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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Climate Crisis On World Stage; Australia Begins To Reopen; CNN Report: Afghan Girls For Sale. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired November 01, 2021 - 17:00   ET


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Hello, and welcome. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF, on a day when the world's biggest crisis is in the spotlight. I'm Bianca

Nobilo live from London.

Tonight, climate crisis on the world stage. We look at the gap between rhetoric and reality.

Then, Australia's borders begin to reopen.


But why not all Aussies are able to get home just yet?

And CNN witnesses desperate Afghan parents selling daughters. That exclusive report ahead.

The resounding message from today's climate summit in Glasgow is that of urgency. The leaders of the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations,

and Germany among dozen dozens of others presenting, yes, a united front. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Glasgow must be the kickoff of a decade, a decade of ambition and innovation to preserve our shared


BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: It's one minute to midnight on that doomsday clock, and we need to about now.

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): That's my clear plea in the decade of action, in the decade we are living in now, to be

more ambitious nationally but to find instruments globally.

ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS: Either we stop it or it stops us. We are digging our own graves.


NOBILO: Encouraging words from each of those key voices, but what questions arise is what their words will ultimately lead to. Some leaders,

like Scotland's Nicholas sturgeon are calling out that gap between ambition and accountability.


NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER: I hope there's a bit of underplaying of expectations now in order to overperform over the course of

the summer. I'm not convinced that is what is actually happening. I think that there's a genuine gap between the rhetoric and the delivery.


NOBILO: Gaps like wise exist among different nation's ambitions. Leaders like Indian's Narendra Modi setting their sights considerably lower than

other major polluters.


NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): B 2070, India will achieve the target of net zero.


NOBILO: And that too raises a big question. Who will hold the world to account when the price of inaction is so very high?

Wolf Blitzer has been covering American politics for decades, and for President Biden and the rest of these leaders politics play a huge role in

the accountability we've been talking about. He's following the summit from Edinburgh, east of Glasgow.

Wolf, welcome to the program. Thanks so much for joining us.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Good to be with you, Bianca. Thanks very much and congratulations on the new show.

NOBILO: Thank you.

So let's start with that question of accountability. Two hundred of the world's leaders gathering, making pledges, but how can we ensure that they

stick to that word? Is President Biden going to be the one who can hold these leaders accountable?

BLITZER: Well, he's going to try as best as he can because these words that we're hearing here are really, really powerful words, and they're so

important especially at this critical time. But the problem is the whole world isn't here. And, obviously, Russia's leader is not here. China's

leader is not here. The Saudi leader is not here. There's questions about the Indian Prime Minister Modi, how committed is he.

The whole world needs to get behind these words and take direction action. It's one thing, Bianca, as you know, for all these leaders to be saying

wonderful things. It's another thing to be delivering and delivering with real deeds and delivering with lots and lots, billions and billions of

dollars that are going to be needed to get this going.

So, it's a huge, huge challenge, and there's no guarantee it's going to succeed.

NOBILO: And we're obviously not there yet when it comes to the promises, the money, or the action. And how far do you think that the pandemic has

stymied and stalled progress on climate change over the last two years?

BLITZER: I think it's been -- it's been so dominant in our thinking over the nearly two years that have gone by this pandemic, the Johns Hopkins

University in Baltimore just reported more than 5 million people around the world have been confirmed to have died from COVID-19, 5 million people.

And all of these countries, all of these governments, all of these leaders are right now still very much preoccupied trying to deal with.

And as we know, many of the wealthier nations the developed nations, 50, 60, 70 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, but in the poorer

countries in the world, maybe 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 percent. And the longer this goes on, the more likely there will be further mutations. Not just the

delta variant but others potentially even more dangerous.

This is a worldwide program, so it certainly is going to affect what's going on with climate change and all sorts of other issues as well.

NOBILO: And, Wolf, obviously, you observed politics keenly and have been to plenty of summits. What's your gut feeling? Do you think that this time,

leaders fully appreciate the urgency and that this is the moment they're going to rise to the occasion?

BLITZER: I think the leaders who are here in Scotland certainly do appreciate that. They fully understand that climate change is very, very

real. It's very dangerous. It's threatening not just their countries but indeed the entire planet, and they appreciate that.


But you've got to get the whole world on board. This is a global issue right now, and all of these leaders, they have domestic problems, political


President Biden who is here, he's facing all sorts of political problems back home. One of the pieces of legislation, it has more than $500 billion

to deal with climate change, but there's no guarantee it's going to pass the U.S. Senate.

