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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Russia & China Diplomacy; What Is Web 3.0?; Explorer Tara Roberts Dives Into Untold History Of Slave Shipwrecks. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired February 04, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Tonight, the flurry of diplomacy ramps up. Russia and China's presidents met for a one-on-one, and we're live in Beijing and Moscow.

Then, a marketing buzzword or the future of the Internet? We look at what exactly Web 3.0 is.

And diving with a purpose. "National Geographic" explorer Tara Roberts is on a quest to document slave ship wrecks. Our conversation, ahead.

We begin in Beijing, where two strongmen leaders are expressing strong opposition to the West.

Russia's Vladimir Putin met today with Xi Jinping. It was the Chinese president's first audience with a foreign leader since the COVID pandemic

began, in obvious references to the U.S., NATO, Ukraine and Taiwan. They criticized the West, vowing to support each other's security, sovereignty,

and territorial integrity.

That summit came even as the U.S. began following through on his plan to expand its forces in Eastern Europe. Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne

Division arrived in Poland on Friday, part of some 3,000 troops the U.S. is relocating. Meantime, French President Emmanuel Macron says he hopes to

cool the tension over Ukraine with a trip to Moscow next week.

He spoke by phone Friday with Mr. Putin and with Ukraine's president, too. Let's get some perspectives on today's developments.

CNN's David Culver has been following the summit from Beijing, and international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is in Moscow for us.

David, welcome to the show. Can you walk us through the last 24 hours where you are in terms of the summit and diplomacy that we're seen?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Bianca. Good to be with you.

Well, this meeting, it comes obviously as the Ukraine crisis and concerns over a Russian invasion, that remains tense. It was interesting to see

President Putin here very much at ease, taking in the opening ceremony alongside President Xi Jinping.

State media, though, saying that in their meeting before the opening ceremony, President Putin and President Xi, they vowed to deepen their

strategic coordination, adding that their relationship is going to have a far reaching impact -- and here's what's interesting -- on both China and

Russia and the world at large.

This is a broader message being put out. This is not only to the broader domestic audiences in both countries. That means supporting each other in

safeguarding sovereignty, security, and developing interest. This as both leaders have become increasingly assertive in what belongs to their

respective countries. We're seeing that play out at both Ukraine and Taiwan right now.

The two also not so subtly referring to the U.S. in vowing to respond to external interference and regional security threats jointly. We've seen

that phrase used many times, including in the cracking down on pro- democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The message has been reinforced here by the optics. Beijing is going to back the Kremlin. As for the diplomatic boycott, we have talked about. As

you know, it essentially means U.S. officials, as well as U.K., Canada, Australia, well, they're not here, but their athletes are here, including

Team USA. And a record number of 177 athletes -- that's roughly 80 percent, walked in the opening ceremony.

And our colleague, Beijing bureau chief Steven Jiang, he was inside the bird's nest for the ceremony. He reports that when Team USA entered the

stadium, the audience was quiet, not much cheering compared with when with Russian athletes walked in -- Bianca. So, there was a lot of cheer,

ecstatic joy it seemed for their neighbors partaking.

NOBILO: That is certainly an insightful piece of color.

And, Nic, could you bring us up to speed on Ukraine in terms of the military movements and diplomatic track?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, the diplomatic track looks like it's going to get energized again early next week.

Covertly, Russian troops still positioned to where they have been to the east of Ukraine, to the south building in the black sea and Crimea, and

also to the north, as military exercises in Belarus are getting closer to sort of getting their start date. So, the Russian troops and military

material sort of into place or getting into place for that now, finally.

So that buildup continues and concurrent with it, the threat. Now, the diplomatic pace is President Macron coming to Moscow Monday, expected

around the middle of the day, will meet face-to-face with President Putin.

Now, Elysee, President Macron's office in Paris, sounding quite, you know, hopeful that this is a potential start. They're quoting the Kremlin,

calling Macron a quality interlocutor. They're saying, of course, it's too much to expect that a lot of headway will be made and what they're planning

is to sort of a three point strategy here.

