Return to Transcripts main page

The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

CNN Inside Belarus; Tunisia's #MeToo Movement; Weekly Good News Wrap. Aired 5:30-6p ET

Aired November 12, 2021 - 17:30   ET


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

Tonight, CNN is on the ground of both sides of the Belarusian and Polish border where the human toll of the migrant crisis is worsening by the hour.

Then, #EnaZeda. We take a look at Tunisia's Me Too movement following the sentencing of a lawmaker there.

And a dinosaur and a bouncy castle. The weekly wrap up of good news is also coming.

Right now at the European Union's doorstep, people are dying from cold and hunger, with no end to their plight in sight. As the situation on the

border between Poland and Belarus deteriorates further, health authorities in Belarus say an Iraqi woman has lost her unborn child near the border.

That child joins a growing list of casualties in a standoff between the two countries. Belarusian officials say there are 2,000 people camping there

and that's expected to double in days.

The wider regional stability is also at stake. Russian and Belarusian paratroopers held trills near the Polish border. Authorities there accused

Belarusian counterparts of using lasers to try to blind them. Belarus denies that.

The U.K. army has also deployed a team to help the Poles strengthen their border, a move Amnesty International has called a shocking disregard for

human life.

One solution gaining traction is to prevent the migrants from reaching to border in the first place. Belarusian airline Belavia has banned Syrians,

Yemenis and Iraqis from flying from Turkey to Belarus.

It's the middle of the night at the Poland Belarus border. Temperatures are closed to freezing and it's only going to get colder.

CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is the only international journalist with migrants on the Belarusian side. Here's his

exclusive report.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the desperate, trapped on the front line of Europe's latest refugee

crisis. We've gained exclusive access to the burgeoning camp at the Polish border in Belarus.

Help, help, this little boy shouts.


But there's barely enough here to keep everyone alive.

Already, people have died in the cold as polish forces stand guard on the other side.

You can see how close we are, just across this razor wire fence are Polish security forces on polish territory keeping a close eye on the situation,

trying to prevent refugees, migrants from this camp here in Belarusian territory from crossing over that line. You see there are thousands of

people here.

Two thousand now say Belarusian officials, but with migrants still flooding in from the Middle East and Asia, it could be 5,000, they told CNN, in just

another week. For Europe, that's a threat.

Sit down.

You're warming your children's gloves here.


CHANCE: Most have already paid big money to traffickers or Belarusian travel agents just to get this far.

You're telling me you've paid $2,000, which is a lot of money, right, to come from Iraqi Kurdistan to here.


CHANCE: Do you think you'll go through? Do you think you'll go to Germany?


CHANCE: You do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are. We are. Our people want to go to the Germany.

CHANCE: Yes, but do you think it will happen? You'll try?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll try. We don't want to stay in Poland.

CHANCE: The more migrants arrive, the more desperate their plight. We witness these refugees frantically scrambling for firewood, essential

supplies as temperatures here drop. With Belarusian aid workers arriving with food and water, the scenes are even more --

GIRL: I'm hungry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know, I know. I hope you get some food.

CHANCE: You can see these are pretty extraordinary scenes. You've got Belarusian military forces essentially trying to push back the crowd of

migrants that's gathered around this distribution of aid. They're just giving out bottle of -- plastic bottles of water, but the people here are

so desperate for any kind of nutrition, any kind of food, water, shelter.

Look, they're being asked to kneel down in front of the Belarusian security forces. And when they kneel down, look, some of them are being allowed to

go through. Who's this?


CHANCE: Hello, Aji. Are you good? You speak English, too?

Shohan (ph) and her 4-year-old son traveled to Belarus from Iraqi Kurdistan to help her child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We came here for my son. He need an operation.

CHANCE: He needs a operation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, big operation in the back.

CHANCE: Oh, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He can't walk without this --

CHANCE: Oh, I see, he's got this splint on his leg.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, he can't walk without this shoes.

CHANCE: Why didn't you do this operation in Kurdistan?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because not very good. Maybe he fail, the operation fail, and we need to go to Germany. Everyone -- the doctor told me that the

operation in Germany very good.

CHANCE: But now, Germany looks a long way off. With Belarus and the West blaming each other for this crisis, it's these people stuck in the middle

who are paying the price.


NOBILO: Matthew Chance there reporting exclusively from the Belarusian said of the border.

As we've heard, polish authorities have been accused of pushing back the migrants. Those few that do get through can find some kindness. A fire

station opened its doors to them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I believe it has a very deep, symbolic dimension, because it shows that this place is friendly for

migrants, that this place and the people who live here want to help. They are kind and able to show it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Here all the organizations, volunteers, and activists can get supplied with everything they need. For

example, food packages, which they give directly to refugees. Paramedics get supplied with, for example, single use items. We have sleeping bags,

sleeping mats.


