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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Europe's Record COVID Cases; Broken Asylum Seeker System; Good News From Around The Globe. Aired 6-6:30p ET

Aired November 05, 2021 - 18:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Hello, and welcome. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London.

Tonight, worst than ever before. Europe's COVID infections at an all-time high. Will countries learn from their past mistakes?

Then, a broken asylum seeker system. Most migrants are turned away before their cases are even heard. The strain that that causes, ahead.

And a handball uniform, an electric plane, and a cable under the sea -- your good news weekly wrap from around the world.

First, hospital wards across Europe are again filling with COVID-19 patients, most of whom are unvaccinated. The worst of it is hitting the

eastern European countries, where so many have resisted vaccination. As they fall ill, many are asking, why didn't I get the vaccine?


FLOREA TRAZNEA, 73-YEAR-OLD COVID PATIENT (through translator): My children are vaccinated. I have two grandchildren. But me and my wife

didn't because we're smarter. We're stupid, rather.

Look at what I'm going through since the disease caught on.


NOBILO: Romania's immunization director says trust, fear, religious views immunization directives said stressed, and religious feels, and not having

family around have left so many unvaccinated and vulnerable. One elderly patients lamented, COVID is terrible toll has weakened not just her body,

but her soul too.


STELIANA ENE, 77-YEAR-OLD COVID PATIENT (through translator): What was the point of the vaccine? Why not go and join my husband. I mourn him day and



NOBILO: Western Europe is feeling it too, with COVID levels soaring in Germany, Greece, Austria, Denmark, and many other countries ,as the colder

weather arrives, and people move indoors with fewer restrictions. The WHO's regional director darkly says, we are once again at the epicenter.

For those who have been vaccinated, the severity of the new illnesses is likely to have not been as bad as it would have been. That is what is

keeping hospitalization numbers lower in Western Europe, at least so far. But the sheer number of new infections is just staggering.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen shows us exactly where COVID is raging once again.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Europe, fully in the grip of another surge of COVID-19, as new cases, and

new hospitalizations spiral, leading to a dire warning from the World Health Organization.

HANS KLUGE, W.H.O. REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE & CENTRAL ASIA: We could see another million and a half from Europe, and central Asia, by the 1st of

February next year.

PLEITGEN: Five hundred thousand lives on the line as the continent is again declared the epicenter of the pandemic. Europe has registered more

than a 55 percent rise in new COVID 19 cases in the last 4 weeks alone. With the region is now home to more important infections that southeast

Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, western Pacific, and Africa combined, the WHO says.

The continent's largest economy, Germany, the latest company to break records for daily infections, reporting over 37,000 new cases in 24 hours.

New records for daily infections were also seen in Greece, Slovakia, Croatia, and Slovenia this week, serving as a dire warning for the rest of

the world.

DR. MICHAEL RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, W.H.O. HEALTH EMERGENCY PROGRAMME: We only have to look at the rollercoaster epidemiologic curve to know when

you are coming down the mountain you are usually about to go back up another one. The fact that Europe is climbing that mountain again should

really stand everyone up around the world, and have them say what are we going to do?

PLEITGEN: The biggest threat freezing the region, uneven vaccine uptake, the WHO says. Despite administering one billion doses, immunization rates

defer a lot between Western European states, and their former communist bloc neighbors to the east, where the WHO says a lack of trust is fueling

vaccine hesitancy.

In Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine, hospitalizations and deaths are surging. The percentage of the population fully vaccinated remains stubbornly low.

The World Health Organization is again calling on wealthier countries to share vaccine supplies. Some European countries are trying to vaccinate

their way out of this latest surge.

With Greece, and Germany announcing they will make booster shots available to their entire populations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Booster shots after 6 months should become the norm. Not the exception.


PLETIGEN: Bracing for a long winter, 23 countries in Europe and Central Asia have not tightened restrictions in the past two weeks. But as colder

weather descends, hospital beds fill up, Europe's leaders fear top mumps lie ahead.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


NOBILO: The rising wave is leading to new travel advisories. Even as the U.S. prepares to you open to foreign visitors, on Monday. The CDC is

cautioning Americans not to travel to Belgium, where cases have risen by 13 percent in the past week.

And Europe CDC has listed 9 countries across the country as areas of very high concern. The Europeans planning trips to the U.S. starting next week

will need to show proof they are vaccinated.

Ethiopia's prime minister is now facing what maybe has because challenge to power yet. A brand-new opposition coalition form today in Washington,

saying it will unseat Abiy Ahmed by negotiations, or by force. The coalition is made up of nine groups, some political, some aren't and

represents multiple regions and ethnicities.