One is to get to a position where the authorities in Kyiv will talk to the separatists in Donbas, in the east of the country where Russia will draw

down its troops or at least sort of lessen the perception of tensions around Ukraine. And then a sort of a new security order in Europe with new

guarantees that can perhaps -- security guarantees that could also give the European Union, you know, stronger control over its own voice and influence

within NATO.

So what are the three hurdles when each of those three legislation of the conversation? One is the authorities don't want to speak directly to the

separatists in Donbas, getting Russia to deescalate, the tensions around Ukraine, if it's even possible so far, and, of course, those real new

security guarantees, that's been the stumbling block all along. And there's part in there for what Macron wants, which is a stronger role for the E.U.,

and on that, he may well find pushback as he tries to align his position with that of NATO partners, which he's said is very important -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Nic Robertson in Moscow and David Culver in Beijing, thank you both so much. I don't think either of you are getting much sleep, so we

appreciate your cogent and brilliant reporting. Have a good weekend.

And the Russian president is one of the small group of world leaders that's attending the Olympic Games. Here he is at the opening ceremony in Beijing.

Many Western countries including the U.S., U.K., and Australia, have declared a diplomatic boycott over China's human rights record. Others are

avoiding China's strict protocol, but still the games are going on.

We'll bring you more Olympic coverage on "World Sport" with Alex Thomas at the bottom of the hour.

The Pentagon is revealing what it's learned about the deadly attack on the Kabul Airport last August. Officials now say it was carried out by a single

suicide bomber, not a complex operation involving ISIS-K gunmen as they originally believed. At least 170 Afghan civilians and 13 U.S. service

members were killed. It happened as the U.S. and other countries conducted a chaotic evacuation after the Taliban took over.

The Pentagon says it's highly likely the attacker used the alternate route to the airport to avoid a Taliban checkpoint.

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

France is planning to start air mission in the United Arab Emirates to protect the country's air space. This comes after Houthi rebels in Yemen

launched a series of missile attacks on the UAE. Under this agreement, French fighter jets will help detect and intercept any threat targeting

Emirati airspace.

A fifth aide quit at 10 Downing Street amid the fallout from party-gate. Despite the ongoing scandal, a spokesperson for Boris Johnson says the U.K.

prime minster has not lost control of Downing Street. One of the Johnson's policy advisers is the latest to resign, adding pressure as more and more

letters of no confidence from conservative MPs trickle in.

After 600 days, schools in Delhi are now set to re-open. India's capital territory closed schools in March 2020 because of the pandemic. They re-

opened briefly later that year, but closed again shortly after due to high pollution levels and the pandemic's third wave.

A Moroccan rescue team is working to save a five-year-old boy who's trapped in a well. The boy has been trapped since falling into the 32-meter deep

well on Tuesday. six bulldozers working to extract the child and the rescue team are taking extra precautions to avoid the ground collapsing.

UNICEF is sounding the alarm about a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia, saying the worst drought in recent history there is pushing countless

families to the brink.

As Becky Anderson reports, the aid group says Ethiopia is facing a catastrophe that could be avoided if the world acts now.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what much of Ethiopia's lowland region looks like today, dried up streams, and millions

without food and water.

Three consecutive years of little to no rain have brought on severe drought in four main areas, and the impact has been devastating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We expect the solution to this drought only from Allah. The cattle have suffered, many have died, human

and cattle are suffering due to the drought.


ANDERSON: And it could get much worse. According to UNICEF, more than 6.8 million people will need urgent humanitarian assistance by midyear across

Ethiopia's drought affected areas.

GIANFRANCO ROTIGLIANO, UNICEF ETHIOPIA REPRESENTATIVE: The droughts are coming on regular basis in these areas nowadays. That was not the case

maybe 50 or 60 years ago, and it maybe, really, really bad situation that the famine situation.

ANDERSON: Gianfranco Rotigliano is UNICEF's man on the ground in Ethiopia. He says the organization urgently needs $31 million dollars to provide

water, food, nutrition, medication and educational support to drought affected areas.

ROTIGLIANO: The impact of children not going to school is so clear. I mean, we lose generations to take --these days. So resources are limited.

But they are now shifting all the resources they have to find the draft.

