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Whistleblower Going Against Facebook; Instagram Harming Teenage Girls; Taliban Killed 13 Ethnic Hazaras; Dreams Shuttered for Young Students; Taiwan Watches China's Move; U.S. Pressure China on Trade. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 05, 2021 - 03:00   ET




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

Just ahead on CNN Newsroom, the tech world focuses on Washington where a former Facebook employee will testify how the social media giant put its profits above concerns for the public good.

Risking their lives and defying the Taliban, CNN's Clarissa Ward in Kabul reports on the women protesting for their rights.

And later, the French Catholic Church braces for a report revealing thousands of its priests and clerics abused minors for decades.

Thank you for joining us.

Well, the Facebook whistleblower with stunning allegations against the company will testify on Capitol Hill just hours from now. Frances Haugen, a former Facebook manager says that she uncovered evidence proving the company knew its platforms were fueling hate, spreading misinformation and harming the mental health of young users.

She says they chose to hide it from the public to protect their profits. She has handed over thousands of internal documents to prove her claims. Facebook denies the allegations saying that it has investigated significantly in keeping its platform safe.

Meantime, the social media giant is recovering from a global outage that crippled its services for hours on Monday. Facebook blame the problem on a faulty configuration change and says there's no evidence that user data was compromised.

Well, we are also learning new details about how Facebook's Instagram platform could be actively harming its younger users especially teenage girls.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER (voice over): Eternally starved. I have to be thin. Skin and bone. All Instagram pages the platform's algorithm suggest an account registered to a 13-year-old girl should follow.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): What we did was to create a 13-year- old who expressed interest in weight loss and dieting. And then within a day she was flooded with recommendations for accounts concerning eating disorders and personal injury.

FRANCES HAUGEN, FORMER FACEBOOK EMPLOYEE: And what's very tragic is Facebook's own research says as these young women begin to consume this eating disorder content, they get more and more depressed and it actually makes them use the app more. And so, they end up in this feedback cycle where they hate their bodies more and more.

Facebook's own research says it is not just that Instagram is dangerous for teenagers, that it harms teenagers. It's that it is distinctly worse than other forms of social media.

O'SULLIVAN: That's the whistleblower Frances Haugen who leaked thousands of documents from Facebook including the company's own research like this, a presentation about the dangers of Instagram for teenagers. We make body issues worse for one and three girls reads one slide. Teens who struggle with mental health say Instagram makes it worse reads another.

Instagram said eternally starved, I have to be thin, skin, and bone. The accounts that it had promoted through its algorithm broke the company's rules encouraging eating disorders but they only remove the accounts after being contacted by CNN.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is a leading lawmaker calling for change.

BLUMENTHAL: This experience shows very graphically how these claims to protect children or takedown accounts that may be dangerous to them are absolute hogwash. In fact, it was not taken down until CNN brought it to their attention.

O'SULLIVAN: A spokesperson for Instagram's parent company Facebook said it uses technology and reports from users to remove content that violate its rules on eating disorders as quickly as it can, adding they are always working to improve.

CHELSEA KRONENGOLD, SPOKESPERSON, NATIONAL EATING DISORDERS ASSOCIATION: With eating disorders some social media we do know that there is a social comparison component. And so, the more time that people spend on social media and they are looking at accounts that may be inspiration or there is a term that's called 'thinpiration ' or 'fitpiration.' We know that that can definitely increase social comparison, and therefore result in negative body image and negative mental health.



O'SULLIVAN (on camera): If you are affected by any of these issues we touched on in that story and here are some resources that may be able to help.

I just want to underline what you saw in that piece, I mean, quite remarkable, as far as Instagram that was the account belonging to a real 13-year-old girl. And as soon as that account started liking content about dieting, about eating disorders Instagram's algorithm began recommending to that account, to that person, to that young person, to that child more and more accounts glorifying eating disorders.

We're going to be hearing a lot more about this today in the U.S. as the Facebook whistleblower testifies before Congress.

Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: And let's look at that. CNN's Anna Stewart joins me now live from London. Good to see you, Anna.

So, after the shocking allegations what all can we expect from Haugen's testimony today do you think.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: I think we're going to hear a lot more about Haugen's experiences working for Facebook. I think she is going to again call for lawmakers to do more to make Facebook more accountable with regulations. While the subcommittee hearing was and is focused on the rest of the social media platforms posed to children, I think we'll actually get a really broad spectrum of questions from senators. Including, perhaps, you know, situations that perhaps Facebook could have prevented.