The coalition says Abiy administration and its actions in the Tigray region are genocidal. Ethiopia's future needs to include equal representation of

all of its next ethnic groups. It is posing a direct political pressure to the government. Officials are playing it down. Claiming that is very

unpopular with most Ethiopians.

This caps a week of turmoil in Ethiopia, with rebel groups are marching closer to the capital. Uncertainty is building each day.

CNN correspondent, David McKenzie, tells us where the country stands tonight.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, Ethiopia is in the state of emergency right now, which means that adults Ethiopians can be conscripted

to fight. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had called on citizens to take up arms against two aligned luck rebel groups that have this week threatened the


In earlier comments, the government downplayed the threat on the capital to CNN. They say they are looking for a peaceful resolution. But this week,

the prime minister has called the country to dig in against the OLA and TDF. This now aligned group of rebels.

In Washington, D.C., representatives of opposition and armed groups banding together, saying they want to ask Abiy. It shows that the political space

for the embattled prime minister is narrowing. Despite the government saying this was a publicity stunt.

There are calls across the international community right now to end the conflict. The U.S. saying there needs to be an immediate cease fire. The

special envoy to the Horn of Africa is trying to push the side to de- escalate this dangerous situation -- Bianca.


NOBILO: David McKenzie for us there.

Let's take a look at the other key stories making international impact today.

Clashes between Iraqi security forces and Iran-backed militias turned deadly today in Baghdad. Officials say one person was killed, and 3 dozen

were hurt. Political parties aligned with these militias. They are rejecting the results of last month selection. They are urging more


Almost all the candidates in Chile's presidential elections are temporarily having to campaign online, even though the first round is just over 2 weeks

away. That is because one of the front runners, Gabriel Boric of the Social Convergence Party, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Diwali celebrations might be over, but New Delhi is dealing with hazardous levels of air pollution. Many people lit firecrackers, even though they

were banned, to mark the festival of lights. Now, some people are saying they are having trouble breathing.

Desperate people, strained E.U. resources, and the geopolitics of migration. The ongoing crisis is translating to razor wire on Lithuania's

border with Belarus. The E.U. is accusing Minsk of encouraging migrants to enter Lithuania Poland, and Latvia, by Belarusian territory.

Spain, meanwhile, is applauding police from several countries who helped to break up the people smuggling gang that crammed migrants into trucks.

Migrants are crossing the English Channel in droves to reach the United Kingdom. A record 20,000 this year.

But this of course is no numbers game. Many of these people and up on a deadly journey. The E.U. wrings its hands. Greece is vowing to investigate

accusations. It is pushing away migrants at sea.

CNN's Arwa Damon takes a closer look at this broken asylum system.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A dinghy is floating helplessly in the distant darkness.

The dinghy is right there. It looks like it's getting completely hammered by the waves.

The Turkish coast guard speeds out.


This is nothing new for the Turks. More like a routine whose intensity has varied over the years with the various waves of refugees and migrants

trying to reach European soil.

It looks like there are children on board.

As we approach we can see the waves battering and rolling over the sides of the flimsy boat.

Can you see that? They're bailing water out of the back.

The Turks were notified by the Greeks via fax of the dinghy's location. This is what happens on a regular basis. For more than a year now the Greek

coast guard has been pushing back those that try to reach its shores.

Greece continues to vehemently deny this blaming criminal gangs and human traffickers for trying to enter Europe. But the practice has been

extensively reported on by media and rights groups, and recently led to a call for an investigation by a senior E.U. official.

There are about 12 people who are just smooshed into that dinghy including that small child. I mean, how terrifying this all must have just been for


And how desperate they must have been to even try this, especially now when the chances of success are so much less than they were before. Much of it

is spurred by a rise in anti-refugee sentiment. Greece doesn't want them and ultimately neither does the rest of Europe.

Pushing people back out to sea would be a violation of international law. Even if these people had a legitimate case for asylum it most likely will

not be heard.

The family with the baby who was just 5 months old is Somali. Mohammed says the Greeks beat them and knocked him into the water.

We requested a response from Greece on this specific incident, provided the coordinates from the fax sent to the Turks but received no reply.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's take over the boat, over me in the sea.

DAMON: He worked construction in Somalia with a football player and district team manager. He says the terror group Al-Shabaab accused him of

working with the government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. I kill you. I had to leave Somali.

