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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Sudan's Prime Minister Resigns; Psychology Of Conspiracies; "Emily In Paris" Backlash. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired January 03, 2022 - 17:00   ET


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

Tonight, Sudan's prime minister resigns amid violent anti-coup protests. We'll look at what that means for the country's democratic transition.

Then, going viral. A deep dive into the psychology of conspiracy theories after a popular podcast featured an analogy likening COVID-19 vaccines to

mass psychosis.

And a popular Netflix show is under the spotlight for negative stereotypes, again. Why Emily won't be welcomed in Ukraine.

Now, hopes for a future democratic government in Sudan are hanging by a thread, as the country looks to be sliding back to the dark days of full

military dictatorship. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned on Sunday, ending a power-sharing agreement that never truly shared power at all.

He was the civilian face of a fragile alliance with the military meant to stir Sudan toward elections next year. Hamdok stepped down at the end of

another bloody day for pro-democracy protesters. Three were killed by security forces near Khartoum.

Hamdok's parting words were a dire warning.


ABDALLA HAMDOK, FORMER SUDANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Our country is going through a dangerous turning point that may threaten its

entirely survival if it's not urgently remedied. And in light of this Diaspora and conflicts with the political forces between all the components

of transition.


NOBILO: In a moment, we'll get more analysis on that resignation.

But first, I want to quickly reset how we got to this point. On April 11th, 2019, Sudan's military ousted longtime authoritarian President Omar al-

Bashir amid a popular uprising. A few months later, the pro-democracy movement and military signed a power-sharing agreement to oversee a

transition to a civilian government.

Fast forward to October 25 last year when the military staged a coup. Prime Minister Hamdok was ousted from power and temporarily put into house

arrest. Then, on the 21st of November, Prime Minister Hamdok signed a new power-sharing deal with the military, allowing him to return to office.

Some Sudanese had cautious hopes for that November agreement, while others thought it was a sham, accusing Hamdok of betrayal by giving the coup

leaders an air of legitimacy.

Nima Elbagir explains how the fragile deal unraveled.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, this has been a protracted process, but there's a sense that the final fig leaf

available to Sudan's military, the final pretense that they were moving to some kind of democratic transition has now been slipped. Sources close to

the former civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok tell CNN that the military repeatedly violated the basic principle upon which his agreement

with them was founded, the principle of non-interference in his choices of political appointees from cabinet level down.

Then, just a few days ago, in the waning hours of the old year, the military released a statement saying they were rebranding and reauthorizing

the notorious Sudanese intelligence service NISS as guests. It felt to many in Sudan that the military were pushing the country back towards

dictatorship, but in another name.

So for now, despite of international calls for mediation, the country seems to have reached an impasse, Bianca.


NOBILO: Nima Elbagir, thanks.

For the world's top five nuclear-armed nations, perhaps it couldn't have come at a more suitable time. The U.S., Russia, China, the U.K. and France

reaffirming their pledges to prevent a nuclear war at a time when Russia and NATO are loggerheads over Ukraine, U.S. and China are at odds over time

and difficult talks are underway to prevent Iran from making a nuclear bomb, the five countries have issued a joint statement that diplomacy, not

weaponry, is the way to resolve their differences. It says a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The nuclear weapons should serve

defensive purposes to deter aggression and prevent war, and the further spread of such weapons must be prevented.

But across the world, a mass casualty war of a different kind is being fought, the global battle against yet another wave of COVID-19. In Israel,

the queues for COVID tests now snake for miles. The government there and in Chili have just approved a fourth vaccination shot for vulnerable people.

Israel's prime minister predicts new cases could soon reach 50,000 a day, eventually infecting one quarter of all Israelis.


Indonesia will now offer booster shots to its entire population starting on January 12th, as it struggles against rapidly spreading omicron infections.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey are also seeing spiking COVID cases. Australia is setting new case records in four states and the capital. But

still, the government says it will push ahead with its reopening plans.

And across Western Europe, COVID is threatening the health system's ability to cope with it.

CNN's Cyril Vanier is in Paris.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As omicron continues its steady rise across Europe, France has reported record infections, with

daily tallies surpassing 200,000 in recent days.

Health Minister Olivier Veran told French radio on Monday, that figure in reality could be more than double, and about to heap further pressure on a

health system already under strain. The government focused on maintaining public services in the face of so many daily infections. Infected patients

who are fully vaccinated must isolate for seven days, but may leave after five days provided they have a negative COVID test. And no need to self-

isolate should a fully vaccinated person encounter someone with COVID.

And with schools reopening, rules have been relaxed. Children in France will be able to stay in school after a classmate tests positive for the

virus, provided they take three COVID tests in four days.

