Ireland pressed on this issue of the legislation, Boris Johnson is going to bring forward.

He admits today that it will break the international law, the agreement that Boris Johnson made with the European Union last year over Northern

Ireland. He says this will be in a specific and limited way.

We've seen a senior white horse civil servant, one of the top lawyers in the civil service, working for the government quit, according to "The

Financial Times" today, because the differences with Boris Johnson over specifically this issue.

But of course it really falls due the pressure and the outcome of these changes the Prime Minister is talking about making, falls due on Northern

Ireland all along the border with the republic in the south.

Along the EU's only land border with the UK, the 300-mile meandering invisible line between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Boris

Johnson's latest shift on Brexit negotiations will be causing consternation.

Former Andrew Little will be back to wondering if his dairy farm can survive. And not far away, the local cattle market could be counting the

cost of uncertainty again, fearing new border controls.

On Wednesday, Johnson announces a new law, potentially weakening customs controls from Great Britain to Northern Ireland by undermining protocols

already agreed with the EU. And in so doing risks a so-called hard border between the North, Northern Ireland and the South, the Republic of Ireland,

and damaging the north's two decades of peace, angering nationalists.


MICHELLE O-NEILL, NORTHERN IRELAND DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER: This is too serious for a game plan. This is far too serious. This is about our

livelihoods for the people who live in the north. This is about protection of the Good Friday Agreement. I will not stand righty by and allow the

government to play fast and loose with our interests here.


ROBERTSON: Unionists, who Johnson let down last year with this protocol deal, welcome his latest gambit.


CHRISTOPHER STALFORD, DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY: We as a party are opposed to this protocol. It will damage our economy because it hives us off from

our largest market, the GB market.


ROBERTSON: In the north power-sharing government, tempers are already rising.


DANIEL MCCROSSAN, SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC AND LABOUR PARTY: Boris is a blundering buffoon that cannot be trusted when it comes to the affairs relating to

these cliffs. He will go down in history, in fact, as the Prime Minister who ignored NI.


ROBERTSON: South of the border, the Foreign Minister raising his alarm at Johnson's apparent disregard for an already agreed international law,

tweeting this would be a very unwise way to proceed, #Brexit.

Brexit, even with the UK, trade deal, would hit island's economy more than any other EU nation. Without a deal, the only certainty and the Island of

Ireland will be uncertainty and a greater risk of violence.

And Irish politicians in Dublin and the government there are calling on the British government to explain itself over this announcement that they will

break international law. And the EU negotiator has been very clear, Michelle Bonea and its bosses both the Council of the EU president and the

Council the President of the Commission as well both saying very clearly that previous agreement is prerequisite to continue these negotiations and

have a positive outcome.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. And I note the ominous dark clouds in one of your shots in that package over the border between the Republic of Ireland and

the North, Nic. Thank you.

Well, everyone's favorite time traveling duo is back. Up next, the star of "Bill & Ted Face the Music". Alex Winter joins us to talk about the new

film and what it's like to release a movie during a global pandemic.



ANDERSON: Most excellent after nearly 30 years, the time-traveling duo, Bill and Ted, are back in the third film of the franchise, "Bill and Ted

Face the Music". Now Millage dads are sent to save the universe with a song, they're a little older, perhaps a little wiser, but their message

remains the same. Party on, dudes.

Well, joining us now from Los Angeles. Bill's pressing the square himself, Alex Winter, the most bodacious guest, if I may say so. You're releasing a

movie while COVID goes on, which has, of course, been killing the box office for obvious reasons. As an actor and a professional in the movie

industry, how does that feel?

ALEX WINTER, ACTOR, "BILL AND TED FACE THE MUSIC": Honestly, it feels quite good. We've been pushing to keep the film on schedule since the pandemic

hit. We really believed the fans had waited long enough, and we didn't want to punt this movie down the road another year. We also believed that there

would be a lot of audience that wanted to be entertained during this time.

It's a challenging time, people are stuck at home. And we felt like while this film was made for the cinema, and there are ways to see it in theaters

all over the world, that it's a pretty good movie to watch from home.

We've been doing incredibly well, we've been a big hit here in the U.S., and we've been holding number one and number two for home video since we

were released, so we're grateful for that. But it's obviously a very difficult time for people.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. What's it like returning as Bill after nearly 30 years, sir?

WINTER: It was fun. You know, they're fun characters to play. We put a lot of work into getting this film off the ground. Keanu and I have a lot of

fun acting together and we had an incredible cast, we are very lucky to bring this ensemble together. So look, they're joyful characters to play,

so we have a lot of fun playing them.

ANDERSON: Yes, and - Keanu Reeves of course, Bill and Ted have one of the most solid relationships, or friendships, seen on screen. They've sort of

literally been through heaven and the hell together. Are you close mates off-screen?

WINTER: Yes, we've been best friends since we were young. So we've gone through a lot of life together. And one of the things that we liked about

this film was that made us even want to do it was that it allowed us to play the characters having had some life experience, not pretending we were

17-year-olds, still.

So it was enjoyable to bring, like, our own ups and downs, our own life experience, into these guys who are obviously still who they are at the end

of the day.

