Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Tension Rising Between Taiwan and China; Facebook Whistleblower Testify on Capitol Hill; Mark Zuckerberg in Full Defense; Secretary of State Antony Blinken Mending Fences; AUKUS Affects Australia's Trade Talks with France; Pope Francis Calling Out Abuses Within Catholic Church. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 06, 2021 - 03:00   ET




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

Just ahead on CNN Newsroom, Taiwan's latest warnings about mainland China in a week where Beijing has flown a record number of warplanes near the island.

Facebook's CEO is on the defensive after a former employee's damning testimony on Capitol Hill.

And the Vatican's reaction after an explosive revelation about decades of abuse in the French Catholic Church.

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

CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

And we begin with a shocking new assessment from Taiwan's defense minister, he says mainland China could have the ability to launch a full-scale military attack on the island within the next four years. The warning comes as China has been flying a record number of military aircraft into Taiwan's airspace in recent days. U.S. President Joe Biden address the situation with reporters last night at the White House.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I've spoken with Xi about Taiwan, we've agreed we'll abide by Taiwan agreement, that's who we are. And we made it clear that I don't think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement.


CHURCH (on camera): President Biden's comments come just ahead of a high-level diplomatic meeting between the U.S. and China set to take place today in Switzerland.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is live in Hong Kong. She joins us now. Good to see you, Kristie. So, let's start with that meeting set for today. What's expected to come out of it?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We'll, you know, not a lot of expectations of what's going to be coming out of that. You talked to analysts and they say, maybe some baby steps towards the opening of shutter confidence in Chengdu, in Houston. But look at the timing of this.

This is happening during a time of high tension and deepening rivalry between these two world powers. And you have the national security adviser meeting with China's top diplomat today in Zurich, Switzerland. And this will be the first face-to-face meeting between Jake Sullivan and Yang Jiechi since that strategic dialogue that took place earlier this year in March in Alaska which descended into scenes of confrontation that were all caught on camera.

Today's talks in Zurich also come after the Biden administration revealed its long-awaited review on U.S.-China trade policy. It was delivered by Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative. She said that the United States will push for more frank dialogue with China while not ruling out any additional tariffs.

And through the Global Times that China statement tabloid has said that China welcomes such dialogue, but that China is not afraid of any drawn-out conflicts. This is a very revealing statement. Let's bring out the op-ed for you in the Global Times.

It said this, quote, "we will adhere to the consistent matter of not making concessions on principle, based on doing our own thing, and not been afraid of any contest including a protracted one," unquote.

The Zurich meeting also comes at a time of a very high tension over Taiwan. In the last couple of days China has carried out an unprecedented number of incursions by its air force into China's air defense zone. CNN has counted 150 incursions since October the 1st, that's of course China's national day.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday said that he spoke with the Chinese President Xi Jinping about Taiwan, and that the two leaders agreed to abide by the Taiwan agreement. That's a statement that has puzzled a number of China watchers this day. It seems that what he's referring to is the one China policy, the long-standing policy held by Washington to officially recognize Beijing over Taiwan.

But it's also not clear if this was based on a very recent or new phone call or conversation with Xi Jinping as opposed to that 90- minute phone call that took place between the two leaders last month. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. Of course, that's so important because what about this alarming comment from Taiwan's defense minister, --


CHURCH: -- saying China will be capable of mounting an invasion by 2025. What evidence is there to suggest that that could possibly happen?

LU STOUT: You know, it is a very strong statement coming from the defense chief of Taiwan this day. He delivered it at a press conference today. Look, there is no satellite imagery that shows that China is preparing for any sort of innovation right now.

But with this statement, by saying, again, this is from the defense chief of Taiwan him saying that he believes that China will be capable of mounting a, quote, "full scale invasion by 2025." By saying that it appears that the Taiwan defense chief is trying to prepare Taiwan society for such a scenario.


He also said in the press conference earlier today that China will militarily prepare itself, he also added that -- he said that relations, cross state relations are the worse that he's seen in what, 40 years. Now, Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan also sounded the alarm in an op-ed. Let's bring it up for you.

This one is going to be due out shortly in the foreign affairs magazine. But we do have an excerpt. And in it, she says this country has increasingly recognized the threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses. They should understand the value of working with Taiwan. She goes on to say "they should remember that if Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system. It would signal that in today's global contest of values, authoritarianism has the upper hand over democracy."