NOBILO: Let's now focus on the response of the Polish authorities to this crisis.

Our Fred Pleitgen is at the Polish side of the border. Looking at how the government is defending their response.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, Poland certainly has said it's not going to be backing down despite some of the

criticism it's been getting from international organizations. Now, what essentially what Poland has done is beefed up the presence at the border

with around 15,000 soldiers and also border officials as well.


And then of course built that massive barbed wire fence and said it wants to build a wall as well.

Now, one of the things that's led to a lot of criticism is apparently what's been doing is of course some people who are trying to get across

here into the E.U. have actually made it across the boarder and they've apparently been pushed back by Polish border guards and in some cases by

the military as well.

Now, of course, internationally, that's a big problem with the universal declaration of human rights and United Nations Article 14 states people who

enter the territory of the nation have to be able to claim asylum there.

Now, the polls have not denied this is going on. They've made a law making it legal to push people back, and of course there has been big criticism of

that internationally from Human Rights Watch. But actually today, the spokesman for the Polish foreign ministry came out and said Poland, he

believes, has a right to defend the boarder and also has a right to say who gets in and doesn't get into the country.

So the criticism is there. Right now, other countries of the European Union are doing more to support Poland rather than utter that criticism --



NOBILO: Fred Pleitgen, thank you.

The U.K. is also facing some difficult decisions regarding migrants, and that's in part due to Brexit. The U.K. says 1,000 entered the country

through a channel on Thursday alone. That's reportedly the most ever in one single day.

Under the E.U.'s Dublin agreement, asylum seekers can be returned to the E.U. country they entered from, but that no longer applies to Britain so

it's considering a new law to make it difficult for migrants arriving by water to seek asylum. A home office spokesperson told CNN, quote, the

British public have had must have inform of seeing people die in the channel while ruthless criminal gangs profit from their misery.

It's not clear how the law might conflict with other international rules on the rights of asylum seeker.

A military court in Myanmar has sentenced an American journalist to 11 years in prison.

Danny Fenster was detained just months after the military staged a coup in February.

Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong with the details.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Authorities in Myanmar detained the American journalist, Danny Fenster, back in May as he

was trying to fly out of the country intercepting him at Yangon Airport and he's been behind bars ever since.

But we've since learned of from his defense attorney that in a closed court session at Yangon's notorious Insein prison that he was sentenced to 11

years behind bars for three charges, breaching his visa, unlawful association with an illegal group, and incitement essentially spreading

fake news.

And his life could get much, much worse, because he is also facing two additional charges under Myanmar's counterterrorism law and for essentially

distributing commentary that hurts the reputation of the Myanmar military, which has gone a long way to destroy its own reputation since mounting a

coup on February 1st, sweeping a civilian elected government from power and putting those officials behind bars, cracking down on peaceful protests

open -- opening fire on them with deadly results and, of course, rounding up civil society activists and journalists like Danny Fenster, who was the

managing editor of the English language website, Frontier. Myanmar.

Back in May, his parents spoke to CNN's Brian Stelter. Take a listen.


BUDDY FENSTER, FATHER OF JAILED JOURNALIST: Their efforts to squelch journalism and get the word out is -- it's just -- it just kills. It kills

life and it kills freedom. It kills truth. And I think that there -- they just need to let him go immediately. He has not committed any crime there.

ROSE FENSTER, MOTHER OF JAILED JOURNALIST: It's a total nightmare. It's a total feeling of no control. It's heart-wrenching. It's just -- excuse me,

I'm sorry. It's just not something you want anybody to go to. It goes through any parent, anybody that cares about anybody, these are human

lives, and these are people, not just numbers, and I just want my son home no matter what it takes.


WATSON: Fenster is, of course, one of scores of journalists who've been arrested with human rights organizations saying that in this environment in

Myanmar, it's basically a crime to commit the act of journalism. Take a listen.


MANNY MAUNG, RESEARCHER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: There's virtually no press freedom.


At least eight independent outlets have been banned or have been classed as terrorists. We've also seen at least 95 journalists jailed since February 1

and this is -- these are statistics from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.


WATSON: Fenster's defense attorney says that the American journalist has lost weight during his months behind bars. Meanwhile, many journalists that

CNN has been in touch with in Myanmar have either gone into hiding or trying to flee the country seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


NOBILO: It's what Britney Spears has been fighting so long for. Her conservatorship is now officially over. A judge in Los Angeles just ruled

to end the court-ordered arrangement which started back in the 2008. It had two parts, one that handled her estate, her finances and, another that

controlled her person or wellbeing.

That meant she couldn't make her own business or medical decisions for 13 years. Spears had one conservator for each and one used too be her father.

He had been suspended by court ruling back in September. Now, Spears' attorney says a safety net will be in place for her finances and her

personal care.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is outside the courthouse in Los Angeles where the hearing just wrapped up.