DAMON: Turkey is rescuing them out of the water but President Erdogan says Turkey will no longer be the dumping ground for migrants and refugees. Come

legally, the West, says but the system is slow, broken. And how are you to apply from a country where death threats are at your door?

Nawid Habibi was a military pilot in Afghanistan. The sea route was too expensive, too risky for his small children, and he was lucky perhaps in

that he had evidence to prove his legal case.

Around a year ago his friend, also a helicopter pilot, was shot by the Taliban in a targeted assassination.


DAMON: Nawid was also getting direct threats which just became a lot more terrifying. The family fled. He has all his documents, evidence of his work

with coalition forces. He also has a note stamped by the Taliban.

What does this say?

HABIBI: It says Afghanistan Islamic Republic of Emirates and Balkh, Balkh was in Mazar-i-Sharif. The Judgment Commission. It was judged for kill me.

So when we get you, we will definitely kill you. You or your member of you families.

DAMON: It is only now, now that the Taliban controls his entire country that he has hope for asylum in the U.S. America broadened its eligibility

requirements after Afghanistan was catapulted into the global spotlight.

It should not be this way. Whether it's America or Europe, the Western World is failing those in need. Forgotten conflicts, neglected populations

from Somalia to Yemen to Congo, Syria, Afghanistan. People will continue to be driven by the sliver of hope in something better and they deserve better

than this.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Balikesir, Turkey.


NOBILO: Just a short time ago a robust denial came from the Greek migration and asylum minister here on CNN. Notis Mitarachi commented on

that Arwa Damon report, saying the Greek coast guard does not push away refugees at sea. And to use his words, there will be an investigation.

Still to come tonight, we will take you to Colombia to meet the indigenous communities willing to risk their lives to protect the environment.

And the former director of MI-5, calls this a very serious and damaging moment for the British parliament. Why? We'll tell you after this.


NOBILO: Young people have been putting their foot down in Glasgow today, demanding action on climate change. The youth and public engagement day at

COP26, thousands took to the streets and protest.

To the 16-year-old Hannah McInnes, it could not be a more critical time for them to voice their anger.


HANNAH MCINNES, 16-YEAR-OLD PROTESTER: This is the best opportunity for making a difference, and this is the most universally devastating problem



NOBILO: But are these young people impressed about what they have seen so far from leaders at the COP26 summit?

Renowned climate activist Greta Thunberg certainly doesn't think so.


GRETA THUNBERG, TEEN CLIMATE ACTIVIST: This is no longer the climate conference. This is now a global north greenwashing festival. A 2 week long

celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah.


NOBILO: The march today was organized by Fridays for Future Scotland, a group inspired by Greta's activism.

Young indigenous activists have been front and center of this climate battle, but many of their older generations are fighting their own fights

for the environment. Deep in the reserves of Colombia, indigenous communities are determined to protect their lands, lands that drug

traffickers are desperate to use for themselves.

Our reporter Stefano Pozzebon has this story.


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST (voice-over): The Indigenous Guards in the reservation of Tacueyo in Colombia's North Cauca region installing a

checkpoint to control their territory. Armed with only sticks and machetes, they are the first line in defense of the environment. It's a dangerous

deadly job.

Because of their activism, their leader, Nora Taquinas has received multiple threats from organized crime groups and guerrillas who are trying

to penetrate the reservation.

Today, we're following her and Indigenous Guards on a patrol.

This color represents the Indigenous Guard. These two colors represent greenies nature, which is what they're defending. And red is the blood of

the comrades by fallen in the past.

The guerrillas don't control Taquinas's reservation, but graffiti in the closest town show who's in charge. Former rebels who rejected the Landmark

Peace Accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, and who holds sway over the lucrative

production of cocaine.

The indigenous fight is in defense of water sources along the Cordillera mountain range at over 10,000 feet above sea level. The top of the mountain

is a strategic location for drug trafficking groups who use it for smuggling routes, or shelter in the fight against the state.


Security forces are rarely seen here. The Indigenous Guards are often the only institution denouncing and standing up to the traffickers.

The ground itself feel like a giant sponge here, full of water, and this water is what gives water to the rivers of Columbia.

NORA TAQUINAS, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENDER (through translator): If there was no water here, Columbia would be a desert. There'll be no life in the


POZZEBON: Taquinas' fight for the environment mixes with social issues for our indigenous community. She oversees projects of sustainable development

of water sources, like this fish farm to create jobs and prevent more people from joining the guerillas. This puts Taquinas in direct conflict

with the criminal groups.