Now China claims Taiwan is its own territory that could be taken by force if necessary. Taiwan insists it is an independent country that will defend itself. The United States, especially in recent days has decried this unprecedented number of incursions that have taken place and also issued a statement that its commitment to Taiwan remains, quote, "rock-solid." Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. Very concerning, indeed. Kristie Lu Stout bringing us the very latest on that. I appreciate it.

LU STOUT: You bet.

CHURCH: Well, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is defending his company. This after a whistleblower provided damning testimony before Congress about the harm, she claims the social media giant is causing society. Zuckerberg posted a lengthy statement on Facebook just hours ago. And it reads in part, at the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That's just not true." And he adds, "I'm proud of the work we've done."

Well CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has more on the explosive testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.


FRANCES HAUGEN, FORMER FACEBOOK EMPLOYEE: Facebook's own research shows that. Right. The kids are saying, kids are saying, I am unhappy when I use Instagram and I can't stop.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER (voice over): Powerful testimony on Capitol Hill today from Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower who left the company in May and took with her thousands of pages of internal company documents including Facebook's own research into the harms its technology causes teenagers.

HAUGEN: Kids who were bullied on Instagram, the bullying follows them home. It follows them into their bedrooms. The last thing they seen before they go to bed at night is someone being cruel to them.

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK): I think, we're going to look back 20 years from now. And all of us are going to be like, what in the hell were we thinking when we recognize the damage that's done to a generation of kids.

O'SULLIVAN: Haugen's call to action? It's time for Congress to vote to regulate Facebook.

HAUGEN: I believe Facebook's products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy. The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won't make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed. They won't solve this crisis without your help.

O'SULLIVAN: The hearing also took stock aim at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who posted a video sailing with his family on Sunday just before Haugen expose some of the company's research on children in an explosive 60 Minutes interview.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Rather than taking responsibility and showing leadership, Mr. Zuckerberg is going sailing, his new modus operandi, no pathologies, no admission, no action, nothing to see here.

HAUGEN: Mark holds a very unique role in the tech industry, in that he holds over 55 percent of all the voting shares for Facebook. There are no similarly powerful companies that are as unilaterally controlled. And in the end, the buck stops with Mark. There is no one currently holding Mark accountable but himself.

O'SULLIVAN: In a statement attacking the whistleblower after the hearing, Facebook said that she'd only work for the company for less than two years, had no direct reports, never attended decision point meetings with c-level executives. And it added, it doesn't agree with her characterization of the issue of child's security on its platforms. But Facebook said it does agree it is time for Congress to make laws to regulate big tech.

UNKNOWN: If you are a member of this panel, would you believe what Facebook is saying?

HAUGEN: I would not believe -- Facebook has not earned our right to just have blind trust in them. I came forward at great personal risk because I believe we still have time to act. But we must act now.

O'SULLIVAN: Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH (on camera): Now back to more of Mark Zuckerberg's defense of his embattled company in that lengthy statement he posted on Facebook, the CEO said in part, the argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads and advertisers consistently tell us they don't want their ads next to harmful angry content.


And I don't know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed. The moral business and products incentives all point in the opposite direction.

Let's bring in Mike Isaac, a technology correspondent for the New York Times. Thanks very much for joining us.


CHURCH: So, as we just reported, hours after the shocking testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, Mark Zuckerberg responded, saying many of the claims don't make any sense. And it's not true that Facebook prioritizes profit over safety and well-being of its users. What is your reaction to his whole response in reaction to this?

ISAAC: I think, honestly, he does believe a lot of what he's saying. You know, I talked to a number of folks inside of Facebook and they said the one way to make people at the top math, especially Mark Zuckerberg, is to essentially, ascribe greed for profits overall other things.

And I mean, the way Mark thinks is he's got all money in the world and Facebook is doing fine, I don't think that's essentially about the bottom line, I do think it is about staying dominant and staying relevant, and staying the most powerful company in the world.

And one thing we saw in the documents that were uncovered is a company in fear of losing that next generation of teenagers and folks looking for a new social network after Facebook and that still scares the company.

CHURCH: And of course, as the founder and CEO of Facebook, Zuckerberg is essentially unfireable and unaccountable. And the whistleblower is calling on Congress to rein in the tech giant and regulate the social media company. Because she says she doesn't want to see Facebook regulate itself, she doesn't think it is. So, what needs to happen to make Facebook and Zuckerberg more accountable. What is the solution to this?