I think they might ask, for instance, about the attack on the U.S. capitol. Could Facebook have alerted law enforcement sooner? There is no doubt that what we hear today will add, strengthen like a (Inaudible) of course really for tighter regulation from the federal government, federal oversight of the social media firms.

What Haugen made clear in what she said was that Facebook is prioritizing profits she says over safety. So, they are not clearly self-regulating here. This of course if there was added regulation would be hugely damaging to Facebook as are all of these allegations which they do deny.

Facebook owns, WhatsApp owns, Instagram, its share price is down over 15 percent, I believe over the last month. It was down just 5 percent yesterday. So, this is not good. We will be hearing from Facebook today, though, Rosemary. They have spoken to the subcommittee hearing last week, so no immediate response from senators today.

CHURCH: We'll be listening very closely to that testimony, of course. I also wanted to ask you, Anna, what is the latest on the impact of that six hours or so of outage for the company. Hitting all three of its platforms? STEWART: I mean, what a week and what an outage. Six hours. I think

we all go into a bit of a panic, wonder whether it was our phones and then immediately worried is this a cyberattack? Now we now know from Facebook that it was actually something much less malevolent. They've called it a faulty configuration change on some of their routers which coordinate network traffic.

They said it had a cascading effect which is why I guess it impacted all three platforms and people absolutely all over the world. This was a minor irritation for most of us, not being able to WhatsApp, not being to check our Instagram, not being to post to Facebook. But for some people this is their living. This is how influencers, gamers make money.

So I think there will, there will be a dent on confidence in terms of the Facebook platforms today. And my goodness, what a terrible start to the week for Facebook. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. They've got a few things to deal with. Anna Stewart, many thanks, bringing us up to date on that situation. I appreciate it.

Well, a new investigation by Amnesty International accuses Taliban forces of killing 13 ethnic Hazaras shortly after the Taliban reclaim power in Afghanistan. Amnesty International says it happened in a central Afghan province in late August. It cites eyewitness accounts that say among those killed were nine former government soldiers who had surrendered and a teenage girl as she attempted to flee.

The report will heighten concerns that ethnic and religious minorities including the largely Shia Hazara ethnic group will be targeted as they were under the previous Taliban rule.

Well, despite promises from the Taliban to respect women's rights, there is growing evidence that's not happening.

CNN's chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward has that part of the story from Kabul.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A handful of women stand quietly but defiantly. They are here to protest the Taliban's de facto ban on girls going to school after fifth grade, a small act of great courage. Taliban fighters start to pour in their heavily armed presence a menacing question mark.

A new arrival appears unsure of whether to get out of her car. For a moment it seems the Taliban may have come to protect the women. But the illusion is quickly shattered.

Someone from the Taliban has just come in telling everyone to put away their cameras. It's getting a little tense over there.

[03:10:05] Senior Talib rips a phone out of one woman's hands. His men shoved journalists back. We try to keep filming but the Taliban don't want the world to see. They are ripping the woman's posters. No. Put it away. Put it away.

A machine burst sends a clear message. The protest is over. Mullah de Nasetalla (Ph) tells as he is the head of the Taliban's intelligence services in Kabul and that the woman did not have permission to protest.

WARD: Why there's a small group of women asking for the right to be educated threaten you so much?

"I respect women's rights. I respect human rights," he says. "If I didn't respect women you wouldn't be standing here."

Would you have given them permission if they had asked for one?

"Yes, of course," he says. "We would have."

But permissions are elusive and previous protests have met a similar fate. On the streets of Herhana (Ph) neighborhood the consequences of one recent demonstration can still be seen. At almost every beauty salon, images of women's faces have been defaced as if to erase them from public life completely. The women inside this salon are too scared to appear on camera.


UNKNOWN: Sala mulay kum (Ph).

WARD: Sala mulay kum (Ph). How are you?

I asked them about the posters outside. Who did it?

UNKNOWN: Taliban.

WARD: The Taliban did it.


