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Moria Refugees In Dire Need On Europe's Doorstep; Legendary Diana Rigg Remembered; No Roger, Rafa Or Novak In U.S. Open Men's Final; Anger Over Reports President Trump Downplayed Virus Severity; India Reports More Than 96,000 New COVID-19 Cases; Health Experts Cast Doubt on Early Vaccine Hopes; Beirut Port Ablaze, Weeks After Massive Blast; Raging Wildfires in the United States. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired September 11, 2020 - 02:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Defiant and still downplaying the virus, Donald Trump holds a rally with little social distancing and very few masks in sight.

From California to Oregon, massive fires are raging out of control.

And late --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We lost everything like clothes and medicine, my medicines.

NEWTON: Left with only their lives, migrants who survived the war wonder how much more misery they can endure.


NEWTON: Hello and welcome to "CNN Newsroom." I am Paula Newton.

Donald Trump says he didn't tell the American people how dangerous the coronavirus was sooner because he didn't want people to panic.

The president continues to lash out at a new book by veteran journalist Bob Woodward during a campaign rally in Michigan on Thursday with few masks and no social distancing, as you can see right there.

Recordings by Woodward show that the president knew how contagious and deadly the virus was back in early February. In public though, he downplayed the threat and discouraged people from wearing masks.


FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: How did we get here? Imagine you are an alien who landed on planet earth and you saw that our planet was afflicted with by an infectious disease and masks were an effective way to prevent the spread.

And yet when you went around, you saw some people not wearing them and some wearing them and you try to figure out why. And it turned out it was their political party. You would scratch your head and think this is just not a planet that has much promise for the future if something that is so straightforward can somehow get twisted into decision- making that really makes no sense.

So, I am -- as a scientist, I am pretty puzzled and rather disheartened.


NEWTON: Now, more than 6.3 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus. Many have recovered, but nearly 192,000 people have not, making the U.S. death toll the highest in the world.

Brazil has with the second most deaths, but new infections are now declining there. India, meantime, has the second most cases in the world at more than four and a half million.

In the United States, there is growing anger over the president's early statements about the virus and really concerns about the process of vaccine approval. Our Athena Jones has more.



CELINE GOUNDER, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST: This is medical malpractice, negligent homicide on a grand scale.

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amid the fallout from President Trump's on-the-record admission to playing down the dangers of coronavirus on purpose, a consensus.

CRAIG SPENCER, DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL HEALTH IN EMERGENCY MEDICINE, NEW YORK-PRESBYTERIAN/COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: I'm furious because, you want to talk about panic and wanting to reduce panic? I think of the panic of every single family I called on FaceTime to let them know their family member was dying or had died.

HOTEZ: This is the single largest public health failure in the modern history of the United States, certainly in the last hundred years, and it happened because there was a refusal by the White House to launch a national campaign and a national strategy against the virus. So, it's beyond upsetting.

JONES (voice-over): The president's early and ongoing dismissals of the seriousness of the virus got in the way of any coherent public health communications strategy to combat it. Thus forward to now, the Kaiser Family Foundation finding 62 percent of Americans worry political pressure from the Trump administration will cause regulators to rush the approval of a coronavirus vaccine. Just 36 percent say they are not worried. And as U.S. COVID deaths approach 200,000 and total hospitalizations near 400,000, a new analysis finds the country's incomplete testing may have led officials to miss more than 6.1 million COVID-19 cases by mid-April, including a substantial number of milder asymptomatic cases. At the time, there were just over 721,000 confirmed infections.

A new study by a team at the University of California, Berkeley published in major communications supports the CDC's own estimates that the U.S. missed 90 percent of COVID cases. Testing czar, Admiral Brett Giroir, says the situation is improving.

BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: This month, we should have the availability of over a hundred million tests, and between 55 and 60 percent of those, that's 55 to 60 million, will be rapid point of care.


JONES (voice-over): The majority of the country appears to be on the right track. Still more than 40,000 COVID cases have been reported at colleges and universities in all 50 states.

The White House Task Force is expressing new concerns and calling for intensified mitigation efforts amid surges in states like Pennsylvania and Missouri, where the NFL season kicks off tonight with the Kansas City Chiefs facing off against the Houston Texans. A limited number of fans allowed in the stadium.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is everybody looking for right now at there but just joy and hope, something to cling on to, and so this is the perfect time for the Chiefs.

JONES (voice-over): Meanwhile, in New York City, some indoor dining set to begin again September 30th with precautions, including a 25 percent occupancy limit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to get it right.

JONES: Restaurants here in New York City will also be required to have enhanced ventilation, and one person from each party will have to leave their phone number for contact racing in case someone at the restaurant test positive for COVID-19.

Governor Andrew Cuomo will decide if restaurants can go to 50 percent capacity on November 1st, based on data.