ISAAC: Sure. So, I was thinking about, if you remember just a few years ago, the Cambridge Analytica revelations that came out. And it was a similar sort of, you know, media firestorm, series of hearings but not real sustainable change or any bills of consequence to come out of the -- to come out of the House or the Senate.

And so, I think it feels like this is hitting differently, particularly because of the attention to how Instagram is affecting children. And it seems like at least Senators Blumenthal and Blackburn want to continue the hearings and start drafting actual bills on what algorithms can do and what is called engagement-based algorithms are and are not allowed to do. So maybe we will start seeing some movement there.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean, there's a real sense that Congress has many, many steps behind these tech companies, isn't it? So, Haugen's testimony also renewed focus on the dangers of Facebook's global reach with its role in fueling genocidal violence in Myanmar and recent ethnic violence in Ethiopia, and its role other parts of the world. How dangerous is Facebook potentially in its current form without regulations and accountability?

ISAAC: I mean, I think even, you know, when Facebook had an outage just a day ago. We recognized how key it is, how basically represents the internet in many different parts of the world.

I think WhatsApp, the company that they own that most people don't know that they own is a key communications tool in a lot of different countries around the world without any sort of structures around that, without any sort of way to moderate it or at least moderate it more strenuously than they are now, you see all sorts of, you know, sort of unfair violence, and again, Rohingya massacre in Myanmar is just one example of that. But that was -- that took a long time for journalist to even uncover.

So, it's really unclear the depth of which some of this can be damaging to people who were still kind of figuring that up by day.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. Mike Isaac, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

ISAAC: Thank you for having me.

CHURCH: America's top diplomat is working to mend fences with France over the Biden administration's plan to help Australia build nuclear powered submarines. Antony Blinken met with the French president and foreign minister on Tuesday. A new defense pact with the U.S. and U.K. prompted Australia to cancel a $66 billion submarine contract with France. A U.S. official described Blinken's meetings in Paris as very productive.

So, let's head live to Paris now where CNN's Melissa Bell is standing by. Good to see you, Melissa. So, not surprisingly, a U.S. official described Blinken's meeting as very productive, but what do French officials are saying about this meeting?


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you will remember that back when Biden and Macron first spoken for the first time after this, a joint statement had been delivered and translated slightly differently. And I think once again there is a difference of appreciation of what has been achieved through Blinken's visit and what has yet to be achieved.

The secretary of (Inaudible) say, it really explaining in his very good French on French television last night that he believes that a lot of the row was down to misconceptions, to misrepresentation, to a lack of communication. Have a listen.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE (through translator): We should've done better in terms of communication. This is what President Biden and President Macron said to each other when they spoke a few weeks ago. But above all, we sometimes tend to take for granted a relationship as important and as deep as the one between friends and the United States.


BELL (on camera): Now, Rosemary, of course, there has been a lot of disappointment here in France, more broadly in Europe, that that hadn't been at the heart of the reset that had been expected from the side of the Atlantic after the change of administration but even as Secretary of State Blinken was delivering those remarks in his perfect French trying to mend those fences.

Emmanuel Macron himself was arriving in Slovenia for talks with E.U. leaders centered on the very fact that he's been arguing for years that Europe needs greater strategic autonomy and that this latest row is just a reminder that the French president speaking to reporters as he arrive and saying look, France, Europe now expects more than words, we expects acts. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Melissa Bell bringing us the very latest there live from Paris. I appreciate it.

Well, the submarine dispute with France has also spilled over into the broader European Union. It's forced a delay in trade talks from this month to next. And CNN's Scott Mclean got a chance to ask Australia's trade minister about the pause.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You said that trade talks with the E.U. would be delayed until November. Why do you think that is? DAN TEHAN, MINISTER FOR TRADE, TOURISM AND INVESTMENT OF AUSTRALIA:

Because I think the E.U. want time to be able to digest what's happened in the European Australian relationship in the last month. But it's great that those talks will go ahead.

MCLEAN: It's sounds like you are saying they need time to cool off after the nuclear submarine incident?

TEHAN: Look, what the E.U. has said is that they need a few weeks just to make sure that they are prepared for the next round. They want to -- they want to --


MCLEAN: But to do something specifically or just to have their anger subside?

