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Biden, Xi Spoke Thursday As Relationship Remains Tense; Two Dangerous Storms Threaten Parts Of Asia; China's Crackdown Renews Debate On Gaming Addiction. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired September 10, 2021 - 02:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hello, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company.

Coming up here on "CNN Newsroom," a CNN exclusive, mangled bodies washing ashore in Ethiopia's Tigray region, evidence of torture and execution in what marks a new chapter of ethnic cleansing in the embattled country.

Plus, concerns arising about the new Taliban government in Afghanistan, and if it can rule, was so many differing views and ideology amongst them?

And U.S. President Joe Biden slams pandemic, politics and the unvaccinated, unveiling a mandate requiring all government workers to get fully immunized or be fired.

Welcome, everyone. A CNN investigation has uncovered evidence of the torture, mass detention and execution of residents in a town of Humera in Ethiopia's Tigray region. For almost a year now, conflict has raged in Ethiopia's Tigray region. And now, bodies are turning up once more, carry down river into neighboring Sudan.

For much of the conflict, the United States, the United Nations and the international community have failed to hold high level Ethiopian officials to account for their role in atrocities committed in the region.

Now, CNN's findings point to a renewed campaign of ethnic cleansing, one which bears all the hallmarks of genocide, as defined by international law. Now, we must warn you that Nima Elbagir's investigation contains graphic and disturbing imagery.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the Setit River, a source of life for the people living along its banks. For weeks, the river has been bringing with it dark secrets from the Ethiopian region of Tigray. Mangled corpses are mysteriously appearing here downstream in Sudan.

(On camera): We just got a call that three bodies were found down at the river front. So we are running down to see what we can see.

(Voice-over): Gerri rushes down ahead of us. He is Tigrayan but has been living here for years. He's a key point of contact for Tigrayans driven to Sudan by the conflict. Fishermen usually spot them first and call Gerri.

On both sides of the border, Tigrayans keep a grim tally of those believed to have been executed by Ethiopian forces that somehow end up in the river. This is an awful job, but one Tigrayan say is their duty.

We reached the first body on this small island. We must warn you, the images you are about to see are very disturbing. From the binds still into his skin, it's clear this man suffered a tortured death.

This Tigrayan has been helping to recover the dead. He holds up the body, but the image is too gruesome to show you. His eyes, though, portray the horror in front of him.

(On camera): They pulled the body out and a stench was immediate. It clearly had been decomposing along the river for a number of days, and he was tied back with a plastic wire, clearly restrained. And part of the skull was collapsed in. It is just a horrible, horrible sight.

(Voice-over): They move to pick up someone else. Gerri makes notes of the bodies and their markings. He is trying to piece together this mystery for his people. He doesn't trust anyone to do it for them.

Among the flotsam is another body.

UNKNOWN (ON-SCREEN TRANSLATION): His legs were amputated.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Sudanese authorities take photographs as evidence. This is a crime scene. But the potential perpetrators are far from here, in Ethiopia. The second body is put into the same body bag. They have such few resources, but are determined to maintain a certain dignity.

They are buried near the river in a shallow grave, and hope that one day they will be exhumed and reburied in their homeland. For now, though, there are only two shovels and a pick. Others join in, fishing the earth with their bare hands. They were laid to rest on unconsecrated ground, the Christian Tigrayans desperately trying to give respect to their dead. Marking the grave with a makeshift cross held together with a single face mask.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): A new dawn rises. Witnesses and local authorities tell us it brings with it 11 new bodies.

For months now, we have been investigating atrocities committed by Ethiopian and allied forces in Tigray. It's clear to us this marks a new chapter in the ethnic cleansing of the region. But here in Sudan, there are survivors. The living is speaking on behalf of the dead. Escapees, eyewitnesses from the Ethiopian border town of Humera described to us a renewed campaign of mass incarcerations and executions.

(On camera): The numbers they are telling us are extraordinary. We are talking about possibly over 10,000 people detained just for being Tigray in, they say.