Stephanie, what more can you tell us about this decision and also how the Britney Spears camp and, of course, free Britney movement are reacting?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, you probably hear it behind me. Right now I can barely see over my shoulder that the lawyer for

Britney spears, Mathew Rosengart is addressing her fans on a makeshift stage they put up in the middle of the road outside of the courthouse here

in Los Angeles.

Obviously, when this news broke she did get free of her conservatorship, there was a lot of cheering, celebrating. You saw people in tears, hugging.

There was pink confetti going off. There were performers singing her songs.

This was expected that this would be the day that the conservatorship would come to an end. That's because in September, we were here when a judge,

Brenda Penny, went ahead and removed Jamie Spears, Britney's father, as her conservator. So, this is what we've heard here -- Mathew Rosengart, who's

speaking now, and this is what he said in court, the time has come today to end the conservatorship.

He went on to thank the judge. He said a safety net is going to be put in place for Britney's money, for her finances and also for her care. There

were no objections. It's noteworthy the say, there was no one speaking up for Britney's mother or father who felt the need to say this should not

happen here today.

So there are some technicalities that need to be happening, that will happen now. There's two more court dates but those are going to be about

technical things, about making sure her assets go to the right place. She has an estimated $60 million estate. And so, this is going to put in


But really, truly, effective today, Britney spears before she turns 40 next month is now in charge of her own life. She can make her own decisions

beginning today, something she has not been able to do for the majority of her adult life, Bianca.

NOBILO: Thanks, Stephanie. It is obviously great news. We can see the reaction behind you.

What more do we know about what the repercussions of this conservatorship might be? Because, obviously, we've seen recent reports of surveillance

potentially by Britney Spears' father, potentially misdiagnosing her or giving her certain medications.

There are quite a lot of things out there. So, what happens next to ensure that justice iks done for the conservatorship that has just ended today?

ELAM: So, this is the thing. If you remember back to September, that was when Jamie Spears was remove as the conservator.

At the time before that hearing, he actually said he wanted to conservatorship to go away completely in response to the two very emotional

testimonies we heard from Britney Spears over the summer, in court where she felt like it was conservatorship abuse, she wanted her father charged.

She said she felt like she was forced to perform, forced to be on birth control. All of this really serious allegations.

Well, now, that he was remove as conservator, it now means that because somebody else took control, the conservatorship, that all of the

documentation has to be turned over. And so, Mathew Rosengart, Britney's lawyer, has made it clear he plans to go in and go after Jamie Spears to

see if there was anything that was done inappropriately. Filming inside her house without knowledge, recording inside her house, all of that. They're

looking to see if there was misappropriation of funds.

All of that is what Mathew Rosengart said he was going to look at with his team to make sure that Britney gets full justice in the situation.


Now, if they had just terminated the conservatorship in September, that would not have happened, but because he was removed and it did continue,

even for this small technicality, that means he could be investigated on that part by this other team -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Stephanie -- Stephanie Elam, thanks so much for breaking that down for us. We appreciate it.

Still to come on the program, Tunisia's Me Too movement leads to a conviction, but there's still so much work to be done. We take a look at

the uphill battle for justice against sex crimes in the region.



NOBILO: #metoo, undoubtedly you heard the phrase. A global social media movement raising awareness about sexual abuse and harassment.

But have you heard about the #EnaZeda, that means me too in the Tunisian Arabic dialect. The hashtag has been gaining momentum in recent months,

with thousands of harrowing stories shared online by Tunisian women.

One woman writing, quote: I was young when I was harassed and it was by a teacher I loved and valued. No one stood with me, not even my family. My

mom would tell me I allow it to happen.

Meanwhile, another woman said, one day I had severe chest pain. I rushed to a doctor. He pulled out his stethoscope to hear my heartbeat. As he

examined me, he slowly placed his hand on my chest and then forcibly groped me. He mocked me and told me where he thought I was experiencing pain. I

screamed at him and told him he had no right to touch me like that. He responded by saying he what he was doing. I ran out of the office and never

told anyone about what happened because I was too ashamed.

CNN can't independently confirmed these accounts of harassments, but the thousand of stories online capture a collective trauma over an issue still

very much taboo in the country and region. The hashtag was created in 2019 after a schoolgirl's picture was posted of an MP who was photographed

allegedly performing a sexual act in a car outside a high school.

Zouhari Makhlouf was charged with sexual harassment and public indecency, which he denies. Today, he was sentenced to one year in jail, the first

Tunisian lawmaker to be sentence over an #EnaZeda allegation.

A crowd of women gathered outside the courthouse with #EnaZeda signs, one reading, my dress does not mean yes. Tunisia passed the law in 2014

outlawing all forms of violence against women, from physical, to economic to psychological.

There's still a devastatingly low number of crimes reported. According to a report from 2017, in 97 percent of sexual harassment cases in Tunisia, the

victim doesn't file an official complaint.