WARD: The Taliban came and drove away the protesters. Then they cursed us and said to remove the posters, they tell me. They told us to put on a burqa and sit in our homes. But the city is full of brave women like Arzo Khaliqyar who refused to do that. The activist and mother of five says she was forced to become a taxi driver when her husband was murdered one year ago, leaving behind his car but little else.

Tell me a little bit about how life has changed for you since the Taliban took power?

ARZO KHALIQYAR, TAXI DRIVER (through translator): A lot of changes, too many. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

WARD: It's OK. Take your time. It's OK. KHALIQYAR (through translator): Since the Taliban regime has come to

power it has become very difficult.

WARD: She offers to take us for a ride. It's another small act of courageous resistance. While the Taliban have not officially banned women from driving, she says she has received threats and that the militants hit her car two weeks ago as a warning.

I see the man they stare at you.


WARD: They look at you.


WARD: It's not long before she picks up fare. Usually she refers to take women and stay in areas she's familiar with.

Are you aware of the risks that you are taking when you go out every day and do your work?

KHALIQYAR (through translator): Yes, yes. And some places where I see Taliban checkpoints, I'm forced to go through a street or change my route. But I accepted this rose for the sake of my children.

WARD: On the other side of town, English teacher Atifa Watanyar is also working hard to give her students a better future. The past year has not been easy. In May, a horrific bombing targeted the Syed Al- Shahda School where she teaches taking more than 80 innocent lives.

So, you were here when the explosions happened?

ATIFA WATANYAR, TEACHER: Yes, I was in front of the door.

WARD: You are in front of the door? Did you see it with your own eyes?

WATANYAR: Yes, yes. I saw a very huge explosion in front of the other door.

WARD: Incredibly, the school reopened. But weeks later the Taliban swept to power and announced that for the time being from 6 through 12th grade only boys should come to school.

It is just a very striking that a bomb was not able to stop these girls coming from school.


WARD: But now the Taliban has been able to stop them from coming to school.

WATANYAR: Yes, it's true. Every day I see the Taliban in the streets I become -- I be afraid.

WARD: But you're still coming here every day? You're still teaching?

WATANYAR: Yes, what should you do? What should we do? It is just something that we can do for our children, for our daughters, for our girls.


WARD: In the fifth-grade classroom the girls are excited to test their English skills.

Hi. I want you to raise your hand if you love school. Wow! Everybody loves school.

This may well be the last year they get to come and study. Yet, they are still full of hope for the future.

Raise your hand to tell me what you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to be?

UNKNOWN: Doctor.

WARD: Doctor. OK. Who else wants to be a doctor? We have a lot of doctors. Sixteen-year-old Sanam (Ph) used to have dreams too. She wanted to be a dentist. The explosion at her school left her with serious injuries but she was brave enough to go back for the sake she says of her close friend who could not.

UNKNOWN (through translator): I felt that I must go back and study for the peace of her soul. I must study and build my country so that I can make her wishes and dreams come true.

WARD: So right now, you cannot go to school, how does that make you feel?

UNKNOWN (through translator): I feel all my dreams are crushed and buried for I won't be allowed to go to school and study. All my motivation is completely gone.

WARD: It's OK. Take a minute. It's OK. If you want to stop, we can stop. It's totally OK.

UNKNOWN (through translator): The Taliban are the people who -- they are the cause of the situation I am in right now. My spirit is gone. My dreams are buried.

WARD: And yet, recently she has started to read her books again and study a little bit every day. Just one more small act of great courage.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, Kabul.


CHURCH (on camera): Powerful report there. We'll take a short break. Still to come, Beijing intensifies its pressures on Taiwan sending a record number of war planes near the island. But Taiwan's air force sends a blunt counter message on Facebook. That's coming up.

Plus, the U.S. says enough is enough when it comes to what it calls China's unfair trade policy. My interview with a former U.S. ambassador to China, that's coming up.



CHURCH (on camera): Taiwan's president says if Beijing took over the island, the consequences would be catastrophic for the entire region. President Tsai Ing-wen wrote an op-ed in foreign affairs magazine after yet another incursion by the mainland's air force.

Taiwan says at least 56 warplanes flew into its air defense identification zone on Monday, a new record.