(Voice-over): We begin to piece together the puzzle. We are here in Sudan (INAUDIBLE). Upstream in Ethiopia is Humera. Based on descriptions from multiple escape detainees, Humera and its surroundings have become a mass detention facility.

We were able to pinpoint the locations: (INAUDIBLE), a storage facility. The electric goods warehouse (INAUDIBLE), where electric wire is stored, (INAUDIBLE), the old prison, and (INAUDIBLE), the sesame (ph) warehouse. The list goes on.

Via eyewitness testimony and satellite imagery, we verified the existence of at least seven mass detention facilities in Humera, where torture is rampant, and two outside of town, including a military camp, Endakuwaja (ph).

These are pictures of Tigrayan victims, husbands, fathers and sons. Many show victims restrained using the same small gauge yellow electrical wire identified by eyewitnesses as having been stored in the electric goods warehouse in Humera.

CNN spoke to multiple eye witnesses and international and local forensic experts. Most of the victims were tortured, executed, and piled on top of each other, most likely in a facility or a mass grave before ending up in the river. After examining the bodies, experts were able to pinpoint one of the techniques used. Victims had their arms tied back at the elbows in an excruciatingly painful torture position.

In the last few weeks, Tigrayans say the bodies of over 60 victims have floated into Sudan by Ethiopia, evidence of a methodical campaign, one which bears all the hallmarks of genocide, as defined by international law. Up in this remote corner of Sudan, this is evidence the world wasn't meant to see.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): Gerri takes us to see the first person he laid to rest. The water will eventually reclaim the body, but this was the best Gerri could do. Already beginning to fall apart, the body couldn't be moved, an image which still haunts him.

GEBREKRISTOS (ON-SCREEN TRANSLATION): Leaving the body here hurts my heart. But what can I do? To leave your people by the river, your sister, your brother, not laid properly to rest, when you see that, it hurts you, hurts your heart. But what can I do? This is what we have been condemned to. ELBAGIR (voice-over): Gerri stays vigilant, looking out towards his homeland. As long as this conflict continues, the threat of more executions, more bodies floating downstream is ever-present.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, (INAUDIBLE), Eastern Sudan.


HOLMES (on camera): Now, in a statement issued by U.S. public relations firm, Mercury, the Ethiopian government said it was investigating the allegations, but that in light of several inconsistencies in the allegations, they are working with the relevant authorities to gather evidence and will prosecute any individuals found to have committed crimes to the fullest extent of the law.

Now, more flights out of Kabul are expected in the coming days as the Taliban have agreed to let foreign nationals with valid documents leave Afghanistan. The first charter flight carried more than 100 Americans, Britons, Canadians, and Germans to Doha and Qatar. A source is telling CNN, Afghanistan's two main commercial airlines plan to restart flights soon.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, a U.N. special envoy is warning of a total breakdown of the economy and social order without major help from the international community. He says millions of Afghans are at risk of hunger and poverty.

Taliban leaders seemed more concerned with cracking down on dissent. Two Afghan journalists say they were detained and severely beaten for just reporting on protests in Kabul this week. Taliban fighters are also whipping woman protesters and firing warning shots into the air.

CNN's Anna Coren was in Afghanistan just last month. She keeps contact with her sources there. She joins me now live. Let us start with the flight out of Kabul, who was on it, but also what indications, how many more flights there might be and who might be on those.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Michael, we believe that up to 30 Americans were on this flight. A flight manifesto was over 200 passengers. We don't know whether everybody got on board. But certainly, you could see the people getting off that flight in Doha, Qatar, obviously very relieved to be out of Afghanistan.

You mentioned the nationalities. We know that there are more Americans and more foreigners who won't be able to get home on those U.S. mass evacuation flights that ended on the 30th of August when the United States flew out the country.

But as you say, we are expecting more flights in the coming days. The Qataris, who helped the Taliban returned the airport to a semblance of normality, get it operational again say that it is open for business.

