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CDC Warns Public of COVID Uptick in Winter; Merck Out with COVID Pill; North and South Korea in Talking Terms Again; Japan's New Leader Facing Huge Challenges; Whistleblower Against Facebook Speaks Out. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 04, 2021 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

Ahead on CNN Newsroom, some encouraging news when it comes to containing COVID infections. I'll discuss with my guest if there is an end in sight for this pandemic.

Plus, a whistleblower is claiming that Facebook is putting profit over public good. We will hear her accusations, and what Facebook has to say about them.

And inter-Korean hotlines are back on. North and South Korea have restored communications after months of silence. We're live in Seoul with the latest.

UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center. This is CNN Newsroom with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Good to have you with us. And we'll have all of those stories in just a moment.

But first, U.S. President Joe Biden has a busy week ahead in the coming hours. He will speak about the need to raise the debt ceiling to prevent the U.S. from defaulting for the first time in history. And on Tuesday, he heads to Michigan to rally support for a pair of multi- trillion-dollar bills that represent the heart of his administrative agenda.

The vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal which was delayed twice last week has now been pushed back to the end of the month. And progressive Democrats insist it will not pass, unless they get the even larger spending bill across the finish line as well.

And here is where things stand right now. The White House is offering a compromise with a number of just more than $2 trillion. But there is no indication yet if moderates, such as Joe Manchin are willing to go that high, or if progressives will agree to that number either.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has the details.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressing pause on this high-stake fast pace negotiations between the warring factions of her own party, now issuing a new deadline of October 31st for a vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

She said in a dear colleague letter issued on Saturday, a very blunt language that they did not have the support that they needed more time, more Democrats to get on to vote for that infrastructure bill. Along with the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, a bigger spending package that the president is pushing forward.

And despite multiple visits from the president with these groups of moderate and progressives, they were not able to come up with a figure that they could agree on. We heard from Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate, saying that $1.5 trillion is what he is looking at. But the chair of the progressives and the Democratic caucus say that's not even crows.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): That's too small to get our priorities in. So, it's going to be somewhere, you know, between 1.5, and 3.5, and I think the White House is working on that right now. Because remember, what we want to deliver is childcare, paid leave, --


JAYAPAL: -- climate change.


MALVEAUX (on camera): So, while this new deadline gives the progressive Democrats more time to negotiate, there is a real frustration among the moderate Democrats like Senator Kyrsten Sinema who believe that these undercuts undermines the momentum for Republican support for the infrastructure bill. And there are some Republicans who are now beginning to say, yes, that might in fact be the case.

They are using this division within the Democratic Party to make a case that the party is incompetent. But they are also saying, too, that they have leverage that perhaps some of these Republicans will withdraw their support for that bipartisan infrastructure bill.


SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-YW): When that bipartisan bill passed a 50/50 Senate, it had 69 votes. It was a lot of momentum on its side, in any kind of normal world, that would've been signed into law by the president. This was two months ago.


MALVEAUX (on camera): While progressive Democrats say they're reticent to talk about the final number on that reconciliation bill. The cost of it, they say they'd rather talk about the issues, the priorities of the agenda. The programs that they would like to fund first. But they are in a situation where that might actually take more time. And even be more difficult than talking about dollars and cents.

Suzanne Malveux, CNN, at the Capitol.

CHURCH: Earlier, I asked political analyst Michael Genovese about the potential impact of the infighting between progressive and moderate Democrats on President Biden's agenda. And here is his response.


MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: This is big test for President Biden. He sold himself during the campaign as a man who has experience and can work with Congress. So, this is the test. And he's fighting a battle on three different fronts. The first front is against the Republicans. That's lost. So, he's not focusing on that.


The real battle is within the Democratic Party with the Democratic infighting. Moderates want less spending, the progressives want more, Biden has been wavering. And so, this is a big test for him.