Athena Jones, CNN, New York.


NEWTON: Now, President Trump insists the country has now turned the corner on coronavirus. In Michigan, he compared himself to Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill during World War II.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our country is doing great. We have to take a pause to get rid of the China virus. And we got rid of, we're getting rid of, we're coming around, we're coming around that turn. I'm telling you, you watch.


NEWTON: Now, at the White House earlier in the day, Mr. Trump blasted journalist Bob Woodward for his new book. CNN's Jim Acosta has that.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One day after bombshell recordings reveal the president intentionally downplayed the COVID-19 threat, Mr. Trump is claiming it was all about keeping Americans from panicking.

TRUMP: I didn't lie. What I said is we have to be calm, we can't be panicked. I don't want to jump up and down and start screaming death, death.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president is even trying to shift the blame to the journalist with the Trump tapes, Bob Woodward.

TRUMP: Certainly, if he thought that was a bad statement, he would have reported it because he thinks that, you know, you don't want to have anybody that is going to suffer medically because of some fact.

If Bob Woodward thought what I said was bad, he should have immediately, right after I said it, gone out to the authorities so they can prepare and let them know. But he didn't think it was bad, and he said he didn't think it was bad. He actually said he didn't think it was bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): But Bob Woodward is not the president.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Democrats aren't buying it with Joe Biden tweeting, "Donald Trump said he didn't want to tell the truth and create a panic, so he did nothing and created a disaster."

NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: He hid the facts and refused to take the threat seriously, leaving the entire country exposed and unprepared. He didn't want to cause a panic. Why? Because of the stock market?

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president has used the panic excuse before, way back in March.

What do you say to Americans who believe that you got this wrong?

TRUMP: I do want them to stay calm. And we are doing a great job. You could ask a normal question. The statements I made are, I want to keep the country calm. I don't panic in the country. I could cause panic, much better than even you.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But here is the problem, in February, the president warned Woodward the virus was deadly, but not the public.

TRUMP (voice-over): It goes through air, Bob. That's always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don't have to touch things, right? But the air, you just breathe the air, and that's how it is passed. And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It is also more deadly than your, you know, even your strenuous flus. This is more deadly.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Even with Mr. Trump's admissions caught on tape --

TRUMP (voice-over): I wanted to -- I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.


TRUMP: Because I don't want to create a panic.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Top administration officials are trying to tell the public, don't believe your own ears.

MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I actually didn't sense the president was downplaying anything. We were giving the American people the facts as we knew them, as we learned them, every step of the way.

ACOSTA: Woodward book has GOP senators running for cover with Iowa's Joni Ernst telling CNN, I haven't read it, I haven't seen it, so give me a chance to take a look. And John Cornyn of Texas praising Mr. Trump, saying, he's done as good job as you can under the circumstances.

But there are other pressing questions for the president raised in the Woodward book, as of why Mr. Trump thought it was a good idea to tell the author about what sounds like a top secret nuclear weapons system.

TRUMP: But I have built a nuclear weapon. I have built a weapon system, a weapon system that nobody has ever had in this country before. We have stuff that you haven't even seen or heard about. We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before. There is nobody -- what we have is incredible.

ACOSTA: During this rally in Michigan, the president and his campaign team were violating his administration's own coronavirus guidelines, as they packed in thousands of supporters who weren't practicing social distancing and many were not wearing masks.


ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, at the Saginaw airport in Michigan.


NEWTON: John Bolton had already been fired as national security adviser when the coronavirus hit the United States. But he has some strong criticism for the president's handling of the pandemic. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: This is a very serious political problem for the president, which is what he understands it to be. It's not a matter of truth or falsity here for him. This is an existential threat to his reelection, which I think explains the vehemence of his response to it.

He said not just that he didn't want to cause panic, but that he was a cheerleader, and he wanted to keep people spirits up. I think that is a telling aspect of his character. But it is not what a president is. He is a leader, not a cheerleader. The American people are not children, they are adults. And the way a leader reacts is you tell them the truth.


NEWTON: Now to India where there are stunning numbers to report. That country reported more than 96,000 new infections on Friday. It's the second day in a row that the country has set a global second day record.

We go live now in New Delhi and CNN's Vedika Sud. She joins me now. You know, these are stunning numbers to kind of take in, and I'm kind of wondering how the country is reacting to all of this, especially as they are so concerned about trying to get the economy back on its feet?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: It's certainly what they are trying to do right now, Paula, get the economy back on its feet, especially after the huge hit that they've got after the GDP numbers of the second quarter of India were up, where the economic growth started and how, one of the most severe contractions that the world has seen when it comes to economic growth in the recent past.

So, yes, these are huge numbers, we broken global records for a daily rise in COVID-19 cases here in India. The government of India, at the same time, goes on to talk about the low fatality rate and the high recovery rate. This is something they've been repeating at every press briefing or press release that has been issued by the health ministry here in India.