And for the latest on all of this we join Will Ripley live from Taipei. Good to see you, Will. So how big threat does this rising tension between China and Taiwan pose for the region and indeed beyond?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you read what President Tsai Ing-wen wrote for foreign affairs she described Taiwan with its relatively young democracy only since 1992 or so have people actually elected their leaders. She describes it really as sitting at a crossroads of a conflict between authoritarianism like in the mainland China and democracy like the United States.

You have these two titans, kind of clashing in this part of the world in the Indo-Pacific region. And she paints Taiwan as kind of being right front and center in that ideological battle and she says the outcome will really shape the future. A future full with, you know, full of authoritarian systems for future and for democracy.

So, when you lay it out like that it makes this small island of around 24 million people become a much bigger issue. From the Beijing perspective, this is a sovereign -- this is not a sovereign state. This is a rogue province that could be taken back at any time.

From the perspective of the leadership here in Taiwan this is a small island standing up against a big bully and a behemoth. And they point to aerial incursions like the ones that have been having consistently and in ever increasing numbers since Friday as examples of that.

You have, if you look at the placed of planes you have 149 Chinese warplanes including fighters and bombers and anti-submarine and early warning aircraft into skies near this island not breaching its airspace which extends 12 nautical miles from the coast but the entering the air defense identification zone, which is when the Taiwanese air force scrambles their fighters, they issue radio warnings.

And over the weekend, they even put out their own propaganda video. And I'm going to show you just a quick portion of it because they're trying to send their own message back to the mainland and to their own domestic audience.

The message of this video that they will defend their airspace. They will defend Taiwan if it comes under threat. And while these flybys are not a direct military threat, some analysts have likened it to psychological or political warfare. And you have the premier of Taiwan talking about these escalations just within the last couple hours of hours or so here in Taipei.


SU TSENG-CHANG, TAIWAN PREMIER (through translator): Taiwan definitely needs to be on alert. China is increasingly over the top. The world has also seen China's repeated violations of regional peace and pressure on Taiwan.


RIPLEY (on camera): Chinese state media has said that these flybys near Taiwan are a part of their national day celebrations on Friday. They mark 72 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China. Or, Rosemary, could they be a response to aircraft carrier activity and warship activity in this region.

You have warships and aircraft carriers from a number of countries including Japan, the United States, the U.K., New Zealand, and Canada all engaging in various naval exercises in this part of the world. A lot of military hardware and some fear an increasing chance of some sort of miscalculation or misunderstanding.

CHURCH: Yes, that is always the big worry in these situations, isn't it? Will Ripley joining us live from Taipei, many thanks.

Well, as military tensions grow in the Pacific, the U.S. says it's ready to use more leverage to press China on trade. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai spoke after a review of the China trade policy. She said Washington will keep its options open to push back against what she called unfair practices from Beijing. That could include slapping new tariffs on some Chinese imports while lifting tariffs from others.

The U.S. will also push China to live up to its commitments in a trade deal signed under former President Donald Trump. Tai said Beijing has ignored international trade rules far too long and other countries paid the price.



KATHERINE TAI, U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: These policies have reinforced a zero-sum dynamic in the world economy where China's growth and prosperity come at the expense of workers and economic opportunity here in the U.S. and other market based democratic economies.

As our economic relationship with China evolves, so too must or tactics to defend our interests. As the years go by, stakes keep getting higher and boosting American competitiveness becomes all the more important. Our strategy must address these concerns while also being flexible and agile to confront future challenges from China that may arise.


CHURCH: Former U.S. Ambassador to China, Max Baucus joins me now to talk more about this. Pleasure to have you with us, sir.


CHURCH: So, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai says China's growth and prosperity come at the expense of workers and economic opportunity in the U.S. and elsewhere. And that's why she says the Biden administration will seek new talks with China over its failure to keep promises made in a trade deal struck with former President Donald Trump.

So, what needs to be discussed at those talks when they happen and is now the time to do this?

BAUCUS: Well, I think this is a statement by Katherine Tai under the direction of the White House to say something to show that the U.S. is coming up with this own China policy. The real danger here facing the administration is that if they show too much consolation towards China, they'll be attacked roundly by the hawks in the United States Congress by the Republican Party that Biden is too soft on China.

On the other hand, the administration is that much tougher on China than it is thus far, that's widened the gap between the United States and China for some more decoupling more polarization between the two. And I think the administration does not want to do that.