There was a press conference held between the Qataris and the Taliban at the airport. They are saying that this is a step forward to reconnecting with the outside world. Michael?

HOLMES: We mentioned earlier, tell us more about this, U.N. secretary general special representative for Afghanistan with some pretty strong words about what is needed.

COREN (on camera): Deborah Lyons is basically pleading with the international community to provide aid to Afghanistan. Obviously, all reserves, Afghan reserves, have been frozen by the United States, by the international community, as well as the World Bank, as well as the international monetary fund. They are stopping any access to these funds by the Taliban. The reason for this is they haven't proven themselves to be an inclusive government.

We know that there are at least five designated global terrorists who are cabinet members of this caretaker government. No women, no minorities, represented either. So, that is why the international community is so wary about dealing with the Taliban for obvious reasons.

But Deborah Lyons says there will be complete breakdown in society if this country does not receive aid. Let's take a listen to what she said.


DEBORAH LYONS, U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY ON AFGHANISTAN: The understandable purpose is to deny these funds to the de facto Taliban administration. The inevitable effect, however, will be a severe economic downturn that could throw many more millions into poverty and hunger, may generate a massive wave of refugees from Afghanistan and indeed set Afghanistan back for generations.


COREN (on camera): We know that a humanitarian crisis is already unfolding. We know that the currency has plummeted since the Taliban came into power. We know that the price of fuel and household goods has skyrocketed. We know that people haven't been paid their salaries.

The former Afghan government, Michael, was propped up by foreign aid. Seventy-five percent of their revenues were through foreign aid. So, this is what the international community now has to grapple with. How do they release this aid to the Taliban government?

HOLMES: Yeah. We have some tough decisions. Anna Coren, appreciated it. Thanks so much.

Now, earlier, I spoke with Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow in the Center for Security Strategy and Technology at the Brookings Institution, and asked her about the challenges this new Taliban government will face with so many differing views and ideology among them. Have a listen.


VANDA FELBAB-BROWN, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: It's absolutely much harder for the Taliban now to maintain the cohesion. The group, frankly, a coalition, feature very many different factions of highly different desires for power and also highly different views of governance in any aspect of governance for women's rights, political clause and inclusiveness (ph), relationships with external actors, relationships with other Jihadi groups should be.


FELBAB-BROWN: And the Taliban will face many challenges in maintaining the cohesion both in assuring that the various factions, in particular their powerful leaders can have access to economic ransom spoils, something the Taliban also needs to do with other non- Taliban potential opposition groups.

HOLMES: I did want to ask you about this, about the role going forward of not just al-Qaeda but crucially ISIS-K which has former Taliban commanders in its ranks. Could there be fractures, defections to the even more hardline ISIS-K and what threat does it pose to the Taliban?

FELBAB-BROWN: Well, the Islamic state in Khorasan is really the most fundamental threat to the Taliban rule from outside of the Taliban. And it is a fundamental threat in several ways. It is hell-bent on a sectarian war in Afghanistan which will cause, if it happens, tremendous amount to problems for the Taliban with neighbors such as Iran.

It is far more plugged into international Jihadi networks. Again, something that generates frictions with external actors like China, like Russia, like Iran, as well as, of course, the United States, and it can become an admiral (ph) for Taliban commanders, Taliban readers or even local militias that are not satisfied with either the Taliban rule as it will shape up or with the economic resources they are getting.


HOLMES: That was Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who joined me earlier from Washington.

Well, with COVID, again, overwhelming many U.S. hospitals. Strict new mandates could force millions of Americans to finally get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. We will have that story coming up.

And also, Cuba is giving COVID vaccines to children as young as two. What Havana has to say about that decision after the break.


HOLMES (on camera): U.S. President Joe Biden clearly frustrated by the slow uptake of COVID vaccines. He is getting fed up with Americans who refuse to get the shot. On Thursday, he unveiled tough new measures to compel about 80 million holdouts to get vaccinated or possibly risk losing their jobs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Distinct minority of Americans supported by distinct minority of elected officials are keeping us from turning the corner. We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting the large majority of Americans who have done their part.

