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The Brief with Bianca Nobilo
South Korea: Religious Group Linked To Surge In Virus Cases; "Me Too" Founder Hopes Weinstein Trial Is Cathartic For Accusers; Senator Bernie Sanders Looking To Build On Front-Runner Status In South Carolina; Coronavirus Is Taking A Toll In Economy; Pioneering NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson Dies At 101. Aired 5-5:30p ET
Aired February 24, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on THE BRIEF. Is a surge in coronavirus cases outside China is causing markets to plummet. Just how big
is the economic impact? Harvey Weinstein is behind bars after being found guilty of third-degree rape. And Bernie Sanders is riding momentum into
South Carolina. So can his rivals slow him down?
Live from London, I'm Cyril Vanier welcome to the show. As the coronavirus epidemic increases its spread outside China, global stock markets are
taking a beating. Markets in Europe and Asia suffered losses throughout the day, all of them closing down.
The DOW plummeted Monday, closing down more than 1,000 points. That is erasing all gains from 2020 after many hot spots keep popping up in Asia
and beyond now. In South Korea, the number of cases now tops 800. At least seven people there have died. Italy has more than 200 infections most of
them in northern regions and they also have at least seven deaths.
And the virus is spreading in the Middle East. Iran's government has confirmed 61 cases and 12 deaths. But one lawmaker says there are likely
dozens more total numbers across the world, nearly 80,000 cases globally and more than 2,600 deaths most of them in Mainland China.
Still, the World Health Organization says it is too soon to call it a pandemic. The outbreak in South Korea is the largest cluster of infections
outside China. The hardest hit area is the Southern City of Daigu and it is mostly related to one religious group. Paula Hancocks explains how in this
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A member of the religious group for 11 years. The group at the heart of South Korea's spiking coronavirus cases.
He says it was the International Affairs Director and interpreter for its Founder and Chairman Lee Man-Hee. His mother-in-law was Lee's partner.
He says the nature of the group makes it easier for a virus to spread. He says friends from within the group told him they were banned from wearing
masks as it is disrespectful to God.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUHYEN KIM, FORMER DIRECTOR, SHINCHEONJI INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: They are packed together like sardines in one area. They were forced to sit line in
line. Literally your knees would be touching the other person's knee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: Missing services because of illness was not an option he says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM: You talk roll call. You are given a card, like a little credit card. And the way you go to Church, you have to swipe it like you are going to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: The group itself says it deeply regrets the outbreak but insists they are cooperating with authorities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON KIM, SPOKESPERSON, SCHINCHEONJI GROUP: We are sincerely urging everyone to recognize that the Shincheonji Church and it is devotees are
the biggest victims of the coronavirus and refrain from hate and groundless attacks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: But Daigu police says 600 officers have been tasked with tracking down hundreds of missing members, knocking on doors, tracking phone calls,
scouring CCTV footage to track members' movements.
Kim says members from around the world may have been in South Korea twice in recent weeks, once for an annual gathering like this one from a few
years ago, and the funeral of the leader's brother from January 31st to February 2nd in a hospital in Cheongdo. Numerous coronavirus infections and
deaths have since been reported at the same hospital.
HANCOCKS: This is not just a career issue.
KIM: This is not just a Korean issue because since those people from overseas all gathered together at once, what happens is we don't know how
many of those people who went back overseas are infected as well.
HANCOCKS: Shcincheonji claims it has 230,000 members with bases in the United States, China, South Africa, and Germany to name a few. Professor
Tark Ji-il has been studying the group for many years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TARK JI-IL, PROFESSOR OF TECHNOLOGY, BUSHAN PRESBYTERIAN UNIVERSITY: Shcincheonji people hide who they are. And then to recruit the people they
go into the Church and try to recruit Christian.