And that's a big problem that we know from the president of the United States. He wants to deliver. He's doing his best, but there's no guarantee,

as I say, he will succeed.

NOBILO: Wolf Blitzer in Edinburgh, Scotland, thanks so much for being with us.

BLITZER: Thank you.

NOBILO: As Wolf were saying, this is a global issue and the world's richest countries are in the spotlight at this landmark summit. But perhaps

even more notable is the dire testimony from those leaders already dealing with the severe consequences of the climate crisis. Many of them represent

island nations, all too often sidelined at this level of diplomatic altitude, and it's those low lying countries who say their very existence

is on the line here.


IBRAHIM SOLIH, MALDIVES PRESIDENT: The Maldives is often cited as one of those low lying countries that could disappear off the map because of the

climate crisis. Our islands are slowly being inundated by the sea one by one. If we do not reverse this trend, the Maldives will cease to exist by

the end of the century.

WAVEL RAMKALAWAN, SEYCHELLES PRESIDENT: We are already gasping for survival. When I hear the expression rising sea level, I am scared because

it brings home the awareness that my country's Granitic Islands will lose all the economic activity happening around the coast.

MIA AMOR MOTTLEY, BARBADOS PRIME MINISTER: Two degrees, yes, is a death sentence for the people of Antigua, for the people of the Maldives, for the

people of Dominica and Fiji, for the people of Kenya and Mozambique, and yes, for the people of Samoa and Barbados. We do not want that dreaded

death sentence.

FRANK BAINIMARAMA, FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER: We Pacific nations have not traveled to the other end of the world to watch our future sacrificed at

the altar of appeasement of the world's worst emitters. The existence of our low lying neighbors is not on the negotiating table.


NOBILO: Queen Elizabeth II is not personally attending the climate summit, but she is urging world leaders to recognize that, quote, the time for

words has moved to the time for action. The queen addressed the summit participants in a recorded message challenging them to show bold



QUEEN ELIZABETH II: It has sometimes been observed that what leaders do for their people today is government and politics, but what they do for the

people of tomorrow, that is statesmanship. I, for one, hope that this conference will be one of those rare occasions where everyone will have the

chance to rise above the politics of the moment and achieve true statesmanship.


NOBILO: The climate crisis is a key issue for CNN as a whole network, and our team of correspondents are on a continuous mission to showcase as many

stories as we possibly can.

Here's a look at a few of our recent reports across the continent.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Because of its geography, St. Louis is known as the Venice of Africa, a

UNESCO heritage site once the capital of Senegal, now facing attrition due to the global climate emergency as erosion makes its toll on the historic

buildings and the people dwelling in them.

Fishing is a profession that spans generations here in St. Louis, but thousands of fishermen and their families have already been displaced by

global warming as rising sea levels have destroyed many houses here on the coastline.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two power stations near the Austrian city of Graz, the one on the left is retired, a

silent monument to the recent time when the country burned coal for some of its electricity. The neighboring, shiny, new gas fuel facility now does the


The upgrade is significant. Austria is one of only three countries in Europe to shut down all coal-fired plants. Replacing coal with natural gas

isn't carbon free, but it's a step in the right direction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The footprint of this power plant is much lower than this footprint.

BLACK: About 60 percent lower, but gas can only be an interim move if Austria is to achieve its green power ambitions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are on am ambitious path to increase the solar capacity connected to the grid by 8 gigawatt by 2030.


That will mean it delivers 50 percent of our energy and will be from clean and renewable sources.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Is that realistic that target?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely realistic, and definitely achievable. Our plans are already to be implemented.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the Hunter Valley, that sacrifice is clear. Famed wineries and pristine farmland

pockmarked by mega mines. Australia held out for as long as it could on a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, as its government takes that

pledge to Glasgow, it just approved three new coal mines including one here in the Hunter Valley. State fossil fuel subsidies run into the billions of

dollars each year.


NOBILO: You can access CNN's wealth of climate reporting online. Just head to for a closer look at all of our recent coverage.

Monday marks a momentous day for several countries in their fight against coronavirus. Israel, Thailand, and Australia are all easing travel

restrictions for the first time in a year and a half. Israel is welcoming back fully vaccinated travelers as well as those who have recovered from

the disease. Vaccinated tourists are also arriving in Thailand after that country expanded its risk of low risk nations.

Australia is also easing restrictions but with a big difference. Two of six states are reopening their international borders for citizens, but the rest

of the country remains closed off. Australia was one of the first countries to shut its borders to international travel in March of last year.

