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WAPO: How the Global Elite Hide Their Wealth in a Secretive System; North Korea Reopens Communications with South Korea; U.S. Urges Beijing to End Military Moves Against Taiwan; Explosion Kills Number of Civilians Outside Mosque; Tom Brady Makes History in Return to Face Patriots. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 04, 2021 - 04:30   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: ... those incursions by warplanes from the mainland.


SOARES: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Isa Soares. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top stories this hour.

A whistleblower sounding the alarm on Facebook saying the tech giant chose profits over public safety.

The U.K. government has deploy the military to deliver petrol to stations among the ongoing fuel crisis. We'll have much more ahead on "EARLY START" in about 30 minutes or so.

Now a huge trove of private financial documents now reveal 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's Papers," almost 12 million financial records were obtained by a team of reporters from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist, and the "Washington Post" and hundreds more journalists worldwide. They're report includes details on the offshore accounts of more than 150 people listed by Forbes as billionaires. And more than 330 politicians and public officials in more than 90 countries and territories.

Now, according to the "Washington Post," a deep dive, 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.


Now, we should note CNN has not done its own analysis here of the legalities here and using these financial instruments could be perfectly legal depending on where and how they're used of course. CNN's Pamela Brown spoke about them with the "Washington Post" foreign correspondent Greg Miller, one of the journalists reporting on the Pandora Papers. This is what he said.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Are these offshore accounts legal that you analyzed?

GREG MILLER, JOURNALIST: 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 Cypress 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 offshore 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 and hiding money in ways that the rest of us simply can't or don't tend to do.


SOARES: And according to the "Washington Post," quote: Offshore financial firms that responded to the ICIJ and The Post's requests for comment, issued a statement asserting their compliance with legal mandates but declining to answer questions about their clients.

Staying on top of that story for you.

Now, North Korea has reopened communications with South Korea after cutting ties, if you remember, earlier this year. South Korea's Unification Ministry confirming the North responded on hotline Monday morning and communications linked between the two countries militaries have also now been restored. The North Korea leader Kim Jong-un vowed to reconnect the hotlines with the South during a speech last week.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is following developments from Seoul and joins us now. And Paula, of course, communications is always a good thing. It will help, one hopes, to reduce the tensions to the Peninsula. Explain what's behind this decision from North Korea and what Kim Jong-un's aim here.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, it certainly been welcomed by Seoul. They're very happy and very optimistic that these hot lines have been rescored. But of course, we've been here a number of times before.

Now the fact that Kim Jong-un himself said last week in a speech that he wanted these hotlines resumed could suggest that they will stay resumed for some time. But we simply don't know, considering back in July of this year, they were restored. Once again there had been a year where they hadn't been connected, but then that lasted a matter of days and Pyongyang cut then hotlines once again. Saying that they weren't happy that the U.S. and South Korea were carrying out military drills which they wanted to be canceled. So, Pyongyang has a track record of using these hotlines as a way of showing their anger, their displeasure against South Korea and wanting them to do something different.

Now this is no different in that respect. We did hear from Pyongyang, from a number of different places, that they want South Korea to stop criticizing their missile launches. There have been a number of new weapons tests and missile launches in recent days and weeks from North Korea. There's no doubt that has been a significant uptick.

But what North Korea is saying is that South Korea is doing the same and have told them to abandon their, quote, double standards and illusions. Now South Korea, it's true, has been increasing its own new weapons launches and tests. A submarine launched a ballistic missile for example, having being tested in recent weeks.

So, what North Korea is saying is that there could be improved relations between the two Koreas, that things could get better and even floating the idea of a possible another summit between the two leader, something which South Korea president Moon Jae-in would be delighted with, but South Korea does have to do what North Korea wants it to -- Isa.

SOARES: Yes, it's good news. Let's see, like you said, Paula, how long it lasts. Paula Hancocks for us in Seoul, thanks very much, Paula. Good to see you.