This is not about freedom or personal choice. It is about protecting yourself and those around you. My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We have been patient.


BIDEN: But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us.


HOLMES (on camera): The aggressive new policy is aimed at curbing an alarming surge of the delta variant among the unvaccinated. The 6- point strategy also focuses on booster shots for the vaccinated, more widespread testing and improving care for those who are ill.

Several Republican governors are already vowing to defy the new mandates. Greg Abbott of Texas is calling it an assault on private business. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says he will challenge the legality of what he called a, quote, "blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden administration."

America's top infectious disease expert says he shares the president's frustration that so many Americans have declined to be vaccinated because it just keeps prolonging the pandemic.


ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR, DIRECTOR OF THE U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We have the tools to in this. I mean, I've been in situations, in public health situations where you didn't have the tools to end something that was devastating people with regards to illness and death. That is very frustrating.

It's frustrating in a different way when you have the tools and you have the wherewithal to get to the endgame of where you want to be but you don't implement them. So, yes, I am, I believe, equally frustrated. I don't want to see people get sick. I don't want to see them hospitalized. I certainly don't want to see them die. But that is what is happening when you don't vaccinate to the full extent possible.


HOLMES (on camera): Earlier, I spoke with Dr. Thomas Tsai. He is an assistant professor of health, policy, and management at Harvard. I asked him if he thought that the mandates that President Biden laid out on Thursday would help. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS TSAI, SURGEON, HEALTH POLICY RESEARCHER AT BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL: I think the mandates are a good idea. It is not just thinking about them as mandates but really as a way of creating a safe work environment. What President Biden has done today is really shifted the focus to creating around workplace safety and school safety by empowering the Department of Labor to enact the safe working standards for federal employees and contractors.

The idea here is to make sure that we are protecting not just individuals but protecting those in their work environments and potential customers in the workplaces, and protecting the teachers as well as the students. So, this goes a long way to ensuring that we actually have a path out of the pandemic as the plan calls for.

HOLMES: One thing that strikes me is, cases right now in the U.S. are way, way worse than they were this time last year, and yet there doesn't seem to be the intensity of concern at a public level. What do you make of that? Are we just getting used to it? What are risks of that?

TSAI: That is my real worry, was March, April, May of 2020, there was a collective sense of urgency. We all came together to flatten the curve, to protect especially the elderly in nursing homes and create capacity for hospitals who take care of both COVID and non-COVID emergency medical care.

My worry is that this phase of the pandemic, the focus has moved from the collective towards individual and there is a less sense of collective urgency. I think that is what we need now, is to really again flatten the curve once more not just for the elderly this time but really for our children so that we can make sure that they can get the care they need in the hospitals, in the intensive care units, but also that they can be in school safely.

This takes a communal effort. And by protecting everyone around us, by reducing the risk of transmission, everyone masking, everyone getting vaccinated, all of that creates a layer of safety around our children.

HOLMES: Yeah. Great points. Good advice. Dr. Thomas Tsai, we have to leave it there. Thank you so much.

TSAI: Great. Thank you.


HOLMES (on camera): Meanwhile, the second largest school board in the United States is now mandating COVID vaccines for students aged 12 and over. The Los Angeles Unified School Board decided on Thursday that the requirement was appropriate based on a surge caused by the delta variant. The board is requiring eligible students to have had their first and second doses no later than a few days before Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

In Cuba, state media is reporting that toddlers are now receiving vaccinations for COVID-19. The delta variant has caused a huge spike in cases for that island nation, delaying in-person learning at schools. Last month, the government declared that its homegrown vaccines were safe for children as young as two.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann with more from Havana.



PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Cuban government announced that it has begun to vaccinate children as young as two years old. Initially, Cuban officials have said that they are going to focus keeping their homegrown vaccines to the Cuban health care workers, at risk populations like the elderly, and in places particularly hard hit by the coronavirus.