You have the (INAUDIBLE) come out and speak at a function to withdraw (INAUDIBLE). He said that people should not take COVID-19 lightly. He also went on to say that social distancing is the only way out.

But there are a lot of reasons why we are seeing the surge, as well. One of them is obviously being the aggressive testing that is now taking place here in India with over 53 or 54 million samples being tested today, over about 14 million samples being tested in the last two weeks itself.

Along with that, there are other reasons like in rural areas in India, remember, 70 percent of India's population lives in rural areas, the virus is spreading there, after spreading in cities and towns. So that is a big worry, because the public health infrastructure in rural areas is not even close to being up to mark. It is fragile, it is weak, and it needs a lot of strengthening over the next few years. That should, in fact, be the focus of the government of India after we have been hit hard by COVID-19.

Also, complacency is another factor. Like I said, in every press conference, you have the government of India coming out and talking about how the recovery rate is very high, which it is, according to official numbers, and how the fatality rate is a bit low. With that, complacency is also setting in and you have people now walking around without masks or maintaining social distancing. Paula?

NEWTON: Yeah. That pandemic fatigue is quite dangerous to everyone, unfortunately. Vedika Sud for us there live for us in New Delhi. I appreciate it.

To France now where new coronavirus infections are also at a record high. The country reported nearly 10,000 new cases on Thursday. That is its largest daily increase since the pandemic began. The startling numbers have led the government officials to reconsider perhaps the possibility of imposing local lockdowns. So far, more than 30,000 people have died from the virus in France. That is according to Johns Hopkins University.

Now, the race for a vaccine is intensifying as multiple pharmaceutical companies begin their final clinical trials. Earlier, during CNN's global town hall, Coronavirus Facts and Fears, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Health spoke about the safety of these potential vaccines.


COLLINS: We have now six vaccines that are either already in phase three trials or will be quite soon. Each of those requiring 30,000 participants to be sure we have enough evidence to decide about safety and efficacy.

And it is moving forward at a pace that the world has never seen, but I will say not in a fashion that allows cutting corners with safety. I want to make that really clear. We sped up this process in a variety of ways, but not to compromise safety.

In fact, I would say these trials are more rigorous than almost any that have ever been done for vaccines. Will we be likely to have a result before November 3rd?


COLLINS: I think all of us looking at those timetables to say that that is really very unlikely. Much more likely, we will have a read out on one or more of these, maybe in December, possibly in November. But late October seems beyond the likelihood that most of us can predict when you look at what has to happen between now and then.


NEWTON: CNN medical analyst Amy Compton Phillips joins me now from Seattle, Washington. She is also chief clinical officer at the Providence Health System. Thanks so much for joining us.

Listen. If you're out there as a layperson like me with no medical background, this has been very confusing to take in when we start to talk about virus and timelines.

Let's talk about timelines first. Here on CNN, we just had Dr. Francis Collins, head of the NIH in the United States, say, look, it would be incredibly optimistic to think that we would even have the results of those third stage trials by the end of October.

What is it telling us when we hear this information that, look, we are already working it -- quote, unquote -- "warp speed" and even that will not give us what we need by the fall.

AMY COMPTON-PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It would be absolutely wonderful if we could speed things up, but already, this is the fastest vaccine development ever in the history of any vaccine development. And so, if we look at what is logical and what is possible, we are really talking about, you know, probably the end of the first quarter of 2021 that we have a vaccine, not right now.

You have to give the vaccine to people, recruit lots and lots of volunteers, 30,000 in the AstraZeneca trial, for example, so you recruit all these volunteers, you give them the shot, and then you track them over a period of several months to see whether or not the shot both creates the immune response as well as actually prevents developing the virus and the symptoms, as well as watching for side effects.

That's a lot of science to decompress into a short period of time. So we are really talking much more logically, early 2021.

NEWTON: And I think people need to really take that in. The other piece of information this week that really unnerved a lot of people was the fact that there was a pause in one of the vaccine trials. It was because one of the volunteers was having adverse medical effects. What should we take away from that?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: Well, let's clarify that just a little bit. One of the volunteers something bad happens, something called transverse myelitis. And we don't know whether or not it was from the vaccine or not.

Because if you think about an appropriate vaccine trial, you're taking in 30,000 people of all types of varying health, right, and so those 30,000 people, if you just follow 30,000 people for six months, some might have heart attacks, some might have strokes, some might have cancer, some might develop transverse myelitis although that is quite rare.

And the challenge is to tease out whether or not you're seeing their normal health progress or whether or not you're seeing something happen because of the virus. And so that is why it takes a lot of people and time to develop the studies, to understand what really is cause and effect and what is just random variation that we would expect in a broad population.