TEHAN: Well, you need to ask the European Union exactly what the reasons are.

MCLEAN: I think you said recently that, you know, at the end of the day Australia has to act in its national interest and I think people understand that. But do you concede looking back that things could have been done in a different way?

TEHAN: These were discussions that were taking place at a top security level. At the highest level when it comes to national security. So, there wasn't the ability to be able to prolong, there wasn't the ability to be able to do it a different way.

MCLEAN: It sounds like you wouldn't do anything different?

TEHAN: Well, I think once history is obviously looked at, I think people will understand that there wasn't really another way to do it.

MCLEAN: How many months were those negotiations taking place for while you were also, you know, chugging along with the French contract?

TEHAN: Look, I'm not going to go into every intimate details --


MCLEAN: Is it --

TEHAN: -- around the discussion. Obviously, those talks took place over a period of months. But the contract discussions and negotiations with regards to the French submarines also took place over months and years.


CHURCH (on camera): Australia chose France in 2016 to replace its aging submarine fleet. But now that China's military influence in the region has grown, Australia says it needs a type of submarine France can't provide. Well, coming up next, we will have reaction from the Vatican to a

damning new report detailing decades of sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church.

And later, scientists have been warning of the catastrophic dangers of climate change, so why world leaders not following up on their advice to quit fossil fuels? That's next.



CHURCH (on camera): Abuse victims, as well as the Vatican are reacting to a damning report exposing the decades wrong sexual abuse of minors in the French Catholic Church. The head of one victim's group had a powerful message for church representatives.


FRANCOIS DEVAUX, FOUNDER, LA PAROLE LIBEREE (through translator): What you must understand is that you are a disgrace to humanity. You have (Inaudible) all over the natural obligation to defend the right and dignity of these people.


CHURCH (on camera): Another victim sat down with CNN to discuss his frustration with the church.


UNKNOWN: It's appalling. Victims abused and attacked. The church is silent, the failure to report abuse. The fact that victims are not believed that they are left unheard. No reparations or trials. Priests simply reassigned. This is of course, unacceptable. Many things are already in place to change that. But now, they must truly take into account the recommendations of the commission.


CHURCH (on camera): And we're also getting reaction from a surprising source, Pope Francis. CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher joins us now from Rome. So, Delia, what's the pope saying about the shocking revelations in this report and the impact on abuse victims?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, Pope Francis issued a statement yesterday expressing his great sorrow for this report in solidarity with the victims and applauding them for their courage for coming forward. What's interesting about the pope's statement, Rosemary, is how quickly it came out.

You know, we have seen these reports come out from other countries from the U.S., from Australia, from Ireland, most recently from Germany. We haven't seen that kind of speedy Vatican reaction. And it may seem a small point but it does suggest that the Vatican is fully aware that they need to be showing complete engagement with these country reports as devastating as they are, and especially because they are so devastating for the Catholic faithful in those countries.

One thing about the French report which is important to point out is that it was requested by the French Catholic Church. So, that there is an awareness now after 20 years of the Catholic Church being aware of abuses that there has to be a historical reckoning.

We talk about things that they can do to improve for the future, to train priests to have norms in place for reporting, for accountability. But until you have these historical reports which give you a broader picture of what has happened as devastating as they are, there seems to be an awareness now that countries, Catholic Church in these countries need to have this kind of reports.

Rosemary, one thing I want to point out that's happening this morning at the Vatican, is the conclusion of a sexual abuse case which is kind of unique. We're expecting the verdict any moment now and it is a case, the first of its kind being held inside the Vatican of abuses which allegedly occurred inside the Vatican at a seminary for young boys.


There was a seminary in the Vatican that trains young boy who are interested in being priests, they serve at papal masses and this is the first time that we are seeing a trial with two seminarians, involving two seminarians from 2007 to 2012.

As I say, we're expecting the verdict any moment but the reason I bring this up is that this trial is one which shows, aside the different that you have two seminarians involved so they were minors at the time, but the pope wanted this trial to happen because part of what Francis has put the emphasis on in sexual abuse is the abuse of power.

So, the power structure, the difference between, you know, a priest and the authority that a priest has over an abuse victim said there is a widening of the Vatican's understanding of what is involved in sexual abuse. We'll be having that verdict momentarily, Rosemary, we'll bring that to you.