There are two very sweeping proposals, one is the big infrastructure bill, the other is the big sort of family care bill. So, it's a bill and a care agenda. He wants to get both of them through. Can he do it? He's got to get at least one. He needs to get two if he's going to maintain his political position.

Biden will move in the direction that will gain him enough votes, and so vote counting is going to be the key here. He needs to close a deal. You know, he's got a reservoir of goodwill still with the American public. But his popularity is declining. He has to prove that he is winner, that he can close the deal.

And if you compare Trump to Biden, I mean, Trump knew what Machiavelli was talking about when Machiavelli said that the prince are the leader, it is better to be more feared than loved. People fear Donald Trump. They do not fear Biden. So, he has to show to Democrats that he can play hard ball instead of just playing the nice old uncle or the great warm spirited grandfather.

I mean, Trump was the angry uncle. Biden is the happy grandfather. Biden needs to show that he can get tough as well.


CHURCH (on camera): Well, the CDC has released new COVID guidelines for the upcoming holidays here in the United States. It says the most important thing you can do to stay safe is get vaccinated. The agency is also encouraging people to mask up in areas with high transmission rates. And consider virtual celebrations rather than in person gatherings. Meanwhile, in New York City, public school employees who have not been

vaccinated will not be allowed back in the door starting today. Under the district's new policy, unvaccinated employees could be placed on unpaid leave until next September. Some teachers are challenging the policy in court, but on Friday they failed to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to halt enforcement while the case plays out.

Well, here's some good news on the COVID front. Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that the U.S. appears to be turning a corner with its latest surge. New cases and hospital admissions are declining across much of the country. But he warned Americans against getting too complacent, saying millions more still need to get vaccinated.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The United States maybe turning the corner when it comes to its latest COVID surge. But in order to keep the hospitalization and infection numbers down, more people need to get vaccinated. That's the word from the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci who is also chief medical advisor to President Biden.

Over the weekend, as the United States surpassed 700,000 deaths, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that still more needs to be done in terms of vaccination efforts. The latest CDC number showing that about 56 percent of Americans are fully protected right now against the virus through a vaccine.

He also expressed some concern that with the promise of a new COVID treatment, a new oral antiviral, and many of those unvaccinated Americans may simply choose to bypassed getting vaccinated. Fauci saying that is not a good idea.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It is never OK to get infected. You know, you heard the numbers, it decreases the risk of this pill did of hospitalizations and death by 50 percent. You know the way to decrease the risk by 100 percent? Don't get infected in the first place.


SANDOVAL (on camera): Merck and Ridgeback Therapeutics, the maker of that antiviral says that their product can potentially cut the risk of COVID death and hospitalization by nearly half. Those company saying that they plan to submit their product for emergency use authorization to the FDA as soon as possible.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.

CHURCH: Dr. Jorge Rodriguez is a board-certified internal medicine specialist and viral researcher. He joins me now. Thank you, doctor, for talking with us and for all that we do.


CHURCH: We are starting to see COVID infections, hospitalizations, and deaths coming down although we're still losing far too many Americans each day to this virus. But does this signal the beginning of the end of this pandemic or do we have to be a little more cautious?

RODRIGUEZ: I absolutely think it does signal the beginning of the end of this pandemic. We may be in the middle of it. What it signals is that we are on the downswing here of this latest surge, this delta surge but we're still getting over 100,000 infections a day and right now the tide is higher than it was a year ago.


So, if we get an increase in the winter, you know, it could be very bad. Obviously, more people have been vaccinated, but like we have spoken before, we can't get over confident. Every time we do and we put our guard down, we just sort of let the tiger in the door and we get another surge with another variant. So, yes, things are better but they're far from over.

CHURCH: Exactly. We can be cautiously optimistic perhaps. And now of course there's word that Merck has put out or certainly prepared this antiviral pill that will stop COVID in its tracks and could be available by Christmas, could. We don't know the timing exactly. Maybe even before that. And there are two other COVID pills on the horizon. Dr. Anthony Fauci calls this a game changer. Do you agree? Do you worry though that those who refuse to get vaccinated now will just fall back on this pill once it's available?