So, they had Ms. Tai make a statement which basically says that we're going to talk to China. Talk to China about the phase one deal asking China to live up to the commitments that China made in phase one.

CHURCH: So, you're pretty much saying it's a no-win situation either way. So how do the U.S. and indeed other nations defend their interests against China? What needs to happen?

BAUCUS: Well, to be totally honest I think the United States and China today are somewhat of a stalemate. China is China. The U.S. is U.S. The United States has enacted sanctions and these tariffs were designed to quote, "change China's behavior," forced China to make some changes. And China is not making a lot of changes.

And although it's very important for Katherine Tai to talk to Liu He as there may be some ways or some new ground they might see. Frankly, I'm not holding my breath that there's going to be major changes to U.S. policy towards China in the next couple of years.

CHURCH: Well, there has to be a strategy that will work there. And I guess that's what I'm trying to find out what would you advise? I mean, do you expect Katherine Tai to rule out the use of new tariffs? To push China to meet the phase one commitment made during the Trump presidency. Or could she go in the other direction? Or should she? What tools should she used to bring China into compliance?

BAUCUS: I'm an optimist basically generally as my disposition. I'm also a realist and I see that this movement as this motion by Katherine Tai is basically a statement trying to reassure everybody that yes, we're still thinking about China. But I don't know where the beef is. That is, I don't know where the real specifics are to see anything really significant.

On the other hand, it's very important to keep talking. And my experience a big mistake the United States has made and China has made in the last several years is to withdraw a lot of the Trans-Pacific communication.

When I was ambassador to China there was a lot of communications back and forth at different levels. The last couple years there's been virtually none. So, it's very important to talk and at least Katherine Tai talking to Liu He is something. It's a start. And I hope they come up with something.

CHURCH: Former U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, many thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.

BAUCUS: Thank you.

CHURCH: And coming up next, a trove of financial documents reveals how the world's rich and powerful have kept their assets hidden for years. We will dive deeper into the investigation that's brought these details to light.

Plus, a new report on sexual abuse within the French Catholic Church is due out any moment. And one survivor says the findings will unveil a tsunami of victims. Details of that report just ahead.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. We are following reaction to a report exposing the hidden financial dealings of some of the world's wealthy elite. The so-called Pandora Papers investigation done by an international group of journalists gives an eye-opening look at how hundreds of politicians, public officials, billionaires, and celebrities hide their assets and in some cases, allegedly evade taxes.

CNN's Matthew Chance has the details.


GERALD RYLE, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS: This is the Pandora Papers, because we think we're opening a box on a lot of things.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's one of the world's biggest ever leaks of financial documents. Nearly 12 million private files exposing the secret wealth of world leaders, billionaires, and celebrities, crucially where it's stashed.

RYLE: These documents, for the very start time, are actually showing the U.S. as a tax havens itself?

UNKNOWN: As collectively in facing this --

CHANCE: Among the most high-profile is King Abdullah of Jordan, whose nation benefits from hundreds of millions of dollars every year in international aid including from the United States. The Pandora Papers alleged the king funneled more than $100 million into 14 luxury homes in Britain and the U.S. including three mansions in Malibu, overlooking the Pacific Coast.

In a written statement the Jordanian royal court said the allegations included inaccuracies and distorted the facts saying these properties are not publicized out of security and privacy concerns, and not out of secrecy or an attempt to hide them.

Other leaders like the Czech Prime Minister facing elections this week are under more immediate pressure. He says, allegations he secretly bought a lavish estate on the French Riviera by moving $22 million to offshore shell companies with timed to damages his campaign.

I've never done anything unlawful or bad, he tweeted in response. But that does not prevent them from trying to slam to me again and to influence the Czech Parliamentary Elections, he added.

RYLE: We're talking about some of the most famous people in the world that are in these documents, presidents, prime ministers --

CHANCE: Most of the transactions detailed in the papers are not illegal. But some of the figures named are no strangers to allegations of corruption. For instance the Pandora Papers contains documents linking the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to a multimillion dollar property in Monaco. The lobby pictured here bought for a woman with whom he's alleged to have an affair and a child.


The Kremlin refuses to comment on Putin's private life saying, it's never heard that the woman concerned. And on the Pandora allegations, Putin's spokesman told reporters they were unsubstantiated and would not be investigated further.