NEWTON: Good points there on the virus. So if and when those vaccines become available, many people may not trust them enough to take them now. I know many people have been following this. We now have a new study published Thursday in the medical journal, The Lancet.

It suggests researchers surveyed nearly 300,000 people around the world between 2015 and 2019, so not recently but certainly in the last five years, and asked them if they felt comfortable taking any vaccine.

This is where things stood in 2015. Dark blue means that most of the country thought the vaccines were safe. Deep orange indicates that less than a third of the country's residents thought so. And as you can see, hotspots of don't in Russia and parts of Europe there.

Now, let's see what 2018 looked like. Yes, much more dark blue. Vaccine confidence across Europe was still pretty low. Nigeria, Pakistan, and Indonesia are among countries that saw a big increase in the number of people that said that they did not trust vaccines.

Researchers call the results worrying and say that the spread of misinformation is partially to blame. That is why doctors keep telling us that when it comes to a vaccine, they only have one shot of this to prove that it is safe.

Now, fast moving wildfires are out of control in the Western United States. Still to come, find out if firefighters are making any headway against those incredible fires.

Plus, a Beirut port is still recovering from a massive chemical fire over a month ago. Now, a new fire is building smoke for some miles. So, what is the cause of this one? Details when we come back.




NEWTON: Wow! It's incredible when you look at it, is it? I mean, historic, unprecedented. That's the kind of language being used to describe the raging wildfires in the Western United States.

These pictures are from California where 11 people have been killed and at least 16 are now, sadly, unaccounted for. Evacuation orders and warnings have been issued for several areas. More than 14,000 firefighters are battling 24 large blazes right across the state.

The California governor is pointing to climate change as a primary factor in the fire. I spoke earlier to U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Terry Krasko in Willows, California. He has been dealing with the August Complex fire in Northern California. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY KRASKO, U.S. FOREST SERVICE SPOKESPERSON (via telephone): We have seen finally a moderation of the wind. The last two days proved very difficult for our fighters on this particular complex because they actually rotated 180 degrees.

We were working on the western side of the this fire, beginning to button (ph) it up very nicely and then the winds just came and 30 to 55 mile an hour winds lead the fire just passed most of the control lines that we have built.

NEWTON: That has got to be so discouraging and obviously so dangerous, as well. How much relief will it take though, especially given the intense temperatures that you guys have been suffering through?

KRASKO (via telephone): Well, rain would be welcome but we aren't seeing that on the radar screen yet. I believe our weather stations have shown that some of these areas have not received rain for 160 days. So, everything that is already alive is now dead. It is available to burn. Everything is very, very combustible at this point.


NEWTON: U.S. President Donald Trump has now approved an emergency declaration for Oregon. About a half million people there have been forced to leave their homes because of those fires.

That is more than 10 percent of the state's population. CNN's Lucy Kafanov is in Clackamas County, Oregon and has an update on the firefight.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is an incredibly dangerous situation across the state of Oregon. We are in Clackamas County right now, Oregon's third most populous county where a lot of the areas have been affected by the fires.

This specific location is sort of the safety staging area for the fire crews to be able to stay safe as they figure out the plan for where to go next, which area to target next. I can tell you, residential areas around here are under a mandatory level three evacuation order. That means get out, don't risk your life.

This is a very agricultural area. There are a lot of farms with animals. So some folks are choosing to stay back to try to protect their homes and save their animals. But again, officials are warning people not to take any chances and to get out while they can.

We heard from the governor, Kate Brown, she said that 900,000 acres have burned so far in the past 72 hours. That number likely to rise. Just to give you some context, 500,000 acres burned on average in an entire year. So this is a historic, unprecedented fire event. The governor is predicting loss of life, loss of structures. [02:25:00]

KAFANOV: The weather conditions that we've had so far with very heavy winds and incredible dry conditions have made it difficult to begin to contain the fires up until now. The focus has been on evacuating people and trying to protect structures.

But officials are hoping for the weather conditions to change over the next few days, so that they will be able to begin to start the process of containing the fires.

This is devastating to the state of Oregon. The resources here spread incredibly thin. The governor is requesting help from the defense department as well as the Army Corps of Engineers. The National Guard has been activated, as well.

We know that a team is flying in from Utah to help the firefighters here because not only this state but neighboring Washington, as well as California battling its own fires, as well.

Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Clackamas County, Oregon.


NEWTON: A huge fire broke out in Beirut's port on Thursday, creating massive plumes of smoke and waves and waves of panic. It was just last month that an explosion in the same port killed almost 200 people. Now, anger is growing as many ask how could this happen again. CNN's Arwa Damon has details.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No one knew what was happening as the smoke darkened the skies and the fire burned through what was left of Beirut's port.

Just a few days ago, four tons of ammonium nitrate was found in the port. All they could think was, another blast is coming, flee!