RODRIGUEZ: I'm afraid, yes, that will happen, that people think that this is a cure. It is not a cure. Dr. Fauci and I both come from the HIV arena a couple of decades ago and we've done research in that. And this is similar to that. These are medications that can control the worsening of the virus once you have it. It is not a cure.

So, the Merck study showed that if you start getting, you know, the beginnings of COVID, and it's proven to be COVID, if you treat it within five days you could decrease the risk of going to the hospital or dying by 50 percent. That's very significant but nothing, nothing takes the place of preventing getting infected, which is what a vaccine does. So, is it a game changer? It absolutely might be. Is it the cure? It absolutely is not.

CHURCH: Right. The number one, get vaccinated, and then of course, we should have this pill available as a backup there after the fact. So, doctor, Governor Gavin Newsom says his state will become the first state to add the COVID-19 vaccination to immunizations required for in-person school attendance. Do you think this could signal what will happen in other states, maybe not now but in the weeks and months ahead?

RODRIGUEZ: I truly hope so. And people really need to just look at this for what it is, which is a life-threatening pandemic. We require vaccinations against measles, against mumps. This is deadlier than that, so I don't think this impedes anybody's freedom. We need to be objective.

What it does, it allows you the freedom to live longer, to live a natural life especially if you're a child to be able to congregate with other children, to have fun, to go to the playground. So, this doesn't impede freedom, in my view, this gives freedom. And I hope that it is implemented in other states.

CHURCH: And doctor, with mandates like this we know of course that some people who oppose getting vaccinated will seek exemptions. How big a threat do you think religious and health exemptions pose when it comes to trying to end this pandemic or are we talking about a very small number here do you think?

RODRIGUEZ: I think we're talking about a small number. At the end of the day people who don't want to get vaccinated will get vaccinated. People will quit their jobs not to get vaccinated. But if you look, for example, at what's happening in some of the major airlines, I've just look -- reading and got told some statistics today, one of the major airlines, 0.0 -- or .4 percent, only .4 percent of the people employed of the 67,000 people employed by a major airline refuse to get vaccinated.

I think when the rubber hits the road most people want to stay healthy. Most people want to keep their jobs and most people want to get the economy moving and that's what getting vaccinated will allow us to do.

CHURCH: Yes. We have learned, of course, that mandates do work. We're seeing it. We're seeing it in these various companies. Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, thank you so much for joining us.

RODRIGUEZ: My pleasure.

CHURCH: A Facebook whistle blower is speaking out publicly, accusing the company of placing profit over public good. Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager says the social media giant knows its platform are used to spread hate, violence, and misinformation.

During an interview with 60 Minutes, Haugen said, Facebook has tried to hide damning evidence in order to protect its profits.

CNN's Brian Stelter has more on what she's saying and Facebook's response.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hey, this is a big moment for Facebook and for the social networking world more broadly. As a whistleblower comes forward to call attention to what these algorithm platforms are doing to our brains, to our minds on a daily basis.

Now this employee's name is Frances Haugen. She's worked at Facebook as a product manager trying to combat misinformation. And she says the longer she spent at the company, the more concerned she was about the company's failures.

[03:15:02] She calls out the algorithm in particular and how it prioritizes profits, Facebook's profits over public safety. Here's a part of what she said on 60 Minutes.


FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: One of the consequences of how Facebook picks up that content today is that it is optimizing for content that gets engagement or a reaction. But its own research is showing the content that is hateful, that is divisive, that is polarizing, it's easier to inspire people to anger than it is to other emotions.

SCOTT PELLEY, CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR, CBS NEWS: Misinformation, angry content --


PELLEY: -- is enticing to people --

HAUGEN: Very enticing.

PELLEY: -- and keeps them on the platform.