CHURCH: All right. We'll wait for that. Delia Gallagher bringing us the very latest there from Rome. Many thanks.

Well coming up, the Afghan girls robotics team tell CNN their hopes for the future after they were forced to flee their country in fear of the Taliban.


UNKNOWN: Impact to the environment is going to last years. You know, potentially even decades.


CHURCH (on camera): Residents and officials demand accountability for a large oil spill off the coast of California. What they believe caused the ecological disaster. That's next.


CHURCH: Back to one of our top stories now. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is defending the company after bombshell testimony from a former employee turned whistleblower. Frances Haugen told lawmakers that Facebook knows its platforms are toxic and addictive, but she says the company is intentionally hiding that information to protect its bottom line. Take a listen.


HAUGEN: Yesterday we saw Facebook get taken off the internet. I don't know why it went down, but I know that for more than five hours Facebook wasn't used to deepen divides, destabilize democracies and make young girls and women feel bad about their bodies.

During my time at Facebook I came to realize the devastating truth. Almost no one outside of Facebook knows what happens inside of Facebook. The company intentionally hides vile information from the public, from the U.S. government, and from governments around the world.


The documents I have provided to Congress proved that Facebook has repeatedly misled the public about its own research, reveals about the safety of children, the efficacy of its artificial intelligence system, and as well in spreading divisive and extreme messages.

At other large 10 companies like Google, any independent researcher can download from the internet the company, search results and write papers about what they find and they do. But Facebook hides behind walls that keep researchers and regulators from understanding the true dynamics of their system.

Facebook will tell you privacy means they can't give you data, this is not true. These problems are solvable. A safer free speech respecting more enjoyable social media as possible. But there is one thing that I hope everyone takes away from these disclosures it is that Facebook can change but it is clearly not going to do so on its own. I came forward at great personal risk because I believe we still have time to act.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): In a statement, Zuckerberg denied Haugen's claims saying, the company cares deeply about user safety and well-being. The lawmaker who led Tuesday's hearing isn't buying it, in fact, he lays the blame squarely on Facebook's CEO.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): I've been working on this issue for more than a decade. It is a breakthrough moment, it is a tobacco moment for big tech because these disclosures are from the tech industry's own files, Facebook's own research and surveys which show how really they could have done very good financial success without making Facebook and Instagram so unsafe and that is the false choice that Frances Haugen depicted so graphically.

Facebook's greed is driving these teams into the darkest of places because they simply want to amplify messages more eyeballs, more users, more data, more advertisers, and ultimately marks a corporate is responsible.


CHURCH: Haugen also told lawmakers she has concerns about Facebook's impact on national security. She says she already has plans to speak with other members of Congress about those issues.

Well, U.K. officials held their first face-to-face talks with Afghanistan's Taliban leadership on Tuesday. A British foreign office spokesperson said they discussed how the U.K. could help address the humanitarian crisis and keep the country from becoming an incubator for terrorism. They also emphasized the need for continued safe passage for people who want to leave the country and the rights of minorities and women.

A new report from the World Food Programme says a severe hunger problem is sweeping Afghanistan. The report says, 3.2 million Afghan children under the age of five face acute malnutrition by the end of the year. At least 1 million of these kids are at risk of dying without immediate treatment.

The report also says that an overall 14 million people in Afghanistan face acute food insecurity and 95 percent of households are not consuming enough food.

Well, they were the faces of Afghanistan's progress in girl's education but as the Taliban took control, members of the Afghan girl's robotics team were forced to flee their homes. Several have now found a safe haven in Mexico and they spoke with CNN's Matt Rivers about everything they left behind and what they hope the future holds.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Just four years ago, the half dozen girls from Afghanistan strode confidently into competition, waving their country's flag. The Global Robotics competition held in the U.S. was a chance to show what so many in their country doubted that girls can accomplish anything.

And accomplish they did, winning an award for quote, courageous achievement, given to team's who persevere through trying circumstances. So much has changed since then.

In a matter of months this year the Taliban swept back across Afghanistan toppling city after city. A mortal threat to girls like those on the robotics team, educated, progressive, the exact opposite of how the Taliban believe women should be. And so five of the original team made the decision to flee in a

harrowing journey. They went from Herat, Afghanistan to Kabul. There they managed to get on one of the last commercial flights before the Taliban took the city. From there, Islamabad, Pakistan was next. Eventually followed by Doha, Qatar, and Frankfort, Germany, and then to Mexico City.