I live some 500 meters from this fire, (INAUDIBLE) says. I had to take my wife and children out of Beirut because of this since they are still living in fear after what happened before.


DAMON (voice-over): It's been barely a month since the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut's port, ripping through swaths of the city, taking lives and shredding homes.

We saw the same thing happening again, (INAUDIBLE) says. We are definitely scared and people are freaking out.

The trauma from that is still all too fresh. The anger at the government's incompetence is too raw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is disaster. What are our politicians doing? Let me show the truth. We are working here in Beirut every day to help people. Where is the government?

DAMON (voice-over): This area, just a short distance from the site of the deadly explosion in August, should have been secured. This should not be happening. How did cooking oil and tires go up in flames? We don't know what caused this fire. Just like we don't know what caused the initial fire that led to the ammonium nitrate's detonation back in August.

And this, this just adds to the deep despair among the population here. A choking reminder of all they have suffered. Still, so incomprehensible.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Istanbul (ph).


NEWTON: Thousands of migrants have lost what little they had after a fire ripped through the largest refugee camp in Europe. Many are now taking shelter at cemetery. We will take you there.



PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks for joining us. Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton.

Thousands of migrants are now without shelter after the largest refugee camp in Europe was destroyed.

A fire broke out on Wednesday at the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both say they are working to try and welcome some of those refugees.

And Mrs. Merkel is now calling on other E.U. countries to play their part.


ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (Through Translator): I hope some several other member states will do so too.

Migration is not just the problem of the countries where people arrive and it's not just Germany's problem.

We hold the E.U. presidency and it must even more become a European responsibility.


NEWTON: Now dozens of families who lived in the Moria camp have now found refuge at a nearby cemetery.

Some of them say the conditions inside were appalling even before the fire.

CNN's Melissa Bell was able to hear some of their stories.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: By Thursday night, fires were still being little and put out.

But on the outskirts of Moria, the only emergency that now matters is the humanitarian one.

Thousands of refugees, still surrounded in by police, but now without any refuge at all.

It is miles and miles of human misery stretched out these roads around what was the Moria migrant camp.

Have a look over here. You can see families doing what they can to try and find shelter and keep themselves warm because the evenings get quite cool here. Even though the days are pretty hot.

You can see that people here, these women, were told to queue because food would be brought. A truck then arrived and everyone rushed down to try and get at something.

For many, this was the first sign of help they'd had since the fire on Tuesday night deprived them of what little they owned.

As they fled, many took videos as their shelters went up in smoke.

These images were shot by two teenage sisters, Mariam and Mahtab who with their family are now living among the dead.


MAHTAB, AFGHAN MIGRANT: We lost everything, like clothes, and medicine, my medicines -- mother.


BELL: Like the others here, they tell us that they do not believe that the migrants were responsible for the fire. Even as Greek authorities say it was lit my migrants angry with the COVID-19 related restrictions.


MARIAM, AFGHAN MIGRANT: I know it was the fascists because the second time I saw that the Greek people --

MAHTAB: Yes, second time.

MARIAM: -- on the motorcycle, that they coming and they were around the camp and they do that. They said the refugee do that. But it is not true because refugee cannot do this. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL: An estimated 13,000 people had been living in Moria. Those who knew the camp say conditions inside were appalling.


FARIS AL-JAWAD, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: I was here in 2018 as well as 2019, and I thought at that time that it couldn't really get much worse.

And I'm here now in 2020 and I was wrong. It's worse and -- for children as well. We're talking about children who potentially have never known anything but war.

And now their futures are, once again, being ripped away from them.


BELL: For now it is their very immediate future that is of most concern.

In Moria, they had food and water. Here in the cemetery they have nothing at all.

Melissa Bell. CNN, Lesbos.


NEWTON: Now a U.S. bank is making history by appointing a woman to lead it.

Citi Group has named 16-year veteran, Jane Fraser, as its new CEO.

She's been the bank's president since October and is set to take on her new role in February.

CNN's John Defterios is standing by for us in Abu Dhabi.

And put this into context for us, John, global context, really. Considering the scale of Citi as a bank.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes. I think that's why it is such a major move.

Not only does it break the glass ceiling, as you were saying, on Wall Street, which was long overdue but Citi's a major player, ranked in the Top 10 globally, two trillion dollars of assets.

For Jane Fraser, I think this is going to be a challenge because she'll come in at a very difficult time because of COVID-19. Michael Corbat when he was CEO had to take of that global financial crisis when he took the reins as CEO.

So that life is not without challenges, right? But we've had very sensible women or female leaders in the COVID

crisis as the prime minster of New Zealand or the chancellor of Germany. So I think we're in fantastic hands, let's put it that way.

But this is a trend that we've seen in Europe first, to be honest.


In fact Jane Fraser's from Scotland originally and has been at Citi for almost two decades.