HAUGEN: Yes. Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithms to be safer, people will spend less time on the site. They will click on less ads, they'll make less money.


STELTER (on camera): Haugen, age 37 years old is soon is going to be a household name, she leaked to the Wall Street Journal anonymously showing documents with internal research from Facebook showing how the company isn't, in some cases, well aware of the problems its platforms cause. Then she gave that 60 Minutes interview. And then on Tuesday she will be testifying to the United States Senate.

The 60 Minutes interview is a preview of what she might say. I was shock by a comment she made about Facebook's impact in the United States and around the world. She said the version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world.

Facebook says no platform is perfect but it tries exceedingly hard to stamp out hate speech and misinformation. It says it has tens of thousands of staffers working to make the platforms healthy and strong and says advertisers don't want to be associated with a toxic environment so it's in Facebook's interest to clean up the property.

But look, time and time again we have seen Facebook fall short of its own expectations, its own goals. And Haugen said she had seen so much she had to blow the whistle. Her lawyers have now filed complaints with the FCC trying to get the government involved. Back to you.

CHURCH: And Facebook has responded to the 60 Minutes report. A spokeswoman for the company says, every day our teams have to balance protecting the ability of billions of people to express themselves openly with the need to keep our platform a safe and positive place. We continue to make significant improvements to tackle the spread of misinformation and harmful content. To suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true.

Well, after months of dead air, North Korea reopens hotlines with South Korea, but if talks are to continue, the North says the South has some work to do.

Plus, Japan's new prime minister, he will have his hands full with challenges at home and across the region. A live report from Tokyo straight ahead.



CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back, everyone. North Korea has reopened communications with South Korea after cutting ties earlier this year. South Korea's unification ministry confirms the North responded on hotline early Monday morning. A communications link between the two country's militaries has also now been re-activated.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed to restore the hotlines with the South during a speech last week.

And I'm joined now by Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea. So, Paula what is the significance of all this, and how long might these lines of communication remain open given what has happened in the past?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a good question, Rosemary. It's an impossible one to answer I'm afraid. It is certainly the case that these hotlines have been used by North Korea in the past to show their displeasure of something that South Korea has done. They were functioning then in June of last year. They were cut off along with the liaison officer itself being blown off by North Korea because they were unhappy about propaganda blooms and leaflets being flown from South Korea in to North Korea by activists.

Then in July of this year they were reinstated and there was much optimism along with some revelations that the leaders of the two Koreas had actually been exchanging letters for a few months but then that only lasted a matter of days before North Korea cut the lines off again because the U.S. and South Korea had joint military drills.

So, there is optimism from Seoul. Certainly, we've been hearing officials saying that they welcome the fact that these have been reinstated but no one knows how long they will actually last.

We heard from the South Korean side what their official said on the line. He said, quote, "it's been a while and I'm glad that the communication line has been restored like this. I hope that the inter- Korean relations can develop into a new era as the communication line has been restored."

Now this was first talked about by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un himself last week saying that he would be open to reinstating these lines. But we've also been hearing from Pyongyang that they want South Korea to abandon, quote, "double standards and delusion," saying that criticizing South Korea for criticizing North Korea's testing of new weapons and new missiles.

Saying that South Korea has effectively been doing the same things. South Korea has been increasing its own weaponry testing and submarine launch ballistic missile, for example, in recent months which has angered North Korea.

So what Pyongyang is saying to Seoul is that we could increase the relations between the two Koreas, things could improve. There's also been a suggestion that there could even be another summit between the leaders but South Korea needs to change its ways and needs to do what North Korea wants it to. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. CNN's Paula Hancocks joining us live from Seoul. Many thanks as always.

And Japan has a new prime minister after a special session of parliament that concluded just a couple of hours ago. Fumio Kishida takes the reins of the world's third largest economy while navigating the coronavirus pandemic and regional challenges like North Korea.


The 64-year-old Kishida emerged as the winner of a hotly contested party leadership election last week.