In 2018, her name was added to a list of Tacueyo's leaders with a bounty on their head from one of the largest paramilitary groups in Colombia. Now the

single mother of two lives under protection, but still hasn't left from line.

TAQUINAS (through translator): Some people when they see this amount of nature see profit and money. With that point of view, the environmentalist

becomes an enemy.

POZZEBON: According to the international NGO Global Witness, last year, 65 environmental leaders were murdered in Colombia, the world's most dangerous

country to be a defender.

The office of U.N. Human Commissioner for Human Rights have reported recently that 69 indigenous leaders were killed in the country between 2016

and 2020.

Global Witness says the majority of the victims were killed by crime cartels, with interests in drugs, logging and illegal mining. International

organizations and Colombia's partners like the U.S. have urged the state to offer further protection to leaders like Taquinas, something President Ivan

Duque pledged resolutely.

IVAN DUQUE, COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT: And you can have the assurance from my administration that not only we have strengthened the legal system to be

tougher on environmental crimes but also on dismantling this type of organization.

POZZEBON: But the numbers tell a different story. Violence is on the rise in the countryside, with over 75 massacres reported this year so far.

Most of the indigenous guards in this group told us they have been either threatened or approached for recruiting. And in 2019, an attack by the

guerrillas left 5 of them killed.

Taquinas' latest project is a school to train the next generation of environmental leaders.

I am fine if my time on this earth will be cut short," she says. But I want to be sure, there is someone to take up the fight.

Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Tacueyo.


NOBILO: The tradition of fireworks and bonfires (INAUDIBLE) comes from an incendiary low point in British politics. A time of suspicion and anger,

sentiments expressed in parliament and the media in Britain this week. Tory sleaze was plastered over the newspapers. The Johnson government accused by

corruption, and even behaving like a Russian oligarchy.

The prime minister's party members were instructed to vote against the suspension of a fellow conservative MP. Owen Patterson was in trouble for

quite egregious breach of law being rules, but instead of disciplining him, Johnson's party tried to rewrite the rules. Cue, backlash, and another U-

turn. As the government ditched that plan, Patterson then resigned, even MPs within Johnson's own party weren't happy.


NIGEL MILLS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Well, I thought the government were, you know, completely mishandling the process here, how we enforce the

standard rules where members of (INAUDIBLE) I think is extremely important to maintaining public confidence, to mean integrity of our politics. And

you can't try and change the rules of the system once you got a verdict announced that you don't like. And the way they are linking the two issues

I think was unacceptable. And the process they were proposing (INAUDIBLE) government control committee that, you know, replaced the findings with one

with independent members, independent team (INAUDIBLE) I just thought it was really unacceptable.

It was never going to work. It could never command trust party support within the house or command public support outside. It was a wrong thing to

do at the wrong time and in the wrong way.


NOBILO: This incident is just the latest contributing to an erosion of public trust in politicians. An MP was expelled from the labor party this

week after threatening to throw acid at her partner's female friend.

The prime minister has been investigated by the standards of authority 3 times and 3 years, more than any other MP.

One of the early actions of the Johnson government was to prorogued parliament unlawful. And just recently, it was criticized for awarding

pandemic contracts to companies with connections to the conservative party.

There's no surprise then that a review conducted by the former head of MI-5 has just concluded the British public think ministers and MPs have poor

ethical standards, and require more regulations for the behavior.


This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF. We'll be right back after this.


NOBILO: Now, we want to end this week with a better good news because my mother asked me to.

First, the astonishing success of the HPV vaccine. British researchers say their study shows the shortcut cervical cancer rates among women by 87

percent. Fantastic.

And score one for woman speech handball players. The International Handball Federation is now allowing female athletes to wear less revealing attire

during competitions. Like shorts, and tank tops, instead of bikini, bottoms and crop tops. It came after the Norwegian team or the more modest garb at

a match, partly to show that the old rules were sexist.

In England, a tiny village in Devon is setting off an energy revolution. For undersea cables, carrying electricity generated entirely by solar and

wind power from Morocco to England are in the works. That is expected to power 7 million homes in the UK by 2030.

And uplifting story, this electric plane has flown across New Zealand's Cook Strait, which separates the north and south islands. Electric Air did

it to mark COP26, this week's climate summit in Glasgow. The company says it's the longest flight over water so far, by an electric plane.

And with that dose of good news, it is now time for the weekend. You can catch me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok. And if you're not in any

of those, I'm also available by Owl, or Telegram. Good night.