(END VIEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: All branches of the Shcincheonji group have been closed here in South Korea and they're being disinfected to try and stem this spread of
the virus. The President Moon Jae-in said that this is a move not to restrict religious freedom but to save lives. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
VANIER: Outside of Asia, Italy now has the largest cluster of coronavirus with 229 confirmed cases and 7 deaths. Authorities have quarantined more
than 100,000 people in two northern regions. But their number one priority is finding Italy's patient zero. CNN's Melissa Bell joins us from Venice.
Melissa, do authorities feel that the emergency measures they have put in place are actually working?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, for the time being, they have been deemed necessary. And, again Cyril, they are trying to strike that very
delicate balance between making sure that they prevent the spread of this virus in a country and part of the world that so far hasn't had to deal
with this epidemic without sowing the seeds of panic any more than they need to.
Now here in Venice, we have seen the carnival cut short. Schools in the region are closed. A number of events have been canceled. And then there
are those towns and villages that are on lockdown.
What they have had to do to ensure that people respect the quarantine is put in place measures that mean that if you try and leave or come in where
you're not allowed to you could face jail sentences.
And this is a real test for a country like Italy, trying to make sure that it keeps the virus contained as much as it can without getting in the way
of people's freedoms and without instilling the sense of panic.
In fact even as those quarantines have been put in place the Italian authorities have insisted that because they have been put in place, people
are still able to come and go from Italy. But that could change over the coming days.
Because as you say Cyril, until that patient zero is found there are so many questions remain, about how the virus got here? Why it spread so
quickly since the end of last week? And how far it has spread so far?
229 confirmed cases. But we can expect Cyril that will continue to rise with all the neighboring countries given the European borders here in the
European Union keeping a very close eye on what's happening in here in Italy, Cyril.
VANIER: Melissa Bell reporting live on the ground in Italy. Thank you, Melissa. And the coronavirus has also spread through the Middle East with
Afghanistan, Israel, Iraq and Iran all reporting new confirmed cases.
Now, of those, Iran has been by far the hardest hit. The official death toll stands at 12. Some reports say it might be as high as 50. Officials in
Iran say international sanctions have stopped them from buying much needed test kits to prevent these deaths.
Both Afghanistan and Iraq have closed their borders with Iran in response to the spike. In about 10 minutes, we will dive deeper into the economic
impact of this whole thing of the coronavirus outbreak with CNN Economic Commentator Catherine Rampell.
Now Harvey Weinstein, formerly one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, is behind bars in New York's notorious Rikers Island prison. On Monday a
jury found Weinstein guilty of committing a criminal sex act and third- degree rape.
He now faces at least five years in prison. Supporters of the "#MeToo" and "Times Up" movements say the verdict marks a new era of justice for sexual
assault victims. The jury reached the verdict Monday after more than 26 hours of deliberation.
Weinstein was acquitted on the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault. Weinstein's sentencing is set for March 11th. Weinstein's
publicist says that he is in the process of filing an appeal over the two guilty verdicts. CNN's Brynn Gingras joins me now from New York. Brynn,
tell us what these convictions mean?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, it depends who you're asking, right? If you're asking there are more than 80 women who have since
this "#MeToo" movement come out and accused Harvey Weinstein of unwanted sexual acts, this is major redemption.
This is what they were waiting to hear, a guilty verdict. But also likely they are enjoying it is a fact that Harvey Weinstein now has an inmate
number. He has been booked as you say Cyril in Rikers Island. And I will mention we're not quite sure where in Rikers Island if he's being kept
alone, if he is in general population.
The Departments of Corrections here in New York doesn't give that information. However it is important to note that his defense attorneys
really did fight for him to be in an infirmary citing his back pain and other medical issues.
So that is unclear where he will be until that March sentencing. However, yes, this was big here in New York City and really just it reverberated all
across the world the fact that he was found guilty on two of the charges.
Both against those two women who came forward and had to testify sometimes over hour's emotional tragic testimony that they had to give in front of
those jurors. But again as you also mentioned, the fact that he was acquitted on the more serious charges that he faced notably, the predatory
sex acts which did carried a life in prison or the possibility of life in prison.