CNN's Selina Wang is following these developments, she joins us now live from Tokyo. Good to see you, Selina.

So, Japan's new prime minister faces many new challenges now. What does he plan to do when it comes to the economy, the pandemic, and North Korea specifically?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly Rosemary. A tough set of issues ahead for Fumio Kishida. And he campaigned on narrowing this income gap that has worsened during the pandemic, as well as spending billions of dollars in an aggressive stimulus package to boost the economy. That's also been hard hit by the pandemic.

His first priority domestically is going to include trying to keep COVID-19 cases low. Japan has dealt with a series of waves of COVID- 19, and it's only finally coming out of these long-lasting COVID-19 restrictions and state of emergencies. On foreign policy, he faces increasing risk from North Korea and China.

Like his predecessors, he's expected to support a strong U.S.-Japan alliance, as well as working with allies as a bulwark against China. And the business community here, I've been talking to business communities and they're trying to be closely watching how he navigates this delicate balance with China. Since it is a key economic partner but also, they are growing increasingly concerned about Beijing's growing military assertiveness.

I spoke to the CEO of Suntory, who was an economic adviser to outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and these were his words about Kishida.


TAKESHI NIINAMI, CEO, SUNTORY: There are so many complicated issues and that he is not the strongest leader in the ruling party of LDP. So, I am so concerned about the revolving prime minister system.


WANG: So, the big question really is how long can Kishida hang on to his power. Because prior to Shinzo Abe, which was Japan's longest serving prime minister. Japan cycled for six prime ministers in six years. And a crucial early test for Kishida as prime minister is being the face of a ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the upcoming general election.

Now, Rosemary, while the LDP is expected to maintain its dominance, the risk here is that the party could weaken if Kishida isn't able to excite voters. Because Kishida was not the popular choice to be Japan's next prime minister. The public had favored this political maverick Taro Kono while Kishida was viewed as just another boring bureaucrat.

So, the question here is can he shore up public opinion and change that viewpoint of him as he continues his leadership. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. We'll see what happens. Selina Wang bringing us the very latest live from Tokyo. Many thanks.

California may have a new environmental disaster on its hands after an oil spill near Los Angeles. What we are learning about an investigation into that spill. That's coming up.

Plus, the military is getting behind the wheel to help address the fuel crisis in the U.K. But if there is a shortage of truck drivers could this happen again? We'll have a live report from London. Back in just a moment.




UNKNOWN: You can see it right here. You can see the slick collecting. It's, you know, so living in Orange County my whole life, this is kind of crazy to think.

UNKNOWN: The smell is pretty strong. We can even smell it out in the parking lot. So, yes, it smells bad.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Reaction there from residents following a major oil spill just off the coast of southern California. Thousands of barrels of oil have poured into the Pacific Ocean after a leak in a pipeline was discovered on Saturday.

Divers have been inspecting a stretched of pipeline spanning 17 miles or about 27 kilometers hoping to find the exact source of the spill. Officials now say the leak appears to have stopped but the threat to areas near Los Angeles is not over yet.

So let's bring in our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri who's been following this very closely. So Pedram, where is all of this oil going?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, it has made its way to the coastal communities unfortunately, Newport Beach onto areas around this region of about 30 miles south of Los Angeles as we're looking at them. The beach is certainly now dotted with tar in this landscape. And again, first observed on Saturday morning spanning out over 8,300 acres which is a little bit larger than the size of the city of Santa Monica to give you a sense scale of how much coverage there is over open waters with the particular spill in place.

But once you go in close to Southern California, we know there are some 23 oil rigs that are just off shore. Some have been decommissioned, some have been there since the 1960s. And about nine miles or so away from the coast there from Huntington Beach that is where we have the rig that is titled Ellie.

There are about four rigs out here, about nine miles off shore. They all have names that starts with the letter E. And kind of show you the polygons of where this located and go for a closer perspective because that second one that's Ellie.