Anna Botin of the Bank of Santander Group in Spain has been all over the world, serves on the board of Coca Cola as well.

At the same time, Alison Rose became the CEO of NatWest in the U.K. last November. Didn't have quite the fanfare that we see with Citi but, again, another major lending institution.

Then you look at the International Monetary Fund with Christine Lagarde now at the ECB. Kristalina Georgieva now at the IMF before that at the World Bank.

Janet Yellen who was a chairwoman of the Federal Reserve and was the vice chairman before that.

So this is a precedent in the public sector in the past, of course. And that was a major breakthrough going back a dozen years ago.

But finally, it's hitting the corporate suites which I think was long overdue on Wall Street. Paula.

NEWTON: Yes. And we certainly hope that this pandemic doesn't really set a lot of women back. Because that has been a topic of conversation in many countries recently.

DEFTERIOS: That's a great point.

NEWTON: Yes. Fingers crossed, right?

The mining giant, meantime, Rio Tinto, has removed its global CEO. This was a major incident in Western Australia. A sacred indigenous sites. And some would say, this was a long time coming.

DEFTERIOS: Well, it was a seven-year court battle that Rio Tinto won. But they certainly didn't win the court of public opinion. And that was a massive mistake.

Mining companies, by the way, have a difficult challenge anyway, because of their job. Digging up the earth.

So they're never popular. So they have to be a lot more sensitive.

Jean-Sebastian Jacques was the CEO. He'll step down along with the CEO of the iron ore business for the group and the person who ran global communications or public relations in the corporate sector and in financial relations as well. So there's going be quite a sweep here.

But the site was 46,000 years old, the Juukan Gorge. And the only thing the chairman could say, we did it wrong and we'll do better in the future.

But after a seven-year court battle, not to tune into public opinion, I think it was a drastic mistake for Rio Tinto. And they said they'll do better.

There's been a lot of pressure in Western Australia to hold them accountable.

NEWTON: Yes. It will be interesting to see what happens, definitely, going forward for them.

John Defterios for us. Good to see you. Thanks so much.

And just ahead for us here on NEWSROOM. Diana Rigg, we say goodbye to the actress who rose to fame as a kick-ass British spy.

And ended her career with a memorable farewell in "Game of Thrones."





LADY TYRELL: And now the rains weep o'er our halls.


NEWTON: Now younger viewers will remember her as Lady Tyrell in the HBO hit "Game of Thrones."

But Dame Diana Rigg had an acting career that spanned decades from the "Avengers," to James Bond's only wife.


The legendary actress has passed away after a battle of cancer.

CNN's Nina Dos Santos has more.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She was trained to perform Shakespeare, but Diana Rigg chose TV to launch her career as Emma Peel, the secret agent in the 1960s British series, "The Avengers."

A move that catapulted her to fame and turned the show into a cult classic.


DIANA RIGG AS EMMA PEEL "THE AVENGERS": And that's what you want me to find out.


DOS SANTOS: The range of her talents spread worldwide. In TV, films and on stage.

Including a role 50 years later in another smash hit, "Game of Thrones."

As a young actress, Rigg was part of that look of swinging 1960s London that captured the imagination of the rest of the world.




DOS SANTOS: Rigg didn't appear in the series until season four, in 1965. But overnight, she won over an international audience as the "Avengers Girl."




DOS SANTOS: As one of TV's first super spies, Rigg blended sex appeal with cool intellect.


STEED: By the way, are you busy just now?

PEEL: Not very. I've just written an article for the "Science Weekly."


DOS SANTOS: She helped popularize the cat suit, martial arts and performed her own stunts.

Rigg's appeal helped to define a TV era at a time when technicolor had not yet made its way onto U.K. TV screens. In fact, the show was produced in color for the U.S. audience.

She told the BBC years later that she wasn't prepared for the success of "Avengers."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAME DIANA RIGG: I was very lucky and also very ignorant. Because I had absolutely no idea when I went into "The Avengers" what an impact it would have on my life.


DOS SANTOS: While Rigg was considered a sex symbol, she never thought of herself as one. Having parity with her male co-stars was more important.

She demanded a raise after learning that she was paid less than her co-star and even the camera man.

After only two seasons, she left "The Avengers," but her fame was intact, and grew.

Next by making more history appearing in the James Bond film "On her Majesty's Secret Service," not as a Bond girl but as the only actress to play Bond's wife.




DOS SANTOS: Rigg never forget her roots. Always returning to the stage or appearing in British TV roles that showed the depth of her talent.

And in the U.S., she hosted "Mystery Theatre" for PBS. Also appearing on Broadway in the role of Medea, winning a Tony as "Best Actress."

She received multiple awards and was honored by the Queen.

As Dame Diana Rigg she won a new generation of fans when she was cast in "Game of Thrones," as Lady Olena Tyrell known for her terrifying presence in the four seasons in which she appeared.