The delta variant arrival in Cuba, we are seeing a surge in childhood infections like in other places and that has led Cuba to cancel in- person classes which were due to begin on Monday, saying that the risk to children and teachers is just too great.

So, for the time being, Cuban children will have to watch classes on TV because of the limited internet on this island. Very few Cubans have internet in their homes. So, children, once again, have to watch their classes take place on state-run TV.

Cuban officials acknowledge this is a problem. The children here are falling behind. They have begun to give them the vaccines, the homegrown vaccines, which they say are safe and effective. But, they have not supplied that data to international observers.

All the same, though, Cuban government says that they will press ahead with this plan, to vaccinate more and more children. Hopefully, they will vaccinate over 90 percent of the population, including children, which will allow them to reopen international borders here for the first time in months, in mid-November.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


HOLMES (on camera): Canada's federal election is now just 10 days away with Justin Trudeau's future as prime minister on the line. A short time ago, the country's five main party leaders went head-to- head in a national debate, clashing over climate change, COVID relief and indigenous reconciliation. Some are taking a slide back to Mr. Trudeau for calling the snap election in the middle of a fourth COVID wave.


ERIN O'TOOLE, LEADER, CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF CANADA: What did Mr. Trudeau do? You called an election, sir. You put your own political interests ahead of the well-being of thousands of people. Leadership is about putting others first, not yourself. Mr. Trudeau, you should not have called this election. You should've gotten the job done in Afghanistan.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, LEADER, LIBERTY PARTY OF CANADA: As of the very beginning of August, well before this election, we were getting flights out of Afghanistan. We got 3,700 people out of Afghanistan. Over the past weeks, we have been working with the Qataris, for example, on exactly that good news that we have seen of more people, more Canadians getting out of Afghanistan.


HOLMES (on camera): Canadians go to the polls on Monday, September 20.

A dangerous super typhoon is heading for Taiwan. It is one of two big storms threatening Asia right now. We will get an update from meteorologist Derek Van Dam after the break.

Also, the leaders of the world's two largest economies talk for the first time in months. They had plenty to discuss. We will have a live report from Beijing when we come back.



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST: US President Joe Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday evening. It was only their second phone call in seven months. According to the White House, the two leaders discussed a broad range of issues on which the U.S. and China disagree as well as areas where they can cooperate.

CNN's Steven Jiang is tracking all of this for us from Beijing. There was plenty on the chat list, what do we know about what was actually discussed?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well Michael, now we know they held a 90 minute conversation and the tone was respectful, candid and familiar, according to a senior U.S. official. Neither was trying to lecture theatre, apparently, they both kept referring back to their previous personal encounters and recalling old stories and old conversations.

So obviously trying to establish a good rapport. And that is in sharp contrast to what we have seen in some of the more recent high level official meetings between the two sides where things got so contentious, it spilled into the open, that is actually a major complaint from the U.S. that is Chinese officials have been trying to play for the press or even propagandizing these previous talks.

So that's why also, that's why they say this phone call was so important because it allowed the two leaders to have a private moment to talk about things given how tense this - this overall relationship has become. But obviously, one phone call is not going to magically resolve any of these contentious issues. But it is going to set the tone for the next phase of this relationship, not only overall but also the tone for the upcoming rounds of working level meetings. That's very important because the U.S. officials have become very frustrated with the lack of substance or progress out of their working level communications with their Chinese counterparts even complaint - complaining about the behavior of their Chinese interlocutors. And Mr. Biden, they see understands this point very well.

And given the increasingly concentrated power of Xi Jinping, one word or one order from him could instantly change how Chinese diplomats engage with their U.S. counterparts. And as you know, in these working level meetings, a lot of the issues are being discussed in detail and sometimes get resolved. So that's why at least from Washington's perspective it's very important to keep these open lines of communication and maintain these substantive and candid dialogue. Michael.