And you notice the red line that's indicative of the pipeline. That spans about 17 miles as Rosemary just told you. That is where the leak is observed to the close there about five miles or so offshore is where they expect where they think the leak originated from.

But again, they put an end to the leak right now, it stopped it, but the spread of it is what's concerning. Because we know this particular oil it's actually post-production oil. So, it's not the same type of crude oil that we saw from the BP oil spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.

That particular raw crude was actually far more dense, far more thick. This is a little more lighter in density, certainly can spread a lot easily. And we know the currents across this region are conducive to spreading it. And we know the winds, certainly the onshore winds can bring it close to the coast. The off shore winds can push it off shore.

And that is certainly going to vary over the next several days. But current spill 130,000 gallons. You'll notice over 400,000 gallons spilled back in the 1990s spill. In 1969, that was a record, three3 million gallons spilled. And Rosemary, this is a very, very rich biodiverse area not just with a wild life when it comes to birds, but also fish. And that is a major concern across this region of Southern California.

CHURCH: The damage and the loss of life is going to be extensive. Thank you so much. Keeping a close eye on that, Pedram.

Well, across the (AUDIO GAP) is having its different set of oil issues. Starting today, the government is deploying the military to help deliver fuel to petrol stations. About 250 tanker personnel, half of whom are drivers are hitting the road.


It's part of the government's efforts to stabilize the nation's fuel supplies. A shortage of truck and the result in consumer fears has led to panic buying, long lines and empty pumps over the past week.

So, for more on that we want to go to CNN's Nina dos Santos. She joins us live from London. Good to see, Nina. So, the army is helping out by driving these trucks but what about a long-term solution, how's that working out? What's the plan?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's the big fear here across London and beyond also in Manchester where the conservative party is hosting their annual get together conference and Boris Johnson on the eve of that conference has acknowledged that this type of supply chain crises could last until Christmas.

Well, that is little comfort for drivers cuing up here right here in this full court, right off one of the main arteries west from London to Heathrow airport. As you can see people are so desperate for petrol, that even though there isn't any of these pumps they've got wind of the fact that there might be some coming within the next couple of hours and they're already starting to line up.

That's the scene that you're seeing right across London in the southeast. So, the real pressure point is across the rest of the country, the Petrol Retail Association, the main trade body for independent four courts of which they are 8,000 across the U.K. Rosemary, they've been saying that things are starting to ease. There is fuel in the pumps.

But the real pressure point, though, as I was saying, appears to be London and the southeast. The main urban and economic beating heart of the U.K. where one in five petrol and gas stations still remain empty.

And of course, as you pointed out, even though the army is starting to be mobilized to drive these tankers, the reality is that some of these urban areas like London, a very difficult places that require specialist knowledge of how to dispatch tankers and or that reason this is why you're still seeing limited supplies in places like London. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Absolutely. Thanks for staying on top of that. Nina dos Santos joining us from London. Many thanks.

Well, a huge trove of private financial documents now reveals how the rich and powerful have kept billions of dollars beyond the reach of taxes, creditors and accountability. In a project known as the Pandora papers, almost 12 million financial records were obtained by a team of reporters from the international consortium of investigative journalist, the Washington Post and hundreds more journalists worldwide.

Their report includes details on the off shore accounts of more than 130 people listed by Forbes as billionaires, and more than 330 politicians and public officials in more than 90 countries and territories.

According to the Washington Post, deep dive into it all, quote, "the Pandora papers allow for the most comprehensive accounting to date of a parallel financial universe whose corrosive effects can span generations draining significant sums from government treasuries, worsening wealth disparities and shielding the riches of those who cheat and steal while impeding authorities and victims in their efforts to find or recover hidden assets."

And we should note CNN has not done its own analysis of the legal legalities here and using these financial instruments could be perfectly legal depending on where and how they're used.