JEAN-MICHEL BLANQUER, FRENCH EDUCATION MINISTER (through translator): Children really are the priority in French society. So, we must keep the

schools open because school is not a small thing. It is not a minor thing. It is crucial for children. So I don't have any regrets opening the


VANIER: Likewise, British health authorities have urged all secondary school students to get a test before returning to school this week.

Boris Johnson told reporters Monday that pressure on the health services will be considerable over the next couple of weeks, as omicron cases surge.

Nonetheless, the way forward is to continue on the path we're on, he said, resisting calls to impose additional restrictions on large gatherings.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It will be absolute folly to say that this thing is all over now bar the shouting. We've got to remain

cautious. We've got to stick with plan "B, we've got to get boosted.

VANIER: In Ireland, 1 in 9 ICU staff are on leave with coronavirus, just as hospitals brace themselves for a sharp post-holiday rise in infected


Ireland recorded more COVID-19 cases during the period between Christmas and New Year's Day than all of 2020.

Also on Monday, travelers trapped on a cruise ship for days following positive tests among some passengers and crew were allowed to disembark in

Lisbon. The German operator pulling the plug on the trip en route to the island of Madera for New Year's Eve celebrations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Well, it's a risk we took. It's our risk, if you travel in these times, you have to expect it. That's why

we actually relaxed.

VANIER: Relaxed or not, as 2022 begins, European countries are firmly in the grip of a new reality. One very much shaped by the omicron variant.

Cyril Vanier, CNN, Paris.


NOBILO: Today, Hong Kong is one step closer to becoming a city without a free press. Citizen News, the largest remaining independent news outlet,

says it will shut down on Tuesday. It says the move is to keep staff safe, as the government targets news operations and arrests journalists under the

Beijing-backed national security law. Last week, officials raided Stand News which then closed its doors.

Journalists say the law makes their work impossible.


DAISY LI, CHIEF EDITOR, CITIZENS NEWS (through translator): What has changed is not us, but the environment. As the editor, nowadays, there are

things that I cannot make the decision for. I'm unsure whether a story, piece of news, or a sentence will violate a new regulation under the

changing news environment. If I can't confidently let my reporters continue to do what they are doing, then I should stop. As a leader, I'm responsible

for journalists after all.


NOBILO: Meanwhile, Hong Kong's new pro-China lawmakers took office Monday. It's known as the patriots-only legislature. And for the first time, they

were sworn in under China's national emblem, which replaced Hong Kong's insignia.

Let's take a look at the stories making international impact in the Middle East today. Houthi militia have seized a UEA-flagged cargo ship off of

Yemen, saying it contains military equipment and was engaged in, quote, hostile acts. The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels says the ship

was carrying medical supplies. It warns that it will use all necessary measures to secure the ship's release.

Iran says former U.S. President Donald Trump must face justice for the drone strike that killed General Qasem Soleimani two years ago. It's vowing

revenge if Trump and his former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo aren't put on trial. Trump ordered the assassination, saying Soleimani was planning an

imminent attack.

Turkey's annual inflation rate soared to a 19-year-high in December. Official data showed consumer prices jumped a staggering 36 percent

compared to a year ago. It comes amid a currency collapse in which the lira lost more than 40 percent against the U.S. dollar last year.

A U.S. court has unveiled a settlement agreement between convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre. And it could affect

Giuffre's civil suit against Prince Andrew. She says she was trafficked by Epstein who died in 2019 and forced to have sex with his friends,

including, she alleges, Prince Andrew. And she says the prince she was underage.

He strongly denies the allegations, and his legal team is working to have the lawsuit dismissed. The 2009 settlement between Epstein and Giuffre that

was made public today may or may not help their case.

CNN royal correspondent Max Foster is here to break it down for us.

Max, what did we learn from this, and whose case do you think it favors?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a document that Prince Andrew's team have been waiting on. It's that agreement you're referring to

and it is between Giuffre and Epstein.

In it, she says and agrees not to sue anyone connected to Epstein, it could be described as a potential defendant. She said she was paid at the time

$500,000 to sign up to this. This is interesting from Prince Andrew's side, because they believe this agreement could discount, throw out the case

currently being heard in New York. They say it's directly relatable.

However, Giuffre's team say it has nothing to do with the agreement, the case in New York. They point out that Prince Andrew isn't cited by name in

this agreement. And in a statement, the attorney for Giuffre, David Boies, says, as we said from the beginning, the release is irrelevant of the

statement to ms. Giuffre's claim against Prince Andrew.

The release does not mention Prince Andrew. He did not even know about it. He could not have been a potential defendant in the civil case about

Jeffrey Epstein.