ANDERSON: COVID has given us a lot of time to reflect. If you had a time machine, which period would you go back to, sir?

WINTER: You know it's hard to say. There are so many incredible periods in time. I think right now I may want to go forward just a little bit, you

know. Maybe just get through the next six to eight months and come out the other end of that and then be ready.

ANDERSON: Yes, it's been tough, hasn't it? As we've been discussing this latest film, "Bill & Ted Face the Music" was filmed before the COVID-19

outbreak began.


ANDERSON: I know that you've been talking about whether you think there is a message that we can learn from Bill and Ted during these troubling times.

I have to ask what you think that is.

WINTER: Well, I mean, the films have all kind of embodied this idea of being kind to each other, coming together as a community. And the first two

were really about the communities around us, and the third one very much is about the whole world coming together.

You know, as we said, we made this long before there was a pandemic. But I think it's a good message for the moment we're in. I think that the way we

get through challenging times as a human race is to come together and to be there for each other. And that's very much the message of the movie.

ANDERSON: Finally, and I do want to just move away from the movie for just one moment, because you write and direct an awful lot. You're quite

prolific, I have to say. And you wrote and directed "The Panama Papers," a documentary that I quote "The L.A. Times" here, serves as a reminder of the

important work reporters do in fighting abuses of power on the way that work is evolving in an increasingly fractured global landscape.

A jolly good review for what was a jolly good documentary. I wonder, then, how you feel when the U.S. president refers to journalists as the enemy of

the people.

WINTER: I think that having a free press and the heroic work that journalists do is the glue that holds civilization together. So I think

it's very important that journalists are supported and that people who are providing the news and the truth to people at great risk, often, especially

in this climate, that those people are supported.

We live in stressful times, but I would also say that we live in a kind of golden age for journalism because it's really been very, very important for

people to be able to understand what is actually going on in the world, and journalists is how we know that.

ANDERSON: With that, we leave it there. No, let me just ask you this one last question. Back to the movie. And thank you for that last answer. Where

on earth did you find a phone booth? Do they even exist anymore?

WINTER: They do not. When the film was written, we were literally stealing our own phone booth from back in the day from the future. Otherwise we

would have been out of luck. Yes.

ANDERSON: With that we'll end it there. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

WINTER: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

ANDERSON: Still ahead, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan who've made good on a promise to pay back millions to British taxpayers. Live to the UK for

more on that, after this.


ANDERSON: Well, a Royal debt has been paid. Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have repaid the renovating cost of their UK residence which is

known as Frogmore Cottage and seen here funded by taxpayers, the $300 million price tag had become quite a source of controversy after the couple

decided to step down as senior members of the Royal Family and move to the U.S.

CNN's Anna Stewart joins us live from Windsor in England. So, what are the details and what are you hearing on the ground there?


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, Becky, this was certainly one of the biggest criticisms perhaps leveled against the Sussex's. Early in the year,

when they decided to withdraw from royal life, Frogmore Cottage and the cost of the renovation as you mentioned, the $3 million.

The cottage is located on the grounds of Windsor Castle, and is owned by the Crown of State. The queen gets to decide who lives there, but the cost

of that renovation fell to the taxpayer, and it was not cheap at $3 million. So asking people today, will this do enough to really restore

people's faith in the Sussex's, how do they feel and now they have repaid that cost in full.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We invested taxpaying money and then you left the country. So I think, yes, I think it would definitely help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a lot of people are upset, because they think what do they actually contribute, what do we get back from them? Not that

much, really, but obviously we give them the respect because they are the royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's been done and dusted divided and everything, so we get on with it now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do think they should pay it now that they've decided to go another way and they're making an awful lot of money on

Netflix, so another couple million, and I don't think, will make a great difference to them.


STEWART: As you can hear, their repaying the money will certainly satisfy some critics, and they have, of course, as they said they would do, become

financially independent, just days ago, announcing a multi-year deal with Netflix. We don't know the financial details of it, but that perhaps has

helped them repay this amount in film, not over many years in installments as many people had expected.

Becky, it's been an expensive year for the Sussex's. They have bought a house in California, they are having to put that in security bills, they're

suing several tabloid newspapers. And they have now repaid the very expensive renovation costs for the cottage here, their second home, of

course. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes, hardly retiring from public life with that very public deal with Netflix, as you pointed out. What are the chances of the Sussex's

returning to the royal fold after what feels like very much a sort of finalizing of a divorce isn't it? From the royal family, at least.

STEWART: It does, and I think that's a really interesting point. Because when all of this came to a head earlier in the year, Buckingham Palace said

well after 12 months, they would review the situation with the Sussex's, perhaps reopening the door if they wanted to make return.

I think a multi-year deal with Netflix repaying the renovation cost for this cottage infill all $3 million does suggest they're not coming back to

the royal fold any time soon. Becky?

ANDERSON: Anna is in Windsor, I'm in Abu Dhabi. Thank you. I did see the headline earlier, make a pay back. Indeed, it was, and that was quite the

show. We can introduce you to the very latest on the search for a COVID vaccine as we always will. That was our headline. Such an important one,

isn't it? For now, great good evening from the UAE.