CNN's Pamela Brown spoke about them with Washington Post investigative foreign correspondent Greg Miller, one of the journalists reporting on the Pandora papers.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are these off shore accounts legal that you analyzed?

GREG MILLER, FOREIGN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. I mean, it depends. So, these companies that offer shell companies and so forth, they reside in jurisdictions where they are abiding by the laws of, say, the British Virgin Islands or Cyprus or other places around the world. And you're right to point out that there's not anything necessarily illegal about that but it does create a lot of problems. It leads to tax evasion.

These off shore systems are often exploited by criminals to hide ill- gotten gains, corrupt politicians and just -- and as you put it at the top of the show, I mean, just the very, very wealthy in moving money and hiding money in ways that the rest of us simply can't or don't tend to do.


CHURCH (on camera): According to the Washington Post, quote, offshore financial firms that responded to the ICIJ's and the Post request for comment issued statements asserting their compliance with legal mandates but declining to answer questions about their clients.


Well, we are following developments out of Afghanistan where an explosion has apparently targeted senior Taliban leaders in Kabul. The latest in a live report.

And later this hour, how extreme weather events across the world are raising the stakes of the upcoming U.N. climate summit. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back, everyone. The Taliban senior spokesman says an operation late Sunday in Kabul completely destroyed an ISIS cell and killed all the members in it. Now that came just hours after an explosion outside a mosque where senior Taliban leaders gathered for a funeral.

And our Nic Robertson is closely following the situation in Afghanistan and joins us now from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you, Nic. So, what are more you learning about this initial mosque explosion and then of course the Taliban's response to it?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: So far, no claim of responsibility and so far, the Taliban haven't said precisely how many people were killed, how many were injured. We don't know if anyone was killed, but they do say there were a number of casualties.

This was a funeral service for the mother of Zabihullah Mujahid, the main spokesman of the Taliban. You know, it appears to be by the very fact that the Taliban went after ISIS later that night saying that in this attack in police district 17 of Kabul, they completely destroyed and killed all ISIS members in this cell, it appears the Taliban are linking that attack from on mosque, the main mosque there in Kabul that they are linking it to ISIS.

The spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has told CNN and many other journalists that the Taliban doesn't have an ISIS problem, that the ISIS threat is minimal, that this is something that they have the capacity to take on.


But it does seem that what ISIS have done, if it is ISIS, and we don't know that, again I'm making this link because it seems to be the link that the Taliban are making have perpetrated a very large statement attack attacking senior Taliban members.

Now this comes hard on the heels of the Taliban going after in two separate attacks ISIS cells they say that were operating in Parwan which is the province just outside of Kabul. Right next to police district 17 where the operation took place on Sunday. There over the weekend on those Friday raids the Taliban say that they killed nine ISIS members and captured five.

Now local journalists speaking to eye witnesses say that at the sight of site of these attacks there appeared to be civilian casualties. Again, we don't have detailed confirmation of that. But what does appear to be happening at the moment is that the ISIS attacks against the Taliban that had been taking place in the east of the country and around Jalalabad Nangarhar province, the focus has now shifted right to Kabul and the doorstep of Kabul, if you will.

And this is a problem for the Taliban because they project themselves as being able to provide security and stability. And here at their core, at their leadership level they have been targeted. CHURCH: All right. Nic Robertson joining us live from Abu Dhabi. Many


And just ahead here on CNN, the fight to save the planet. Why some activists worry that the upcoming U.N. climate summit will do little more than deliver the same old empty promises.



CHURCH (on camera): The stakes are high as world leaders prepare to gather just weeks from now for the COP26 Climate Conference. The goal is to get firm commitments to limit global warming and turn back the climate crisis.

but as Becky Anderson reports some activist have little hope that real progress will be made.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Devastating floods, raging wildfires, monstrous hurricanes. Extreme weather events are increasing with intensity and frequency before our eyes. Signs that the planet is warming at an alarming rate and it's affecting our lives and our livelihoods.