So, this then goes to the court, the judge in the court, and the court will hear it tomorrow in New York. And, basically, all the debates around this,

it's pretty academic until the judge makes a ruling.

So, in theory, if Prince Andrew's team is correct, this case could get thrown out as of tomorrow in New York. If Giuffre's team is correct, then

it will be thrown, the agreement from the court effectively, and the case continues and will go to depositions and potentially a trial, Bianca, in


Prince Andrew, obviously, dismissing all of these allegations, denying all of the allegations that Giuffre has made.

NOBILO: Max Foster, we know that you'll keep us posted -- thanks so much.

The devastating fire at South Africa's parliament has flared up again, hours after firefighters declared it under control. Police have arrested a

man in connection with the blaze, which started early Sunday. There are no reports of injuries, but the complex housed some of the nation's most

cherished artifacts. The suspect will appear in court Tuesday on charges, including arson and house breaking.

Coming up, we're taking a deeper look into the doctor causing controversy, Robert Malone, and his comments comparing the COVID-19 vaccine to Nazi


And Ukraine's culture minister has filed a complaint against popular Netflix's "Emily in Paris." Why he thinks the betrayal of the character was

insulting, ahead.



NOBILO: A controversial comparison likening COVID-19 vaccines to mass psychosis has gone viral online. Dr. Robert Malone made the analogy on Joe

Rogan's podcast. Malone is an experienced American virologist, who's worked on the development of mRNA technology. He's been criticized for promoting

misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine and has recently been suspended on Twitter for repeatedly violating its COVID-19 misinformation policy.

Take a listen to what he had to say.


DR. ROBERT MALONE, AMERICAN VIROLOGIST: What the heck happened in Germany in the '20s and '30s? Very intelligent, highly educated population, and

they went barking mad. And how did that happened? The answer is mass formation psychosis.


NOBILO: Malone went on to explain that he thinks society has become hypnotized and decoupled. The concept of mass psychosis has been disputed

by scientists.

I'm joined by a professor Stephen Reicher. He teaches social psychology at the University of St. Andrews and his research is at the forefront of the

field of social identity and group behavior, and he's here to speak with us about the notion of mass psychosis and conspiracy theories more widely.

Stephen, it's great to have you on the show. Thank you for joining us.


NOBILO: Let's start with the idea of mass formation psychosis as Dr. Malone referred to it. I mean, the pandemic has been plagued with plenty of

intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals making wild claims. So, let's just unpack that.

What is mass psychosis, and is there evidence that it is important in terms of behavior in the pandemic?

REICHER: Well, there's a very long history of dismissing the views and behavior of those who you disagree with by claiming that they're mindless,

that they're mad, that they're psychotic. It goes back to the 19th century, the formation of what we call mass society theories where the elite was

afraid of the masses, and when the masses have different views about the running of the society of the elite, they were dismissed those being

psychotic, as not knowing what they were doing.

Those ideas were at the core of the formation of crowd psychology in the late 19th century, the ideas of the man called Gustave Le Bon, who did

indeed influence many including Goebbels and including Hitler.

However, by now, I mean, I've been studying crowd psychology for over 40 years. The notion that crowds or the masses are somehow psychotic, they

don't know what they're doing, it's just -- I mean, it's just plain wrong. It's a way of dismissing people's ideas rather than trying to understand

how they came to those ideas. So, it's not a scientific concept, and it's not much use in trying to explain the patterns of public behavior.

NOBILO: And speaking of, you know, ideas that some people dismissed, the entire -- the entirety of the last two years really has been consumed by

many debates over conspiracy theories which have impacted public health. I'm curious about your view with what you study about why people would

subscribe to conspiracy theories. What reward is it giving them in terms of social psychology to believe these things?

REICHER: Well, when people look at misinformation, when they're buying into misinformation, it's not surprising, they often think that it is a

matter of the information itself, of people not being able to process that information, perhaps people being too emotional, or not rational enough.

But actually, I think it's something rather different.

And that is when it comes to an issue like, say, vaccines, most of us are not vaccinologists.


We don't know the science in detail. We have different people telling us different things.

So the key question that we have to ask is, who can we trust? So, it's a social relationship to the source of information that is absolutely


When you look at the groups which are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, they are groups which have a more troubled relationship with

authority. They tend to be people who are more deprived, they tend to be people who are poorer, they tend to be ethnic minorities. Not because

they're stupid, but because they're emotional, not because they unable to deal with information, have a troubled relationship and trust with


So, to take the U.K., where a larger proportion of ethnic minorities are not vaccinated, it links to the fact that for many black people, their

experience of the system and the health care system included is that it's not there for them. So the critical issue, if you want to deal with

misinformation, is actually to rebuild relationships of trust, not to dismiss people as stupid, not to say they're psychotic, not to say they're

selfish, but to actually listen to them, to respect them and to answer their questions, to be transparent with the information.