LAKSHMI KUMAR, POLICY DIRECTOR, GLOBAL FINANCIAL INTEGRITY: The financial centers of the world, like the U.S., Europe -- leaders are able to funnel and siphon money away and hide it in these jurisdictions through the use of anonymous companies.

CHANCE: Of course, it's not just politicians implicated in the Pandora Papers. Top business figures, even music icons, like Shakira, who denies any wrongdoing have also had private financial dealings exposed in the data release, shedding light on the secret assets of the superrich.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Any moment now, a new report on abuses within the French Catholic Church is expected to be released. The investigation by an independent commission says there were as many as 3,200 pedophile clergymen in the church over the past 70 years. The probe which began more than two years ago includes allegations of abuse going back to the 1950s.

And CNN's Cyril Vanier joins us live from Paris with more on this. Good to see you Cyril. So, what more are you learning about what's in this report and, of course, how will the French Catholic Church likely respond to it?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN SHOW HOST (on camera): Rosemary, the independent commission has just begun the presentation of its findings, the results of 2.5 years of work during which they had access to the churches archives, to criminal records, they put out feelers and contacted thousands of people to identify directly victims of abuse, people who were minors when they were abused in the Catholic Church.

And in the wider galaxy of the Catholic Church, that includes Catholic schools, youth movements, like The Scouts, etcetera. And before long, they are going to reveal the size and scope of this problem, Rosemary. How many minors were abused within the French Catholic Church since 1950?

We know that will run at least in the thousands. But is it more than that? Tens of thousands? Is it even more than that, Rosemary? We are going to get a precise number on the number of victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

And that, of course, is going to make this report a landmark moment, not just for the victims, because they are always going to provide them some form of closure. Although I would have to let them really describe whether closures is the right word to describe what is happening today, so some form of really turning a page and, of course, it is going to be a landmark moment for the leadership of the French Catholic Church which has told CNN they know this will quote, "change everything." Rosemary.

CHURCH: And so, presumably they have prepared statement because they are expecting all of this. It's very difficult to tell people or to explain to people how this has been happening within the Catholic Church.

VANIER: And that is precisely part of the reason of all this research. It's not just the size of the problem but it's also how this was allowed to happen. Is it also still an ongoing problem or is it a thing of the past, and what should the church do about this now. The whole point of this is that this cannot be swept under the rug.

Once we have numbers, names, faces, where we are able to get a sense of the size of the problem. The point is that it can't be swept under the rug so that it cannot be repeated, and so that the authorities of the church have to grapple with this problem. Now it's important to be said, Rosemary, that this is happening on

account of the church. They are the ones who commissioned this report and in recent years the church has started to take steps, (inaudible) steps, some might say, to prevent abuse within the church.

CHURCH: Alright, Cyril Vanier, reporting live from Paris, many thanks.

Time for a short break. Still ahead, Ethiopia's Prime Minister takes the oath for a new term in office. But he is facing a huge crisis in the northern part of the country. We'll explain on the other side of the break. Stay with us.



CHURCH: Ethiopia's Prime Minister is promising to protect his country from foreign interference. Abiy Ahmed was sworn in for a new five year term on Monday. Facing global criticism for his handling of the war in the northern Tigray region. Tens of thousands of people turned out for the inauguration and a parade, a rare sight in the capital, Addis Ababa. Mr. Abiy who won the Nobel Peace Prize back in 2019, called for a national dialogue to address the war. And he praised Ethiopia's strides toward democracy.


ABIY AHMED, ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Although the six national election couldn't be said to be free from all blemishes and a successful as we had desired it would be, it has opened up a new chapter to actualize the dream of establishing and sustaining a democratic system which had been the question for a long time. It has opened a new chapter and made us move one step forward.


CHURCH: Meanwhile, the conflict in Tigray has created a humanitarian disaster with hundreds of thousands of people starving. And now Ethiopia has expelled seven U.N. staffers who were coordinating assistance in the region. A U.N. spokesman confirms all seven had been removed from the country for their own safety. The U.S. has condemned the expulsions and threatened sanctions against those who obstruct humanitarian efforts.