Landing in the Mexican capital where the government here has allowed them to stay while they figure out what's next. It's here in the city that we have a chance to meet in person.

Safe in Mexico, their first thoughts are, of course, about home and the cruelty of the Taliban regime.

FATEMAH QADERYAN, CAPTAIN, AFGHAN GIRLS ROBOTICS TEAM: The rule of their government is just mockery and an insult to Islam, while Islam is the religion of kindness. We kindly request not only the United States but the entire international community to eradicate the Taliban generation from Afghanistan.

RIVERS: They know that the U.S. has limited options in that regard after its withdrawal and terrible situation for those opposed to the Taliban. They also know how lucky they were to get out.

SAGHAR SALEHI, AFGHAN GIRLS ROBOTICS TEAM: It was really hard to, you know, leave our beloved ones in Afghanistan. But we are happy that today we are safe. Not only because of ourselves, but here we can be the voice of thousands of girls who want to be safe in Afghanistan and who want to continue their education and make their dreams become true.

RIVERS: A dwindling reality for girls in that country in the weeks and months after the Taliban took over their subsequent actions have reaffirmed a return to a society where women are treated as holy, unequal to men, still the team has a message for those left behind.

KAWSAR ROSHAN, AFGHAN GIRLS ROBOTICS TEAM: So my message and my message to my generation is that to please don't lose your hope, your spirits, where ever you are in Afghanistan you are. I know it's difficult because I'm an Afghan girl too and I fully understand you.

But please don't lose your spirit, there is always light in the height of darkness. And just make your dream and follow your dream and believe that one day your dream will come true, because I experienced that.

RIVERS: And we asked all the girls, what do you want to do next, both in the near future and in the long term future? All four girls that we spoke to tell us they do plan on going to college somewhere hopefully in the United States they say. As for the long term future, they all have hopes to return to Afghanistan someday.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.


CHURCH: Well, it's an inspiring women there. Well, still ahead here on CNN, the prestigious Nobel Prize is recognizing pioneering work on climate change ahead of a major summit on the issue. We will tell you what the winners are saying. That's next.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well the Nobel Prize in physics is honoring work on climate change. Three scientists will be awarded the prize for their work warning of climate change and decoding complex physical systems.


The American, German, and Italian researchers will split more than a million dollars in prize money. One laureate is hoping this will spur world leaders into taking action on climate change.


KLAUS HASSELMANN, 2021 NOVEL PRIZE WINNER (through translator): The climate problem is ages old. I've been researching it for 40 years and now finally the word is starting to spread that we have a climate problem and I hope the politicians react now and that they do a bit against it.


CHURCH: The decision to award the prize comes just weeks before the crucial COP 26 summit in the U.K. One of the big goals of the conference will be to find ways to curb emissions and reduce fossil fuels.

Richard Steiner is a conservation biologist and joins me now from Anchorage, Alaska. Great to have you with us.

RICHARD STEINER, CONSERVATION BIOLOGIST, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA (on camera): Glad to be here, thanks very much.

CHURCH: So, President Biden is promoting his vision of Americans using electric cars in the near future. Another nations like Australia offers incentives to purchase electric vehicles and solar panels. And some European countries are doing the same. But despite these efforts ending the world's dependence on fossil fuel is proving to be very difficult isn't it? Why is that?

STEINER: It's hard. There's no question about it. There is a lot of inertia or momentum in the fossil fuel economy that we built over the last century in the world. It's easy, it's cheap, without accounting for future costs. It's very cheap energy.

And so we're used to this, we've built this enormous transportation and power infrastructure around it. And there's a lot a very powerful wealthy vested interest in maintaining that status quo. Prolonging it as long as possible to reap these billions of dollars' worth of profits.

However, the choice we have is very clear. Either we continue that path along this fossil fuel economy long into the future which we know leads to disastrous consequences or we solve the problem and we know exactly how to do that. Governments have to do it. Governments can invest and regulate and fix this problem.

CHURCH: We know the reliance on these very same fossil fuels created this climate crisis. That we and, of course, future generations, again need to deal with. So let's look specifically at what has to happen to reclaim our planet at the individual level, as well as the governments. As you said, they'll have to play the main role here, but also private companies big and small.