After which, her poisonous character was killed off by -- what else?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'll make sure of that.

RIGG: That's good.


DOS SANTOS: Rigg was tireless in her craft. Her stage presence dominated for generations leaving a legacy that has made her an icon and a national treasure.


NEWTON: Now Riggs' daughter says she died peacefully in her sleep surrounded by her family.

Dame Diana Rigg was 82.

I want to thank everyone for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton. WORLD SPORTS starts right after the break.



PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Hi there, thanks for joining us.

We start right here in the United States on what will go down as a momentous night on the American sports calendar.

In a moment concerning some big, big news concerning American tennis great, Serena Williams. This at the U.S. Open in New York City.

But I want to start with a ground-breaking and historic Thursday in the National Football League.

Superbowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead Stadium, the anti- racism messages in both end zones. This all part of the NFL's social justice stance.

Their opponents, the Houston Texans, their entire team leaving the field to their locker room for both "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and the U.S. national anthem there.

Meantime, the Chiefs on the field for both songs. Defensive end Alex Okafor appearing to be the only player who kneeled.

Then a show of unity from both teams. A moment of silence dedicated to the fight for equality.

The game itself in this an era of global pandemic, remember, allowing a crowd of just over 20 percent of stadium capacity, around 16,000 fans in this case.

A win for the Chiefs inspired by star quarter back Patrick Mahomes. The Superbowl champs running out winners convincingly, 34 points to 20 in the end.

But this night about so much more than just a season opener.

All right. As promised, to New York City where the American tennis legend, Serena Williams, has once again been denied in her quest for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title after losing her semifinal Thursday against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

The 38-year-old Williams was looking to add to her tally of 23 and draw level with Australia's Margaret Court. And it looked really good for her when she wins the opener 6-1. But then it all went horribly wrong for Williams as fellow mom

Azarenka takes complete control. The six-time champion, Williams, simply had no answers to her opponent as she not only leveled the match but then just powered her way to victory in three sets.

A remarkable feat for Azarenka who's a two-time Aussie Open champion. She was playing in her first Slam semi in seven years.

Serena out as her joyous opponent savored the moment. And then, with these powerful words to share.


VICTORIA AZARENKA, SEMI-FINAL WINNER, U.S. OPEN: Well, I hope it just inspires women to go after their dreams.

I feel like you can't always identify yourself as just one thing. You have many, many things you can do in your life. Being a parent is to me most important thing in my life.

But I'm a tennis player on the court, I'm a fighter on the court. I want to go after my dreams, my personal dreams. Inspire my child.

And I hope that women around the world know that they can do anything. Because being a parent is the toughest thing.

So once you can balance that, you can do anything.


SNELL: Inspiring words. All right. Well, facing Azarenka in the final will be Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka after beating the USA's Jennifer Brady in three sets.

But once again, it's the powerful stand she's taken on issues of social injustice here in the U.S. that's been a attracting global headlines.

Ahead of her semi on Thursday, Osaka wearing her sixth different mask of the tournament, this one bearing the name of Philando Castile who died in 2016.

Before each match at this U.S. Open Osaka dotting the face mask of a different black person whose death sparked cause for inspirational justice.

Well, the 22-year-old who won here in 2018 advancing to her second career final at Flushing Meadows.

And then afterwards, again her platform to maximum effect.


NAOMI OSAKA, U.S. OPEN TENNIS FINALIST: For me, I feel like just knowing that I'm reaching people I feel like in this bubble I'm not really sure what's going on in, let's say, the outside world. But even a couple of days ago, when I got the video messages, for me

it was really touching. Me and everyone I knew cried.

So, yes. Just knowing that people are hearing my voice.


SNELL: They really are. Through to another final.

All right. Later today it's the two men's semifinals that will be taking center stage in the Big Apple. And one thing we can tell you, we are guaranteed for sure a brand-new men's Grand Slam champion.

Setting the scene for us, let's send it over to Carolyn Manno. Carolyn.


CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: Pat, it is very difficult to hold equal billing with the women's semi-final that was star-studded and the early departure of Novak Djokovic here still has people buzzing in Queens.

But this men's semi-final does present a unique opportunity. It's a chance for somebody that's not named Roger or Rafa or Novak to break through and win a Grand Slam title, something we haven't seen a number of years.

Dominic Thiem is the favorite to do just that and has already made history here as the first Austrian man to ever reach the semifinal of the U.S. Open.

After a three-set win over Alex De Minaur on Wednesday, Thiem will face 2019 U.S. Open finalist Daniil Medvedev.


Both are keen on being crowned a new Grand Slam champion on the men's side at this major for the first time since 2014.


DOMINIC THIEM, WORLD'S NUMBER THREE TENNIS PLAYER: There's no Roger, Rafa, Novak but there is Daniil, Sasha and Pablo now.