And so this is not really a win or a loss necessarily for either side. However, we do know from Harvey Weinstein's Defense Attorney, that he's
disappointed. And as you said they do plan to appeal.
VANIER: Brynn Gingras, thank you for your reporting. The trial of Harvey Weinstein was at the forefront of the "#me too" and "Times Up" movement,
holding powerful men accountable for sexual harassment and assault. Last week the woman who founded the "#MeToo" campaign spoke with Bianca Nobilo
about how she views the Weinstein case. Listen to Tarana Burke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TARANA BRUKE, FOUNDER OF #METOO CAMPAIGN: Interesting because so many people think that this trial, the whole movement rests on this trial. And I
know some of the survivors, some of the women who came forward about Harvey Weinstein I have gotten to know the last two years. And I know for them
it's been really difficult to watch this.
BURKE: And so I think of it through their eyes and how them thinking about you know the stories that they came forward to tell being ripped apart and
torn to shreds and having to retell and over and over these nightmarish things that happened.
So you know I watch it thinking I hope for them that there is some cathartic in this in seeing the person who made your life miserable, who
tried to ruin your life really at least have to be accountable for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: A lawyer for one of the women in the Weinstein case says the guilty verdict shows the victims will not be silenced. Gloria Allred says today it
marks an age of empowerment of women and you cannot intimidate them anymore. Actress Ashley Judd who accused Weinstein of sexual harassment
credited the women at the center of the case.
Judd posted this on Twitter, writing for the women who testified in this case and walked through traumatic hell, you did a public service to girls
and women everywhere. Thank you.
The U.S. and India may be having some trade tensions, but that isn't stopping Donald Trump from having a good time, a very good time in India.
He was welcomed at a rousing stadium that was dubbed "Namaste Trump". He praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi while calling him a very tough
In the coming hours he will down to business talking about trade and signing a $3 billion military deal. Mr. Trump hinted a trade deal could
happen down the road. Earlier CNN's Kaitlan Collins talked about what we can expect.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Cyril, one of the things that was talked about leading up to this trip, this very short trip
of the President was the sign that maybe they would potentially sign some kind of an introductory trade deal early phases.
No one was really expecting anything comprehensive to come out of this meeting. But the President hinted that we are not going to get something
like that, saying they still are in the early phases of working out some kind of trade deal.
Because we know this comes after several years of just these two sides not seeing eye-to-eye. It is not as severe as the U.S. fight with China over
trade has been. That has really been the focus of the President. But it's getting up there.
The President and India, simply even though you see these very chummy rallies that the two of them have, do not see eye-to-eye on trade. That's
why you have seen these retaliatory measures going back and forth where the U.S. install these steel and aluminum tariffs that hurt India.
India is retaliated by levying tariffs on medical devices things of that nature. So the question really is what they could come to out of this. And
it seems like they are saying, hey, we got through this introductory phase because they wanted to have some kind of progress here.
But it does not appear that they are going to get anything further anything they really involved crossing your Ts, dotting your eyes while the
President is here. Though they have still do have one more day where they are expected to have a few more meetings a banquet and of course the
President is going to have a press conference in a joint statement with Prime Minister Modi.
So maybe potentially they will announce something there. Though the sources that we have been speaking with say they feel like it is pretty unlikely
they're going to get anything more than that at this point Cyril.
VANIER: Kaitlan Collins reporting there. Democrats battling for the chance to replace Donald Trump are kicking off a critical week. Senator Bernie
Sanders is surging after his blockbuster win in Nevada. Now he is looking to build on his front-runner status in a state long considered to be Joe
The Former Vice President is counting on South Carolina's primary on Saturday to keep his campaign alive. He and other candidates are trying to
slow Sanders' momentum before the Super Tuesday primaries next week.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny is live in Charleston, South Carolina where tonight's CNN Town Halls will be held with, among others, Bernie Sanders. So, Jeff,
Sanders has a ton of momentum heading into South Carolina. At what point does he become unstoppable?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Cyril that is a question both in math and in politics. And Bernie Sanders definitely has the wind at
his back coming into this South Carolina Primary. But it is a critical eight days between now and Super Tuesday contest next week when 14 states
here in the U.S. and the American Samoa will weigh in.