And now the U.S. is urging Beijing to de-escalate after reports the mainland keeps sending warplanes into Taiwan's air defense identification zone. Now Taiwan officials say they saw a record number of incursions on Friday. And Saturday, the self-governing island scrambled its own aircraft and air defenses in response.

For the latest development let's bring in CNN's Will Ripley live for us from Taipei. And Will, put this in context for us. Why are we seeing an increase in the incursion by the Chinese military aircraft to Taiwan and is this a miscalculation or is it read as a provocation?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, Isa, because Beijing never really explicitly says why it does this. The timing is interesting because Beijing marks their national day celebrations more than 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China on Friday. They're in the middle of a holiday period right now. So, we cannot actually ask the ministry of foreign affairs for a response or comment because they're off.


But the military clearly is on. I mean, look at the number from Friday to Sunday, it's really eye-popping. The number of planes on Sunday did drop down from those record highs back-to-back on Friday and Saturday. But still you're looking at 93 Chinese warplanes including 80 fighters, four nuclear capable bombers, five antisubmarine aircraft and four early warning aircraft. And now we're getting a response from the United States which of course is watching very carefully all of these developments across the Taiwan Strait. The U.S. State Department putting out a statement saying that the

United States is very concerned by the People's Republic of China's provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability. We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan. The U.S. commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region.

Now these planes were flown not in Taiwanese airspace which covers the main island and extends 12 nautical miles from the coast, but that buffer zone known as the Air Defense Identification Zone, when planes enter a country's ADIZ -- and a lot of countries have them, China has them, the United States has it, Japan has it -- but they're asked basically to identify themselves. They're warned to leave if they're military aircraft. The Taiwanese Air Force scrambling its own warplanes and deploying air defense missile systems as a response to this. And there were multiple waves coming across day and night hours throughout the weekend.

But strategically what is most concerning is that a lot of these flights were near the Pratas Island, Isa, in the extreme southwest of the air defense identification zone. Pratas Island is occupied by Taiwan. They have a small airstrip there. They have a small number of soldiers there along with scientists and researchers. And this island's strategically very important to the security of Taiwan and very easy for China to take back militarily if it wanted to. So that is being looked at is one potential flash point here. And yes, there is growing concern that some sort of miscalculation could lead to an actual military confrontation.

SOARES: Will Ripley for us in Taipei this hour, thanks very much, Will.

Now, we are following developments out of Afghanistan, where an explosion has apparently targeted senior Taliban leaders in Kabul. We have a live report for you next.



SOARES: Now the Taliban senior spokesman says an operation late Sunday in Kabul completely destroyed an ISIS cell and killed all of the members in it. That came just hours after an explosion outside a mosque, where senior Taliban leaders gathered for a funeral.

CNN's Nic Robertson is following developments and joins us more with the latest. And Nic, what more do we know at this hour about the operation against the ISIS cell and has anyone claimed responsibility for the mosque attack?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: No claims of responsibility to the mosque attack. Details of precisely the nature of that operation, we don't have from the Taliban. There was recorded video from that area in Kabul last night, police district 17, that's significant because of its location, and I'll get to that.

But the video of what appeared to be that operation was heavy, heavy gunfire, the Taliban saying that they've gone in and completely neutralized that ISIS cell. What is significant about that location, PD-17, it's on the edge of Kabul, right next to the Parwan Province. On Friday, the Taliban said that they went in and destroyed two ISIS cells there in Parwan Province, that they killed nine of them, in that operation, and they arrested five of them. Local journalist, talking to eyewitnesses said there were women and children who were the victims, also victims in that attack.

But I think the big take-aways here, are that -- and I have to sort of predicate what I'm saying here about the attack on the funeral at the mosque -- is that the Taliban, although there's been no claim of responsibility, the Taliban's immediate reactions afterwards appear to be to go after that ISIS cell in Kabul.