They are three amazing players. I guess ever single one of us deserves this first major title. Everybody will give it all, that's what's on the mind.

And I think once we step on the court, the other three are forgotten anyway.


MANNO: A three-time runner up in Grand Slams, Thiem is going to have do everything well against Medvedev who despite having a rocky introduction to this major a year ago gave Rafael Nadal all he could handle in the 2019 final.


DANIIL MEDVEDEV, 2019 RUNNER UP: Experience plays a big role. And the fact that I was already one time in U.S. Open semi-final helps a lot. Same court, same conditions, no crowd.

And I think it will help me a little bit here.


MANNO: On the other side of the bracket, fifth seeded Alexander Zverev and number 20, Pablo Carreno Busta, these two have squared off only once with Zverev winning in straight sets.

Zverev is the favorite in this meeting though. It's worth pointing out that Busta has had an easier path to this point in the men's semi- final including meetings with two unseeded players, a wildcard, and also Novak Djokovic, before his early exit.

Either way, Pat, a new opportunity for each to win a Grand Slam title. Something that is normally reserved, as you know, for the Big Three.


SNELL: Thanks, Carolyn. Much more to come this Friday on WORLD SPORT.

We'll be right back. Stick around.


SNELL: Welcome back to you. To France now.

And the worst possible start to the new season for a severely depleted Paris Saint-Germain team who lost their opener to newly promoted Lens whose home stadium allowed some 5,000 fans in as part of an easing COVID-19 restrictions.

PSG deprived of several high-profile starters due to a number of players tested positive recently for coronavirus.

The only goal of the match coming early in the second half. Look at this. A right howler from the Parisian's young Polish keeper, Marcin Bulka, allowing the Cameroonian youngster Ignatius Ganago to take full advantage.

Lens with a 1-0 victory over the champions. Scenes of joy there for them.

Now I want to get a moment of history in Japan where 2011 women's World Cup winner, Yuki Nagasato, has agreed to join a men's football team in her homeland.

The 33-year-old will be teaming up with Hayabusa Eleven in a loan deal -- this is from the U.S. franchise, the Chicago Red Stars. In doing so, Nagasato becoming the first woman ever to play for that particular Japanese club.

Yuki saying she's been inspired by the stance taken by the American player, Megan Rapinoe, and her high profile fight for equality here in the U.S.

Well, it was late last month that the Norwegian world champion Magnus Carlsen won the richest and most watched chess event in history -- the legendary Carlsen an undisputed legend of the chess world. There's no other way to put it.

But there's another iconic name that really does come to mind when we're talking legends. That of Garry Kasparov.

So with that in mind, Carlson who's about to get busy again finding time though to talk with our own Don Riddell.


DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You've got a really exciting event coming up, which has been put on by the St. Louis Chess Club.


It's a star-studded field as well. Can you tell me a bit about that? Who's playing and what they're going to bring to the table?

MAGNUS CARLSEN, CURRENT WORLD CHESS CHAMPION: So what is happening is that we're playing so-called Chess 960 or "Fischer Random Chess."

Basically that just means the major pieces, meaning not the pawns there, are arranged randomly on the first rank in order to negate the sort of effect of opening theory.

There will be 10 players playing, all play all. And it includes basically all the best players in the world including former world champion Garry Kasparov whom I haven't played in a serious game since I was 13 years old. So that's going to be a pretty exciting.

RIDDELL: What are your most abiding memories of that time? As you say, you were so young when you played him last time. What sticks out, what do you remember?

CARLSEN: I remember two things most of all. First of all, that I was a bit disappointed that I could not beat him from a much better position.

And secondly that, in the other two games that we played back then I lost without much of a chance. So I finally has to have a chance for redemption now.

RIDDELL: How would you describe your rivalry with him, if we can even call it that?

CARLSEN: I wouldn't say there has been much of a direct rivalry with Garry since our playing careers basically haven't overlapped at all. So there will, I think be more of a rivalry in the sense of historical comparisons.

In those comparisons, I would say that he is certainly the greatest chess player of all time.

I just hope that when I'm done, my achievements can at least to some extent rival his.

RIDDELL: What would you have to do to be considered the greatest yourself?

CARLSEN: Ha. I would have to continue to be the best for probably ten more years. And win most of the tournaments that I compete in.

That would be a very good start.

RIDDELL: How motivated are you to do that?

CARLSEN: I'm mainly motivated to learn more. Just expand my knowledge of the game. And I feel like as long as I'm motivated to learn and to play then the results will come.

But it's never easy, of course.


SNELL: Fascinating chat. Don't forget, men's semis later on today at the U.S. Open.

But we leave you with a look ahead to another historic and milestone weekend on the Formula 1 calendar in Italy.

Here's our latest Rolex minute for you.