ANDERSON: Why Rotigliano mostly blames climate change for this disaster. That's clearly not the only factor here. In November 2020 fighting erupted

in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region. It's now spilled over into other parts of the country. Analysts say the conflict is exacerbating the drought

provoked crisis.

ABDULLAHI BORU HALAKHE, SENIOR OFFICER, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: Naturally, whatever concept to cause, people will stop doing all the

economic activities that you know would help them. And so therefore, conflict in the western region of Ethiopia has made drought in that area

very difficult.

And if the funding for this year or next year comes through humanitarian appeals, I think that is just a temporary fix.

ANDERSON: This is not the first time Ethiopia has experienced severe drought, shocking images of starving children in the 1980s laid bare the

horrific realities of the damage it can inflict. And while nobody wants to see that happen again, UNICEF fears it might.

ROTIGLIANO: --not step in yes, we may face that is a global issue and a global issue - international community has to tackle. And we are in the

frontline and we are facing catastrophes that should be avoided, but very consumed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have been displaced due to the drought. The drought forced us to drop out of school. Our teachers also

have left. Our cattle are all dead. But I want to continue my education.

ANDERSON: Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


NOBILO: A large oil spill off the coast of Peru is being called the country's worst disaster in recent memory. Now the timeline to clean it up

has been pushed back. Repsol, the Spanish energy firm that owns the refinery where the spill happened, says it will only finish cleanup efforts

in late March. It initially promised to finish in February. More than 10,000 barrels were dumped into the Pacific Ocean by the January 15 spill,

provoking anger and outrage from residents.


MIGUEL AGUIRRE, LOCAL RESIDENT (through translator): It's been nearly a month, and there's no news on damages and compensation for what this

company has caused in our district, in our ocean. Tourism is at rock bottom. Fishing and the ecosystem is completely ruined.


NOBILO: An executive in charge of the cleanup says Repsol has cleaned up about 30 percent of the spill. The company blames the spill in usual waves

cause by last month's volcanic eruption in Tonga. But the exact cause is still under investigation.

At the U.S. border with Mexico, authorities are testing robotic patrol dogs in hope of providing reinforcements for Border Guards. The American Civil

Liberties Union is calling this move a, quote, disaster, and urging Washington to cancel the program. The group says this could fuel anti-

immigrant sentiment.

Ghost Robotics is the company that developed these dogs and it's working with the Department of Homeland Security to test them at the border. The

department suggests the robots could be used to supplement border guards in one of the hottest areas of the country.

Last year, Border Patrol agents were accused of mistreating migrants and asylum seekers who are trying to enter the U.S.

Web 3 is coming. It's either totally crazy or the greatest thing since sliced bread, depending who you talk to. We'll look at why it's so

polarizing and what it is in the first place.




DAVID LETTERMAN, TV HOST: What about this internet thing? Do you know anything about that?


LETTERMAN: What the hell is that exactly?

GATES: Well, it's become a place where people are publishing information.


GATES: So everybody can have their own home page. Companies are there, the latest information. It's wild what's going on.


NOBILO: That was Bill Gates in 1995 on "The Late Show with David Letterman". The Internet has been nothing short of a revolution, and now

Web 3.0, also known as Web 3, could be on its way.

It's one of the hottest and most polarizing concepts now in Silicon Valley. So, what is it?

Let's start at the beginning. Web 1.0, arriving in the late '90s, it was the first stage of the World Wide Web. And it can be simply defined as just

read only. Meaning it wasn't interactive.

So, enter Web 2.0, which was read and write. User generated content, powerful search engines, social media, and even data clouds. It's changed

nearly every aspect of how we connect and communicate as a society.

Consequently, companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook hold enormous power. But a new version of the web, number 3, could give power back to us,

the users. How? By becoming read, write, and own.

Meaning users would be able to buy stakes in pieces of Internet technology that's behind major cryptocurrencies. And if we own, that means we have

more control. And we'd be able to interact with one another without a middleman like Facebook or Twitter.

So, you're looking at a much bigger disruption than Web 2.0, and that could lead the innovations especially in A.I. It could also make censorship and

surveillance almost impossible. So, as you imagine, there are red flags.