So, it's a matter of rebuilding social relationships. And you don't achieve that by calling people mad, by dismissing them as psychotic, by saying

they're merely emotional.

NOBILO: Well, quite. I mean, the temperature of the rhetoric in terms of what both sides think of each other is extremely high.

And lastly to you, I wonder, generally, if you had a common enemy or a shared threat, you might think that would foster a sense of shared

identity. But there does seem to be such a deep polarization that the pandemic and the debate around vaccines, masks, personal liberty, et

cetera, has created, which I think is much stronger than other divides I've noticed in Britain and elsewhere over the last few years.

Why do you think that's occurred?

REICHER: Well, certainly, the pandemic has been politicized, politicized more in some countries than others. And so issues of masks, issues of

freedom, yes, they're powerful in Britain. They're far more powerful in the United States, where they've been politicized and tied in to Second

Amendment rights.

So, a lot of the time, this isn't about some inherent psychology and inherent problem with human information processing, it's more to do with

political psychology and the way that political groups have used the pandemic because when you look at most populist -- I'm sorry, most

conspiracy theories, they tie very much into that population notion that the establishment is out to get you, that vaccines aren't for your own

good, that vaccine are the establishment trying to control you.

So, that's why in places where you have more populism and where you have groups who buy into that notion of the establishment being against to,

they're more likely to buy into these beliefs. As I say, the answer for me is to rebuild trust. But as scientists, just to be transparent and open in

our data, for governments to treat people with respect and to treat their concerns with respect and not to dismiss their concerns and fears, but to

answer them openly, because the data is there to open them, and therefore we need to re-establish a dialogue by treating people who disagree with us,

not us idiots, but us people with very real questions which we need to be able to answer.

NOBILO: I could not agree more. Well, Professor Stephen Reicher, thanks so much for joining us. I wish we had more time. We'll talk to you soon.

REICHER: Thank you.


We'll be right back after this.



NOBILO: Netflix's "Emily in Paris" has come under criticism from a Ukrainian official.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait, we didn't pay!


Wait! Come back! We can't steal this stuff. We have to go back.


NOBILO: The country's culture minister has lambasted the show for what he calls the offensive portrayal of the Ukrainian character Petra. He went to

make this statement on his official Telegram Channel.

In "Emily in Paris", we have a caricature of a Ukrainian woman, which is unacceptable. On the other hand, it's also offensive. Will Ukrainians be

seen as such abroad? Who steal, want to get everything for free, be afraid of deportation? That should not be the case.

CNN'S chief media correspondent Brian Stelter joins us now with more.

Brian, honestly, my mother's family is from Eastern Europe, so why is freak out with, you know, stories like this. And honestly, when I watched it, I

burst out laughing. It's so ridiculous.

But do you think it is the worst of the litany of stereotypes that we've seen from the show? And also, Brian, I mean, do we think ministers around

the world are watching "Emily in Paris"? I think that's a story, too.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Maybe they are now. Well, this minister says he did watch season one. He liked it, but now, he had

some complaints. Remember, in season one, some depictions of France and the French people were criticized by viewers of Netflix's "Emily in Paris".

Now, season two, and you have Ukrainian officials upset. This I think speaks to the internationalization of television. Think about ten years

ago, some show premiered in the U.S. or the U.K., and it had anti-Ukrainian stereotypes. Nobody would hear about it. It would never make the news. It

would never become an issue.

But now, we live in a global media world, where a show on Netflix can be seen by every minister in every country, and they can all lodge their

complaints with Netflix. Think about all the biggest show in 2021 was. It was the South Korean drama "Squid Game".

So, if I were a minister in Ukraine, what I would be doing? I'd be lobbying Netflix to make more TV shows in my country. That is the future. That is

the new -- in fact, it's not the future. It's the present.

It's amazing that we now live in a world where everyone can watch the same show at the same time. And even complain about the performances or the

stereotypes of the characters.

NOBILO: And, Brian, are you watching "Emily in Paris"? Are you a fan?

STELTER: Well, I'm embarrassed, because I haven't watched yet. And now, it's like I have to catch up to find out what all the fuzz is about. You

said it made you laughed out loud because it was so ridiculous. So, maybe they need more writers in the writers' room.

NOBILO: Maybe, maybe.

Great to see you, Brian. Thanks so much for joining us.

STELTER: You too. Thanks.

NOBILO: Well, we're delighted to be back on your screens to navigate and turns of world news in 2022. Let's hope it's a brighter year for everyone.

See you tomorrow.