Well, joining me now from Nairobi, Kenya, William Davison, is the senior Ethiopia analyst at the International Crisis Group. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, what more were you learning about why the seven U.N. staffers were expelled from the country at a time when they are most needed in the midst of this humanitarian disaster. DAVISON: I think this is a combination of the tensions floating

between the federal government and the U.N. at the broader international system. There has been a number of suggestions from the government that the -- like humanitarian actors are siding with Tigray's government or its ruling party, the TPLF, during this conflict.

Of course, the humanitarian actors say they are just trying to deliver aid to people and a region in need. But that is being perceived as support by the federal government and that's what I think lead to these expulsions.

CHURCH: Let's look a little deeper and why we are seeing this disagreement between Ethiopia and its western partners on the conflict, and of course, the humanitarian operations in the country. So this just -- it appears there's this misunderstanding in the role that they play.

DAVISON: Partly, it's also a political difference. And right from the outset of this war, Prime Minister Abiy's government has said that the war is just the Tigray's leaders engaged in treason, armed rebellion, and that there will be no negotiations with what the federal government now classifies as a terrorist group.

Now the position of the international communities at this war is a disaster for everyone in Ethiopia. And regardless of its causes that there is a need for a negotiated settlement to it, and there was a need for unimpeded humanitarian access to the region.


Those positions goes straight up against Addis Ababa's position that the needs to be essentially a military solution base, because of the actions of Tigray's leadership. That essentially the difference that leads the type of action we've seen recently.

CHURCH: And so with hundreds of thousands of people in the country still starving, what happens next in terms of humanitarian operations in Ethiopia? And how much hope do you have that a crisis can be averted here?

DAVISON: The situation is desperate and of course, these expulsions that will harm the operations directly, they also potentially create a chilling effect on other humanitarians. But the real problem here is the politics that is driving or is likely to be continued conflict.

There was essentially no end in sight to the fighting. The Tigray forces the regional forces have actually gone on the offensive in the last few months. They say they're trying to overcome this federal blockade on the region that the international community also had criticized.

But that action by Tigray forces, that has led to mobilization on the federal side. So we are actually likely to see intensified fighting here, all the while as what are already famine conditions get worse in Tigray and potentially leads to the deaths of thousands of people. CHURCH: Yeah. That is truly worrying indeed. William Davison, thank

you so much for talking with us, we appreciate it.

DAVISON: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, Haiti's fired justice minister is calling for the Prime Minister to resign until just a few weeks ago, Rockefeller Vincent was overseeing the still unsolved investigation into the assassination of Haiti's former president. Now he is on the outside looking in and accuses Prime Minister Ariel Henry of a cover up.

CNN's Matt Rivers is in Mexico City with the details. Matt?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): So basically we have two competing interviews here now that we did over the past few days. One with the ex-minister of justice in Haiti and the other one with the interim minister of justice. And it's the ex-minister of justice who is essentially now calling on Haiti's Prime Minister to resign after what he calls a political cover-up.

Our viewers will remember that it was just within the last few weeks that the Haitian Prime Minister fired both the ex-minister of justice and also the country's former top prosecutor after the top prosecutor said that he wanted to bring unspecified charges against the Prime Minister in relation to the assassination of the Former Haitian President, Jovenel Moise.

This according to the top prosecutor because Ariel Henry, the Prime Minister had a phone call the night of the assassination with one of the top suspects in this case. The ex-justice minister basically saying, look if we got fired as a result both himself and the top prosecutor after bringing up allegations of wrongdoing by the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister fired them right afterwards, well, what else could it be besides a political cover-up?

Here's a little bit of what he had to say.


ROCKEFELLER VINCENT, FORMER HAITIAN JUSTICE MINISTER: In all serious countries, once you are implicated in such an affair, the Prime Minister should offer his resignation. He should resign. And we are still waiting for him to resign, because on the night of the president's death, a few hours later, he had phone conversation with the president's assassin.


RIVERS: Now for the Prime Minister's party had strongly denied any accusations of wrongdoing and the current interim justice minister told me that there was nothing that would warrant -- an arrest warrant as a result of the Prime Minister having that phone call that night, basically telling us, he took many phone calls that night. The Prime Minister said he has no recollection of that phone call.

The interim justice minister telling us that he has full confidence in the investigation as it is moving forward right now. He calls it independent. But we asked him, how could anyone have confidence in this investigation both in Haiti and the international community because it has taken so long? Because there had been so many political twists and turns. Would he maintain his confidence? And he said the investigation needs to take as long as it needs to. Here is what he had to say.