A few months later, it went further limiting the number of Australians who could return home from overseas, resulting in tens of thousands of citizens

locked out of their own country. This was all part of Australia's zero COVID strategy, but as we mentioned, two states have now shifted gears.

CNN's Angus Watson was at Sydney's International Airport today as the first rivals touched down and told us why the COVID strategy has changed.


ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: Bianca, it really is the delta variant of COVID-19 that's changed the game here in Australia as it has done for so

many other countries around the world, as outbreaks have raged in capital Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne as well this year, authorities have realized

that they're not going to be able to drive the numbers back down to zero as they had success in doing through 2020. Instead authorities were going to

have to rely on high vaccination rates to try to keep their populations safe and open up gradually in order to live with the virus.

Authorities are glad to see here in New South Wales vaccination rates pushing up towards 90 percent of adults fully vaccinated. That's the case

already in the Australian Capital Territory, Melbourne and Victoria, has its sights set on that as well. That's what has allowed Sydney and

Melbourne, Australia's two largest international gateways in terms of their airports to welcome Australians back overseas. Some 40,000 Australians

trapped by these strict border rules, this fortress Australia, which has capped the number of its own citizens, permanent residents and their

families that can return, and made them do 14 days in hotel quarantine on arrival.

That was celebrated -- the end of that was celebrated here in Sydney this morning with a raft of emotions, tears, joy, some people upset about how

they've been treated by their government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really mixed emotions to be back in Australia. I live in the U.S. And I'm just here now to attend my father's funeral. He passed

away last week. I've been trying to get back for the last couple of months to see my dad. I feel there's been a huge human cost being paid for a lot

of Australian citizens that live in other places or travel overseas.

WATSON: In a further relaxation of the strict border rules, Monday travelers outbound out of Australia no longer had to ask the government for

permission to do so before they leave. That's not the case with Australia's domestic borders however. There's a situation here in Australia where

states without COVID-19 that are still practicing COVID zero are closed off to the states that are trying to live with the virus.

So you have a situation in which somebody could fly from London to Sydney today and not be able to travel to Perth say as domestic boarders remain

close for quite some time -- Bianca.


NOBILO: Our thanks to Angus Watson for that report.

Let's take a look at the other key coronavirus stories make international impact today. We've been covering Eastern Europe's soaring coronavirus

cases extensively on this show, and Ukraine's problem with fake vaccine papers. Starting today in Kiev, residents will have to show proof of

vaccination or a negative test into public places, and employees must be vaccinated.

Hundreds of schools in England are now offering COVID vaccines to children age 12 to 15. Shots were made available for that age group at the end of

September, and health officials say more than 600,000 young people have been vaccinated since then.

Shanghai Disney land and its shopping district are now under lockdown. Someone infected with COVID-19 reportedly visited the resort this weekend.

Health officials are now carrying out an investigation. On Sunday, China reported 66 local cases across the country.

Next on THE GLOBAL BRIEF, in Afghanistan a child's joy can be all too fleeting.


COREN (voice-over): Her bright pink dress, squeals of laughter and childhood games, a ruse to the horrors unfolding in this unhospitable



NOBILO: CNN witnesses the desperation of poor families in the war-torn country and their unthinkable choices.

And a vicious data leak exposes very personal information from users of an LGBTQ dating app. More details ahead.


NOBILO: A distressing story out of Afghanistan is showing us the harsh reality of the humanitarian crisis engulfing the country. Desperate

families say they're being forced to sell their young daughters in order to survive.

In this exclusive, CNN witnesses the tragic fate of these helpless little girls. The parents gave us full access and permission to talk to the

children and show their faces because they say they cannot change the practice themselves.

Anna Coren reports.


COREN (voice-over): In this arid, desolate landscape, not a scrap of vegetation in sight lies a makeshift camp to some of Afghanistan's

internally displaced.

Among its residents, 9-year-old Parwana. Her bright pink dress, squeals of laughter and childhood games, a ruse to the horrors unfolding in this

unhospitable environment.

Parwana's family moved to this camp in Badghis province four years ago after his father lost his job. Humanitarian aid and menial work getting $3

a day providing the basic staples to survive. But since the Taliban takeover two and a half months ago, any money or assistance has dried up.

And with eight mouths to feed, Parwana's father is now doing the unthinkable.

I have no work, no money, no food. I have to sell my daughter, he says. I have no other choice.

Parwana who dreams of going to school and becoming a teacher applies makeup, a favorite pastime for little girls, but Parwana knows she is

preparing for what awaits her.