That has about 30 percent of the overall delegates. So at that point, Senator Sanders, if he was to continue this lead, at that point he might be
unstoppable, at least in terms of mathematics. It doesn't mean in terms of politics.
So the question here is can Joe Biden slow his rise of Bernie Sanders here in the South Carolina Primary and can the other moderate candidates, if you
will, either, you know attack Bernie Sanders and slow his rise or perhaps drop out of the race and get behind Joe Biden or Mike Bloomberg.
So those are some of the calculations going on right now. Even though this is early in the contest, only 3 percent of delegates have been picked.
Senator Sanders is on a roll. That's how these things kind of move. You know they just go with momentum there in his movement.
So there is concern among Democratic candidates. But at this point, the next eight days are critical. That's why Bernie Sanders is going to be
front and center under so many attacks from his rivals here this week Cyril.
VANIER: All right. Jeff, thank you very much. In just a few hours, CNN will have special coverage of Town Halls with Bernie Sanders as we said, with
Pete Buttigieg, with Tom Steyer as well the first at 9:00 pm eastern standard time that is 10:00 am Tuesday if you're in Hong Kong.
Still ahead on the show, a different kind of carnival mask in Italy. coronavirus is curbing activities and grinding some industries to a halt.
We will look at its ripple effect on economies around the world when we come back.
VANIER: Cars, smart phones, even wedding dresses. These are just some of the items affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Production is disrupted,
travel is curbed. In hard Italy for instance are money live streamed it show from Milan Fashion Week from an empty theater.
The DOW and other markets around the world are taking a big hit.
Now the question is could this be enough to tip economies into recession. Catherine Rampell is an Economic Commentator and an Opinion Columnist at
"The Washington Post", Catherine. The markets have gone down. Business world is impacted in all kinds of ways. How worried should we be?
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMIC COMMENTATOR: It is a little bit too soon to say is what how I would characterize this. There are a number of channels
through which the coronavirus could have a major economic impact in addition of course to the public health impact that we have already seen.
One has to do with supply chains. So China by itself is a major supplier to much of the world. China now represents double digit percentage of global
GDP. Retailers, manufacturers and other s along supply chains throughout the world depend on China for the goods that they sell to consumers or the
goods that go into the goods that they sell to consumers.
You also have concerns about tourism, right? If we have travel restrictions both within China as well as in places like Italy and places like the
United States that hurts hotels, that hurts airlines. And then finally the last major channel that I would mention as to do with commodities.
So if you have factories that are shutdown within China or elsewhere around the world for that matter. You could imagine that there is less demand for
energy for oil, things like that. So through those three mechanisms, there are great risks to the global economy and to some economies more than
others, of course.
But until we get a handle on how quickly this virus will spread and whether in fact, warming weather will cause the outbreak to die down somewhat, it's
a little bit hard to get your hands around just how big the magnitude of the effect will be.
VANIER: Are there parts of the economy that are isolated from this, that are not feeling the impact?
RAMPELL: Well, certainly any set of services, for example, that is not touched by tourism unlikely to have a major effect. But even so, if you are
in sort of a hot spot, or close to a hot spot or even if there's enough of a shock to confidence that people start worrying about going outside or
spending money, that could kind of have its own economic contagion effect in addition to the literal health related, germ related contagion effect.
So I wouldn't say that any particular area is completely off-limits. But there are some parts of the economy both in the United States and around
the world that are a little bit more insulated from the risk than others.