If networks become completely decentralized, digital assets could escape regulation. It could also open new crime and terrorism networks and even

create a wider vacuum for misinformation and hate speech.

So, is this really the future of the Internet or just a marketing buzzword like Elon Musk thinks?

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey claims that venture capitalists will be the ones pulling the strings instead of tech giants we have today. It will end

up being the same just with a different label.

But Google's Sundar Pichai who spoke publicly about it for the first time just a few days ago says his company is planning to contribute and

augmented reality is one of the big areas of the interest.

No matter what side you're on, there's a long way to go before Web 3 can see the light of day.

We'll be right back after this.



NOBILO: For hundreds of years, millions of people were traded as slaves between Africa, the Americas and Europe. Around 35,000 ships brought

approximately 12 million enslaved Africans across the Atlantic between the 16th and 19th centuries. That's according to the transatlantic slave trade

database. As many as 1,000 of those ships were wrecked before reaching their destination, with at least 1.8 million people dying en route.

Fast forward to the present, where an explorer with "National Geographic" decided to take a deep dive, quite literally, into these stories and the

memories of slaves who lost their lives at sea.

Tara Roberts joined a group of Black drivers for an epic journey at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, to bring back to light slave ship wrecks.

I'm pleased to say Tara Roberts, who will feature on the cover of the March issue of "National Geographic" magazine joins me now live from Atlanta.

Welcome to the program, Tara.

TARA ROBERTS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: Thank you so much. It's great to be here.

NOBILO: How did you find yourself on this path of searching for lost slave ships in the Atlantic Ocean?

ROBERTS: It was a complete accident. I happened upon a picture in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C., and it was

a picture of a group of black women on a boat in wet suits, and that picture just -- it captured my imagination, made me want to find out more.

And then I discovered that these women for a part of the group called "Diving with a Purpose" and their mission and purpose was to search for and

help document slave ship wrecks around the world, so it completely pulled me in.

NOBILO: And what challenges did you experience, mental or physical, when you're doing this diving and exploring?

ROBERTS: Well, so what we learned how to do is how to map a shipwreck. So once the wreck has been found, we go down and we draw what we see on the

ocean floor and trying to draw and artifact in the ocean while staying still is not an easy task.

Sea life likes to come and visit you and the currents can push you all over the ocean. So physically, that's -- it's a challenging task. But also

emotionally, seeing those artifacts, knowing what they're connected to, it's not easy.

But I have to say that I have come away feeling really triumphant and proud to be a part to help raise their stories from the bottom of ocean and back

into collective memory.

NOBILO: Well, I was going to say, this mission is retrieving evidence to document slave trade and uncovering individual stories of enslaved people

that are lost to history, but it's obviously so much more profound and significant than that, like a reclamation or recovery of another sort.

ROBERTS: Hmm. Yeah. I think that we are helping to fill the gaps in a history that is often treated as a footnote. The stories of the ships, the

stories of the divers, the stories of the communities that are connected to the ships, the stories of descendents.


It -- I started off only writing blog posts about my travels around the world and quickly realized that this is such a complex, nuanced, full story

and that it needed a lot more time, which is why we decided to do a six- part series, a six-part narrative podcast series about it.

NOBILO: And what's the journey been like for you personally, facing this dehumanizing history and then piecing the past together?

ROBERTS: It's so surprising that this has been -- it's been a transformative moment for me. Looking at this history, which was hard for

me, much of the stories that are told about Black folks in the past tends to really center inside of our pain and trauma, and so I was a little

afraid of that.

But what I found in facing this history and actually looking at the material evidence and holding it was, again, it was like a sense of pride

and a sense of connection to people who suddenly became human to me. And they weren't these statistics. They were actual people with full lives and

full stories.

And I ended up connecting to my own past as a result of this work and finding out some information about my own ancestors, which was amazing.

NOBILO: That must have been an incredible experience.

Tara Roberts, congratulations on all you've achieved and all the people whose stories you're bringing to light and helping people to remember in

the present day. I wish you the best of luck.

ROBERTS: Thank you so much.

NOBILO: Thank you all for watching THE GLOBLA BRIEF. We will see you again next week. If you miss us before then, you can check us out on all the

social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, any of the above. See you soon.