World leaders will again come together to address the climate crisis and the larger issue of what is being done to prevent it from getting worse. This years' event COP26. The United Nations has put on the climate change summit for nearly three decades. This conference of the parties is attended by countries that signed the U.N.'s framework convention on climate change in 1994.

The 12-day event will be held in Glasgow in Scotland and it's hosted by the U.K. and Italy. More than 190 world leaders are expected to attend along with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses, and citizens. To secure global net zero emissions by mid-century and to keep 1.5-degree Celsius of global warming compared to pre-industrial temperatures within reach, countries must meet their emissions reductions targets, adapt to protect communities and natural habitats and they must mobilize finance.

Countries have to deliver on raising at least $100 billion in climate finance each year, something that was agreed to more than a decade ago in 2010 when the UNFCC see develop Green Climate Fund and work together to deliver on these goals. The organizer says the talks will be the world's best last chance to get the runaway climate crisis under control. And time is running out.

We've seen this movie before. Big conferences year after year where leaders commit to implement policies, yet little is done.

GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: Our leaders' intentional lack of work is a betrayal towards all present and future generations. The people in power cannot claim that they are trying because they are clearly not.

ANDERSON: While some climate advocates are skeptical at the possibility for real change, after so many parts of the world have been impacted by recent extreme weather events, event leaders are hopeful that this time the goals are attainable.

Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


CHURCH: All week long join us for more reporting on climate and biodiversity as part of Dubai expo 2020 right here on CNN.

Well, Spanish officials are warning a volcano in the Canary Islands is now erupting even more aggressively. The volcano on La Palma has been gushing lava for weeks now and the Canary Islands' president says it doesn't look like it's close to ending yet due to the millions of cubic meters of lava spewing out.

Spain's prime minister has pledged more than $238 million in aid to the island. More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed since the volcano first erupted.

Well, the winner of the Powerball jackpot is nobody. Saturday's $635 million drawing was the tenth largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history and Powerball's sixth largest ever. The next drawing is Monday night. The jackpot is expected to grow to at least $670 million by then. The record largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history just in case you want to know is just over $1.5 billion. Just hard to believe.


All right. Before we go, Saturday Night Live premiered its 47th season this weekend. The show's first order of business poking fun at Democrats who just can't seem to get on the same page to pass key pieces of President Biden's agenda. Take a listen.


UNKNOWN: On one side we had the moderate Democrats Krysten Sinema from Arizona.

UNKNOWN: What do I want from this bill? I'll never tell because I didn't come to Congress to make friends, and so far, mission accomplished.

UNKNOWN: Is it just me or does she look like one of the characters from Scooby Doo at the same time, another freedom like (Inaudible) the de facto president of the United Manchin from West Virginia.

UNKNOWN: Yes, that's right. I'm a Democrat from West Virginia. If I vote for electric cars, they're going to kill me.

UNKNOWN: Let's go through this agenda together because we're going to realize hey, we're on the same page. We're all saying the same damn thing. UNKNOWN: That's right. I'm saying we need at least 300 billion in

clean energy tax credits.

UNKNOWN: And I'm saying zero.

UNKNOWN: See, same page. There's a lot -- a lot of good stuff in this bill like 12 -- 12 weeks of paid family leave.

UNKNOWN: Six days.

UNKNOWN: Six whole days of paid --

UNKNOWN: Well, unpaid.

UNKNOWN: Unpaid six whole days.

UNKNOWN: Nights.

UNKNOWN: Six night of unpaid family hot leave. It's not a bad compromise, right? A lot -- let's go basic. Roads. Everyone Ok with roads.

UNKNOWN: I like roads.

UNKNOWN: Me too. Roads are where trucks live.

UNKNOWN: Krysten?

UNKNOWN: I want no roads.

UNKNOWN: No roads? Why?



CHURCH (on camera): Just about sums it up. Thanks for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Have yourself a wonderful day. CNN Newsroom continues next with Isa Soares in London.