So, if it is ISIS that have attacked the Taliban in the center of Kabul at this main mosque, it is a signature type attack. It is a statement attack. Because the Taliban, and in particular, the Taliban figure who this funeral was for, his family, his mother's death, has been quite clear telling journalists at CNN and other organizations that ISIS does not pose a big threat. Yet here, it appears to be -- and I say again it appears to be -- a signature attack by ISIS.

We don't know the number of casualties. The Taliban have said that there were some casualties. We don't know if among them are fatalities or injuries and all of that the Taliban has yet to make clear. So, at the moment, the big take-aways have to be that it appears as if the Taliban is cracking down on ISIS in Kabul, and close to Kabul, and it appears potentially as if ISIS has perpetrated a bigger attack in Kabul and that is damaging for the Taliban. Because their message to the population is they got in power, people's lives have been much safer. That doesn't -- that appears less true in Kabul now -- Isa.

SOARES: An important analysis from our Nic Robertson in Abu Dhabi. Great to see you, Nic, thanks very much.

Now, in London metropolitan police officers due in court today after he was charged with one count of rape. David Carrick is accused of attacking a woman last September while off duty. He was arrested and suspended from the force over the weekend.

It comes of course just days after another MET officer was sentenced to life without parole for the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard in March.

We'll have much more ahead in CNN NEWSROOM after a very short break. Do stay right here.



SOARES: Spanish officials are warning this volcano in the Canary Islands is now erupting even more intensely, as you can see there. The volcano on La Palma has been gushing lava for weeks now in the Canary Islands. It doesn't look like it is close to ending yet with millions of cubic meters of lava spewing out. Spain's Prime Minister has pledged more than $238 million in aid to the islands.

Oman says tropical cyclone Shaheen killed at least three people including a child as it hit the country on Sunday. Shaheen brought heavy rain -- as you can see there -- powerful winds and rain up to ten meters or 32 feet high. Shaheen has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. Authorities in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are taking precautions in case of any lingering effects this week.

Now, arguably the greatest NFL player of all time has added another record to the illustrious career. CNN's Don Riddell has that and more in our minute in sports -- Don.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Isa, Tom Brady went back to his old stomping ground in New England on Sunday night. He won the game against the Patriots, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he made history as well. It was a story book return for Brady with this pass to wide receiver Mike Evans in the first quarter. He became the NFL's all-time passing yards leader. Surpassing the Saints legend Drew Brees who had held the record since 2018. The Bucks also won the game but only because Nick Folk's long field goal attempt came back off the uprights in the final minutes.

Meanwhile in the Premiere League, Liverpool still unbeaten. There is Egyptian star Mohamed Salah scoring a wonder goal in the big clash against the defending champions Manchester City. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. Liverpool are one point off the lead.

And there was an extraordinary result in France, where Paris Saint- Germain lost their first league game of the season despite starting with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, all on the field. They were humbled by Rennes, a team from the bottom half of the table. Despite their galaxy of stars, PSG didn't even manage one shot on target.


Isa, back to you.


SOARES: Thanks very much, Don.

Now the numbers are in and "Venom: Let There Be Carnage " cleaned up at the box office this weekend.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I say either. You say either. I say neither. I say neither.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SOARES: Now I haven't seen it but the film is Marvel Studio's "Black Widow" as the biggest earner at the U.S. box office during the pandemic. It raked in more than $90 million over the weekend, with a theatrical only run. The super villain sequel is giving some theaters the best October yet and of course they needed that.

And some lucky American could be one lottery ticket away from the life of leisure. There were no jackpot winners after Saturday's Powerball drawing and that means the grand prize is climbing yet again. Get this, $617 million if a single winner claims the jackpot and takes the cash option. They'll walk away with almost $475 million, before taxes. And the odds of anyone's ticket hitting the grand prize are one in 292 million which is the eighth largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history. Good luck to you.

And that does it for me. Thanks very much for joining. "EARLY START" with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett is up next. They'll have much more of course on the Facebook whistleblower story going public. That's next right here on CNN. Have a wonderful day. Bye-bye.