HOLMES: Indeed, Steven, thank you. Steven Jiang there in Beijing for us. Now CNN is tracking a pair of dangerous storms that are expected to cause problems in different parts of Asia. The first supertyphoon Chanthu is the equivalent of a category four Hurricane, it is brushing the northern Philippines, but Taiwan could feel the biggest impact from this storm.

The second Tropical Storm Conson is headed towards Vietnam. CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joining me now live to talk about these storms. What are you seeing where are they headed? And how big is it?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we know Michael, once we get down to the nitty gritty here, it really is a game of miles in terms of these landfalling Super typhoons, where will it go 10 miles or 20 kilometers roughly make a big difference. And what we're noticing on the satellite imagery is this.

What has been an anticipated more northerly turn, with supertyphoon Chanthu, you can see the eye starting to make that jog to the north northwest. So what it's going to do is actually just stay offshore from Northeastern Luzon still major impacts for that particular Northeastern sections of the Philippines, already feeling the effects of the outer rain bands.

But we do believe the strongest part of the typhoon will stay offshore. Now we need to focus our attention in the next 12 to 24 hours on Southern Taiwan. But this particular supertyphoon in a very elite group of typhoons. And that is because it has strengthened a very significant amount in a 48 hour period, from 50 kilometers to 260 kilometers per hour. And that has only happened five times in recorded history. So it puts it in that very elite group of super typhoons.

Lots of warm air, or warm water just helping fuel this particular super typhoon. There is the official forecast track from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. There's a strengthening storm to by the way, you can see it's at 240 now it'll go to 250 within the past or within the next day, and then Southern Taiwan within the next two days.

So we need to be prepared for this landfalling typhoon at that stage. We already have Signal 3 hoisted across Northeastern Luzon. That means anyone located across that area needs to seek shelter immediately evacuated from low line areas where they're susceptible to flooding and localized storm surges. Well, of course that will be a concern.

Look at the rainfall across this region being enhanced by the southwest monsoon. This is typical this time of year. You get tropical activity. So that is already allowing for rescue operations to take place. Look at this woman and individual here helping her take their dog and their home and their belongings outside of this area just south of Manila.


This is an advance of the storm approaching the region. So just continuing to see heavy rainfall. And we watch out for the potential of a tropical storm Conson as you mentioned, Michael, headed straight towards central Vietnam within the next 24 hours. That'll be a rainmaker for them. Back to you.

HOLMES: All right, and you'll be keeping an eye on for us, thanks Derek. Derek Van Dam there. Quick break here on the program. When we come back, are online games addictive? Many in China say yes. What new rules the government is trying to enforce. That's after the break.


HOLMES: Is it fun or a potential addiction, that question about online gaming often debated among players, parents, and health experts. In China the government not only claims the habit can be addictive to minors, but Beijing has now moved to limit their playing time and push gaming companies to follow the rules or face punishment. Kristie Lu Stout joining us now from Hong Kong to talk more about this. I think some parents secretly might agree but it raises a lot of worrying questions.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and a lot of questions about overreach and how far China is going to do to correct what it deems to be a social I'll, in this case gaming addiction. China is certainly ramping up the pressure on the game industry. It was just this week when Chinese regulators summoned the top Chinese gaming companies including NetEase and Tencent, demanding that they play on profits and clamp down on the amount of time young people play online games.

This comes after those sweeping restrictions were introduced, limiting the amount of time that minors can play online. These are individuals under the age of 18, can only play one hour a day 8pm to 9pm on certain days of the week, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. This is all in a bid in order to prevent online game addiction but it begs the question are video games even addictive?


LU STOUT: Playtime is pretty much over for China's young online gamers. Beijing has banned online gamers under 18 from playing on weekdays and limited their play to only three hours on most weekends. China's media watchdog says the rules are necessary to combat gaming addiction.

It's a common concern among gamers and parents the world over. Can video games be addictive. In 2018, the World Health Organization introduced gaming disorder as a new mental health condition. Signs include impaired control over gaming, gaming taking precedence over other interests, continuation of gaming despite negative effects and impaired social functioning and distress.