VANIER: So one of the things that markets do of course is they look at risk, I mean as the big thing that they do main thing I should say. They
look at risk and they see what could happen and what they have to insulate themselves against. What is the worst-case scenario here?
RAMPELL: The worst-case scenario, I mean, I don't want to fear monger. But of course if you do have some sort of--
VANIER: Hold on. Just to make it clear, the reason I asked the question is because when markets erase all the gains since the beginning of the year,
it means that over the weekend, you know, a critical mass of traders have thought, uh-oh we have got to consider worst-case scenario here.
RAMPELL: Right. And up until now, it looked like traders - if they hadn't exactly been brushing off the risk, they had been operating on the
assumption that it was very contained, that it wasn't going to spread much beyond China and parts of East Asia where we had already seen a lot of
people get sick and many of them pass away.
So certainly something has changed within the last few days that made markets believe that they were under pricing the risk. What that is, is a
hard to see at that moment? Of course we have had a quarantine in Italy, which I think maybe made people a little more worried that Europe could be
of greater risk, particularly if the lockdown within Italy gets spread a little bit further and you start to see some sort of contagion effect or at
least some sort of lockdown because of risks of contagion for German carmakers for example elsewhere in Europe.
So things like that could have made those fears a little bit more salient. You could imagine that the revised numbers for how many people had actually
gotten sick those revisions had come out a few times over the past week or so.
Those have also gotten markets more worried than they had been in the past and then the way that public officials have been responding to the risks.
Both the health risks and the economic risks related to this outbreak could also be worrying markets.
And we have seen a few different examples, including just those revisions for the number of sick people.
RAMPELL: Those may have actually made people a little bit less confident in the ability of government officials, public officials, public health
advocates to be able to keep this thing contained.
VANIER: Absolutely. I think that was one of the major factors factoring into this over the weekend. When countries say one thing and then two days
later, you realize they were wrong. That shakes the confidence in how well they are handling this. Catherine Rampell, thank you so much for joining us
and for addressing those questions.
RAMPELL: Thank you.
VANIER: A carnival parade in Central Germany took a terrifying turn when a car plowed into the crowd. Police say at least 30 people were hurt,
including small children. They say it was deliberate. And a 29-year-old man is in custody. Authorities still don't know a motive, but they are not
ruling out that it was an attack.
When THE BRIEF returns, we will look at life of Katherine Johnson made famous in the film "Hidden Figures". The mathematician who overcame
segregation and sexism to help men land of man on the move that is next.
VANIER: As Megastar Beyonce right there performing her hit "XO" on Monday to open a memorial for late NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old
daughter Gianna. About 20,000 filled at the Los Angeles Staples Center, including Bryant's family, including friends, fans.
They heard personal stories from entertainers, sports legends and wife Vanessa Bryant remembered him as a devoted husband and father. Kobe and
Gianna Bryant died last month in a helicopter crash that also took the lives of seven other people. The two were laid to rest earlier this month
near the family's Church in Corona Del Mar in California.
An African-American woman who helped change the trajectory of space exploration has died at the age of 101. Katherine Johnson was a little
known mathematician who worked at NASA during at time when people were segregated by race and limited by gender.
In the days before high-tech computers, she was the computer, calculating equations by hand. Among her many milestones, she determined the trajectory
for the 1969 "Apollo 11Mission" that first put humans on the moon. For decades, her work went unrecognized. And then in 2015 she was awarded the
Presidential Medal of Freedom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Katherine G. Johnson refused to be limited by society's expectations of her gender and race while expanding the boundaries of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Johnson's story went global after the book "Hidden Figures" was turned into a film.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think you can find me that for a frame for this data.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With algorithm yes, sir. I prefer it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: U.S. officials and lawmakers are remembering her as an American hero and an inspiration to women of color. But in life, Johnson stayed
humble saying, "We always worked as a team. It's never just one person". And that is THE BRIEF for today. I'm Cyril Vanier. "WORLD SPORT" is up