LISZT QUITEL, INTERIM HAITIAN JUSTICE MINISTER: This is a very prominent case for a party. Well, we cannot, you know, you know watch into completion and then when we make it to (inaudible), I mean, the loyalist of the defendants can now can see (inaudible) and even (inaudible), then we cannot educate and then they go free.


RIVERS: So basically saying there, look, the investigation needs to go for as long as it needs to in order for the result of the investigation to be conclusive and to stand up in a future trial against any key suspects. But I think it is safe to say that yet again as so many times we have seen since this assassination, the political infighting, back and forth can creating a sense of uncertainty surrounding this investigation.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.


CHURCH: And we will be back in just a moment. Do stay with us.


CHURCH: I just want to update you on one of our top stories. The French report on clergy abuse, the numbers have just been released. More than 200,000 minors have been sexually abused by French Catholic Clergy over the last seven decades. Let's go to our Cyril Vanier, he joins us live now from Paris. That is just an extraordinary number. What else are you learning from this just released report?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN SHOW HOST (on camera): Well, Rosemary, let's first take a moment, I think to take in this number, it is absolutely staggering and this really is what the commission has spent 2.5 years collating. How many people have been abused by the Catholic Church in France since 1950?

We can now put a number on that question. It's an estimated 216,000 minors. And that number could be up to 270,000 people. It really it is a very high number of estimated victims of abused on minors within the Catholic Church over a 70 year period. Now up to 3,200 pedophiles have worked for the Catholic Church during that time span.

And just as important, the commission through forensic statistical work has revealed how likely it was for abuse to occur within the Catholic Church. That number of the prevalence of abuse is 0.8 percent. Now, for a lot of people they are going to say, well, that sounds low.

No, it means that family and friends notwithstanding because those are the environments where abused happens the most frequently on minors. Family and friends notwithstanding the Catholic Church has been the most dangerous area of socializing for minors in France since 1950.

Twice as high as things like holiday camps, sporting events, schools, of course. Three times as high as those if you factor in the wider catholic environment, meaning youth movements and catholic schools, Rosemary.

So, this is going to be, this is as of now a bombshell. A landmark day for the Catholic Church. I know, Rosemary, that, you know, we journalists are prone to overreacting when reporting in the moment, but I do think there is going to be a before and an after for the Catholic Church.

CHURCH: Yeah. And there will be an expectation to hear from the church and to hear how they can give some sort of guarantee that they will do something to make sure this doesn't happen going forward. Cyril Vanier bringing us the very latest live from Paris. I appreciate it.

Well, a global airline industry is setting an ambitious climate target. Net zero carbon emissions within the next 30 years. The announcement came during this year's meeting of the International Air Transport Association. The group's director general sat down with CNN's Richard Quest to discuss the industry's new goal and why he says other industries also need to step up.


WILLIE WALSH, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION: We have to be in a position to represent the industry and to represent the industry, the industry has to have a credible position that is aligned to the Paris agreements. That is aligned to what people expect as a minimum that you will achieve net zero by 2050.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR (voice over): People still believe this is the major polluter, the major problem and you can fluff around with (inaudible) and you can do this on the other, but you still find the same planes, and the same airports, and the same procedures.

WALSH: What we have to do as airlines is we got to demand better performance from others. We've got to demand that the fuel companies commit to developing sustainable aviation fuels. They had talked about it for years, we've not seen enough action. We got to demand the manufactures, Boeing, Airbus, G.E., (Inaudible), Rolls Royce, we have to have accelerated technology. And we got to demand that air traffic control system sort themselves out.

QUEST: You've demanded from the (inaudible), from the fuel. You've demanded from the airlines. You've demanded from the governments. There's a lot of demands here --

WALSH: Yeah.

QUEST: What do the airlines have to do?

WALSH: But we are doing it. And that's the issue. And these others, we call them partners in the industry, had stood back and said, you know, this will be achieved by the airlines. It will only be achieved by the airlines if they are all performing at the highest possible level.


CHURCH: The association represents nearly 300 airlines around the world which account for more than 80 percent of total air traffic.

Thank you so much for your company, I'm Rosemary Church. Enjoy the rest of your day. "CNN Newsroom" continues now with Isa Soares.