SHEKHAR SAXENA, HARVARD UNIV SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Gaming disorder is a disorder of control so the person cannot hold on to the amount of time for gaming and it keeps increasing, it can cause several health problems, physical as well as mental.

LU STOUT: According to who the characteristics of gaming disorder are very similar to substance use disorders and gambling disorder. But not everyone agrees. According to a 2020 study co-authored by American psychologist Chris Ferguson, there is a lack of consensus on the issue of video game addiction.

About 60.8 percent of scholars surveyed agreed pathological gaming could be a mental health problem, a 30.4 percent were skeptical.

CHRIS FERGUSON, PSYCHOLOGIST: It's an issue that scholars have really been arguing about for probably 30 years. And what has happened is there are all these questions about it that are unresolved in the scholarly community like even as basic as is this a real thing?

LU STOUT: For years, China, the world's largest video games market has worried about the impact of games, blaming it for rising rates of nearsightedness and setting boot camps that use military drones to try to kick the habit. And China now wants to combat gaming addiction by restricting how long young players can game online? How effective is this?

SAXENA: Very drastic public health measure. Gaming disorder is only present in a very small minority of all people who game because gaming by itself is not always harmful.

LU STOUT: Mental health experts say the question isn't how many hours a child spends gaming, but whether excessive play is a sign of a deeper mental health issue.

FERGUSON: If you just take away the games, you leave them with a pre- existing condition. So it doesn't really fix anything. It kind of just takes away the thing that they were using to distract themselves from their suffering.

LU STOUT: Experts advise parents to monitor their kids and focus on harm reduction, rather than unplugging entirely and missing out on the occasional thrilling fight to the finish.


LU STOUT: Now to reiterate experts say that the issue here is not the number of hours played doing online gaming. The issue is excessive gaming, when it happens whether or not that's a sign of an underlying mental health issue. I should also note that South Korea is actually in the process of abolishing game curfews because they deemed that that was not effective.

But for the time being China is still standing by these online gaming restrictions. And it's also targeting the industry with new moves with the South China Morning Post reporting that they are slowing down the approval process for all new online games. Back to you, Michael.

HOLMES: Wow. Yes, overreach as you say, a lot of concerns there. Kristie, good to see you my friend. Thank you. Kristie Lu Stout there down in Hong Kong. And thank you for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HolmesCNN. World Sport starts after the break.



DR. JONATHAN REINER, DIR, CARDIAC CATHERIZATION PROGRAM, GW UNIV HOSPITAL: - to either quit their job or get the vaccine. We're at a point -- really past the point in the pandemic where either you're part of the solution or you're part of the problem.

And the problem right now is that we have 25 percent of our adults or, as you said, almost 80 million Americans who are unvaccinated, and we have to fix that problem. And if we can't bribe them, and if we can't cajole them, then we need these other tough, tough measures to get folks to understand that they have to get vaccinated. So whether they have faith in the government, or whether they just want to preserve their job, I don't really care. Enough is enough.

We need more of these people to get vaccinated for the good of the community for the good of us all.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: On any given day, Matthew, you can go on the internet or on social media anywhere, and maybe you're just passing on a plane and you see these unruly airline passengers. Were you surprised by that Biden chastised these people, talked about, you know how they were directing their anger at flight attendants and that it was wrong and they needed to show some respect.

MATTHEW DOWD, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR PRESIDENT G. W. BUSH: No, I mean, I'm not surprised that Joe Biden, I guess I'm surprised it took them this long to sort of vent that frustration at these folks that are doing this. It's just unbelievable to me that, that the values that you and I and the doctor were all brought up as children.

And if we have children on our own, we try to instill in our children the idea that we respect other people, we're not mean, we play well. We give people dignity, what they are, all of those while some people have just been thrown out the window completely, just been thrown out the window and their own personal interest or their own personal, you know, grievance or their own personal whatever takes precedent over other people.