My father has sold me because we don't have bread, rice, and flour. He has sold me to an old man.

The white bearded man who claims he's 55 years old comes to collect her. He's bought Parwana for 200,000 Afghanis, just over 200 U.S. dollars.

Covered up, Parwana whimpers as her mother holds her.

This is your bride, please take care of her, says Parwana's father. Of course I will take care of her, replies the man. His large hands grab her

small frame. Parwana tries to pull away. As he carries her only bag of belongings, she again resists. Digging her heels into the dirt but it's

futile. The fate of this small, helpless child has been sealed.

Child marriage is nothing new in poor rural parts of Afghanistan, but human rights activists are reporting increasing cases because of the economic and

humanitarian crisis engulfing the country.

HEATHER BARR, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, WOMEN'S RIGHTS DIVISION, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: These are devastating decisions that no parent should ever have to

make, and it really speaks to what an extraordinary breakdown is happening in Afghanistan right now.

COREN: For months, the U.N. has been warning of a catastrophe as Afghanistan, a war ravaged aid dependent country, descends into a brutal


Billions of dollars in central bank assets were frozen after the Taliban swept to power in august. Banks are running out of money. Wages haven't

been paid for months while food prices soar.

According to the U.N., more than half the population doesn't know where their next meal is coming from, and more than 3 million children under the

age of 5 face acute malnutrition in the coming months.

GUTERRES: People of Afghanistan need a lifeline.

COREN: And while a billion dollars has been pledged by U.N. donors to help the Afghan people, less than half those funds have been received as the

international community holds off recognizing the Taliban government.

ISABELLE MOUSSARD CARLSEN, UNOCHA HEAD OF OFFICE: People of Afghanistan will be dying of hunger in the next couple of months and not just a few.

This is just making people more and more vulnerable, and we cannot accept that.

COREN: Sentiments shared by the Taliban.

MAWLAWI ABDUL HAI MOBASHER, TALIBAN DIRECTOR OF REFUGEES, GHOR PROVINCE (through translator): We are asking aid agencies to come back to

Afghanistan and help these poor people. Otherwise the crisis will worsen.

COREN: For this family in neighboring Ghor province, they are trying to sell two daughters, 9-year-old Litan and 4-year-old Zaiton for a thousand

U.S. dollars each. Do you know why they're selling you, the journalist ask Zaiton.

Because we are a poor family and don't have any food to eat, she says. Are you scared, he asks? Yes, I am.

Another family in Ghor province borrowed money from their 70-year-old neighbor. Now he's demanding it back, but they have nothing to give except

their 10-year-old daughter Magul. My daughter doesn't want to go and is crying all the time. I am so ashamed, he says. Terrified, she threatens to

take her life.

If they push me to marry the old man, I will kill myself. I don't want to leave my parents. Days later, she discovers the sale has been finalized.

Another Afghan child sold into a life of misery.

Anna Coren, CNN.


NOBILO: You're watching THE GLOBAL BRIEF on CNN. We'll be right back after this.



NOBILO: Cyber hackers have published deeply personal details of some members of the Israeli LGBTQ dating app, Atraf. We're talking names,

locations, chat content, and even HIV status. And the hackers say that accounts for just 1 percent of the data they've acquired. On Friday, the

black shadow hacker group said that it had hacked the service of cyber serve, an Israeli web hosting company with provides services to Atraf.

They leaked the first trove of data because cyber serve did not meet the initial demand, and the group is now demanding a $1 million ransom

threatening that they will publish more if it isn't paid. As you can imagine, it's made many feel extremely anxious. Israel's on the one hand

progressive and secular, hosting some of the world's most famous pride rallies, but it's also deeply religious. Not only is this a huge violation

of privacy, but the leak is of great concern for those who have not publicly disclosed their orientation or are part of a conservative

religious community.

New Zealanders have voted for their bird of the year, but the winner isn't a bird at all. It's a bat. Now, nobody mistook this long-tailed bat for a

bird, they're far too clever in those parts. Conservationists put the pekapeka-tou-roa, which is the size of a thumb, on the ballot because it's

one of New Zealand's only native land mammals. But it can fly, and it won overwhelmingly.

In the past, there's actually been some voter fraud reported. Last year, the organizers discovered some 1,500 phony ballots, but voting for

something like a bat is entirely new. And while the organizers seemed delighted with the outcome, the spokeswoman joked, "I think I'm going to

get fired."

So on that note, good night one and all and good morning to you bat lovers Down Under. We'll be back tomorrow on THE GLOBAL BRIEF.