Sexual assault and harassment, as we mentioned, is still a very taboo topic in the Middle East. However, this week, there have been key developments in

the region.

In Egypt, state media reports that three men have been convicted for raping a woman in a resort in 2015. One was sentenced to 15 years in prison with

two sentenced to life in absentia. All three defendants were being investigated for another gang rape case known as the Fairmont Hotel case.

That one has been temporarily closed to the outrage of human rights organizations.

Meanwhile, a Lebanese priest Mansour Labaky was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a French court. He was convicted of the rape and sexual assault

of three children. Lawyers say he has dozens more victims of all ages in France alone, and they fear there are more in Lebanon where he currently

walks free. Since Lebanon has no extradition treaty with France, it's unlikely he'll be sent there.

Let's take a lack at the coronavirus stories making international impact today. Europe is dealing with a new wave of infections that is leading to

at least one new lockdown. The Netherlands reported 15,000 new infections in a day. It's imposing a partial lockdown, ordering shops and restaurants

to close early and barring fans from sporting events.

Austria is expected to introduce a nationwide lockdown for those who are unvaccinated. The worst areas are going ahead with the measures on Monday.

About 65 percent of Austria's population is fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in Western Europe.

Officials in Russia are blaming low vaccination rates for a surge in cases there, too. The country on Friday recorded more than 1,200 deaths. That's

just shy of a record high for the number of lives lost to the virus in a single day.

Cuba is getting ready to re-open its borders to tourist on Monday after 20 months of pandemic restrictions. All travelers must be fully vaccinated or

show proof of a negative COVID test. Dissidents in Cuba are planning political protests on the same day international visitors return.

Now, the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow has gone into overtime. Friday was supposed to be the final day, but there are still stark differences on the

latest draft of an agreement aimed at limiting global warming. It has an unprecedented call for a reduction in fossil fuels and an end to, quote,

inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

However, that language was watered down from an earlier draft, and is expected to be weakened even further before the 197 countries agree to sign

on. Negotiations are now expected to extend well into the weekend.

India is among the countries pushing back on efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. CNN's Vedika Sud went to a coal fired plant near New Delhi to

tell us why one of the world's biggest polluters is so resistant to change.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Bianca, at COP26, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will achieve net zero carbon by the year 2070,

while some developed nations pledge the same by the year 2050.

Now, India cannot wean off its dependence on coal any time soon, and here's why. A couple of facts and figures for you. India is not only the second

largest producer of coal after China, but the second largest consumer of the dirty fossil fuel. Also, 70 percent of India's energy comes from coal.

Now, according to India's prime minster, by the year 2030, India's energy needs -- at least 50 percent of India's energy will come from renewables.

But to put millions of people out poverty, energy is crucial and hence the dependence on more sustainable energy as well as conservative energy in the

coming years by India.

According to India's environment minister, and it was a very strong statement he made at COP26 and before, he visited Glasgow for the summit.

He said that the historical blame for climate change lies with developed countries and climate finance should come from these developed countries

for developing countries like India.

But the fact remains -- India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases and on days like today, where the air quality is so poor in Delhi and

neighboring areas, the need to transition to alternate energy cannot come sooner -- Bianca.


NOBILO: Vedika Sud for us, thank you.

You're watching THE GLOBAL BRIEF. We'll be right back after this.



NOBILO: You enjoyed it last week, so we're doing it again. Here are some happy stories to close out the week.

Well, good things come in small packages, and this is the smallest yet -- Curtis Means weighed 420 grams, being born at 22 weeks. Despite the odds of

survival against him, Curtis is now a 16-month-old child, and he's very healthy. He's been certified by Guinness World Records as the most

premature child to survive.

And speaking of miracles, scientists have developed a novel therapy that promotes spinal cord recovery in mice. Further studies and clinical trials,

the hope is the therapy could be used to reverse paralysis in humans after major trauma like car accidents and diseases.

Now, how about a bouncy castle that pulls in CO2 through the limitless energy of children and fun loving adults. A bounce fest is a bounce fest

here as you can see is a bouncy castle that can channel CO2 into algae chambers, creating biomass that can create planet friendly plastic material

for manufacturing.

Now, sink your teeth into this -- the Isle of Wight just off the south coast of England is home to the discovery of the big nose species of

dinosaur. Thankfully, the Brighstoneus simmondsi was an herbivore but did reach up to eight meters in length and weighed a massive 900 kilograms.

Retired Dr. Jeremy Lockwood made the discovery, saying it was one of the happiest days of lockdown. And I relate because I also discovered a

dinosaur bone on the Isle of Wight. Here it is. It's a toe, an excuse to bring it up.

That concludes our happy news and our show and tell portion of this evening. We love being with you this week. Join us again on Monday. Good-