And I just wish people would go back, you know, the book, what I learned in kindergarten or whatever, but what we learned and what we want our children and what we were taught as children, let's just practice those basics. Let's just practice those basics. If we just practice those basics again, we'll be a lot better off as a country.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. Absolutely. You're right. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. Texas Governor Greg Abbott vowing to fight a DOJ lawsuit over his state's near total abortion ban. Does the Justice Department have enough legal ammunition to win?




LEMON: The Biden Administration taking on Texas over its new law, banning abortions after six weeks. The Justice Department suing the state saying the law is unconstitutional under long standing Supreme Court precedent. Let's discuss now. CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Laura Coates is here. Laura, good evening to you. Thank you for joining this evening. This suit now sets up a showdown between the federal government and the Republican led state of Texas. What comes next or as they say now what?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, the showdowns are pretty much handled on a normally the supremacy clause, which says that the federal law and Supreme Court precedent is going to actually take precedent over the idea of a state law. And Texas already knows that they're in violation of Roe V. Wade.

They know they're in violation of federal law, but they were attempting to try to go around as an end game, which of course, Garland called out today to say that there was an obvious and also expressly stated goal here of trying to run that end rather than just review was really interesting about here.

We've been talking for a long time, Don, about the idea of, hey, Uber drivers could have been swept up under this dragnet, Lyft driver operators, receptionists, school counselors, you name it.

Well, this idea of that very vague definition of what it means to aid and abet someone who's trying to get an abortion seems to have given license now to the Department of Justice to say, hey, that means that our federal employees who are trying to carry out federal law, Department of Defense, the Labor Department, areas of people who were providing Medicaid and Medicare Services, we're included in that dragnet because now the people whose job it is to, in some ways support things that could lead to abortion related services could now be facing civil liabilities.

And so that dragnet that they set up under that ambiguous definition, has now invited the Department of Justice to bring this suit.

LEMON: And listen, today, you're talking about the critics of it. Right? In an interview out today, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer called the high court's refusal to block the Texas law very, very wrong. I mean, that is an incredible statement coming from a sitting justice, especially this one, with all the speculation about when he's going to retire. COATES: Absolutely, and how critical it is, I'm sure he believes to remain and still be on this court, because remember, it was a very slim majority, that they were able to even have that procedural ruling that says, this law can go into effect. It's not normal, normally for a Supreme Court justice to write a dissenting opinion that is as scathing as all of them were in their dissent about what they knew to be an end run around their very clear precedent.

And again, remember, the whole goal here is to have these checks and balances on power of the legislative branch of the executive branch. Well, now what they've done in Texas is basically foreclose that opportunity. And the Supreme Court said, OK, well, that was very novel and complex, as if other cases are not novel and complex.

So Breyer knew that was the wrong the wrong thing to do but he did open a door and said, if this becomes a substantive, not just procedural matter in front of us, perhaps things might change.

LEMON: Laura Coates breaking it down for us. Thank you, Laura. Appreciate it. Have a good night. President Biden pulling back the carrot and giving more of the stick announcing new vaccine mandates that could affect 100 million Americans. How far will it go in controlling this Pandemic?




LEMON: Tonight, President Biden adopting a get tough approach on, as his administration tries to bring the surgeon COVID Pandemic under control, mandating federal workers be vaccinated and requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are either vaccinated or tested once a week and expressing frustration with the nearly 80 million Americans who are eligible for the vaccine, but haven't yet rolled up their sleeves saying 'our patience is wearing thin.'

Also tonight, the Justice Department suing the state of Texas over its new law banning all abortions after six weeks and with less than a week to go before California's recall election, we'll visit a Republican county where Democratic governor Gavin Newsom is having a hard time finding support.

I want to start now with CNN White House Correspondent John Harwood and Political Commentator Amanda Carpenter. Good evening to both of you. Good to see you, John. President Biden announcing new vaccine mandates that could impact 100 million Americans. What are you hearing from the White House about how this will all - this is all going to work?