STEINER: Well, certainly. We the people have a role. We can each reduce our own individual carbon footprints. We know how to do that to travel light, eat light, consume more deliberately and mindfully. We know how to do these things and then industry has a role to play as well. But this is quintessentially a role for government to tax rationally. Tax carbon, tax wealth, tax corporations, eliminates subsidies to fossil fuels and take that newfound wealth and apply it to this low carbon transition.

Subsidize low carbon alternative energy sources, subsidize energy efficiency technologies to defuse that into the consumer worlds. And also to you know, to heavily and then also to regulate. To simply regulate the amount of emissions and the designs of appliances and buildings and things like that.

We know how to do this, it's just this enormous inertia by the fossil fuel industry and its elected officials to making this transition. It's almost a pathological insecurity they have to making this necessary transition to low carbon energy this decade.

We don't have -- we can't kick the can down the road until 2050 which is what some of them are proposing, that's a recipe for disaster. We have to get with this today and get, you know, reduce carbon emissions by half by the end of this decade or we have absolutely no chance of a real livable future so.

CHURCH: Yeah, that's very sobering. Of course, we just had a wakeup call this weekend, when oil spilled off of California's coast. Crews are attempting to clean up the mess left after this environmental disaster that has impacted wildlife and human health. And yet those responsible appeared not -- they appear to get away with this, don't they? Just a slap on the wrist. What needs to happen to companies like this that allow disasters like this to happen?

STEINER: Well, we certainly need to increase the financial liability for companies that recklessly endanger our environment, and human health, and economies which these oil companies do as a matter of course.


But the other thing we need to do is, you know, the oils -- there are 3,000, 4,000 barrels of oil spilled off Huntington Beach approximately. But the U.S. uses over 20 million barrels of oil every day and eight or nine million tons of CO2 is then emitted into the global atmosphere from that oil use daily. A lot of it ending up in the oceans. And that's the oil spill that I think we have to be very, very concerned about.

The other issue with the Huntington Beach though, as long as we continue this fossil fuel economy and offshore drilling, and arctic drilling, these hazardous risky areas, we are going to spill it. No matter how careful and how cautious governments and industry are we are going to continue to make mistakes, equipment will fail, we'll continue to have these large oil spills.

CHURCH: Richard Steiner, thank you so much for your insights. We appreciate it.

STEINER: My pleasure, thanks very much.

CHURCH: And we are learning new details on the cause of that large oil leak off southern California. A preliminary report says a ships anchor may have hook the pipeline causing a rupture. The pipeline owner said, more than 1200 meters of the pipeline has essentially been pulled like a bowstring. Meanwhile, officials expect more than 1,000 volunteers will help clean up the mess, investigators are also looking into the timeline of the disaster.

CNN's Sara Sidner has the details.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): We have now learn the company that owns the pipeline responsible for the California oil spill says, it did not detect a leak until the day after residents reported smelling strong fumes.

UNKNOWN: We were not aware of anything Friday night.

SIDNER: The revelations are raising questions about its ability to detect spills. Officials also upped the maximum potential amount of crude oil that is gushed out into the Pacific Ocean, from 126,000 gallons to 144,000.

LUKE GINGER, HEAL THE BAY, WATER QUALITY SCIENTIST: The impacts to the environment is going to last years, you know, potentially even decades.

SIDNER: Water quality scientists like Luke Ginger are sick and tired of excuses for oil spills.

GINGER: These spills have occurred for as long oil extraction has happened and despite advances and technology, despite new regulations, this industry continues to skirt those regulations, ignore regulations, and continues to pollute.

SIDNER: The suffering from the oil spills, crippling birds. Their feathers gummed up with a tar like toxic crude oil. It may be weeks before we know the impact on other animals whose habitat has been contaminated. As for people they're still using the beaches, but noticing tar balls and ribbons of dark sticky (inaudible).

They are trying to clean it up as we speak, but there's a lot of work to do and we still don't know the extent of exactly just how much oil has been spilled.

But the damage is done. Not just to wildlife but the tourism business, out on the water.

UNKNOWN: Any kind of oil that you see, it's usually a big clump, it's usually a dark spot.

SIDNER: Captain Peg, makes his living chartering boat. All rides are canceled for now.

How has this affecting business?

UNKNOWN: Well, it's affecting business because nobody can leave the harbor.

SIDNER: For how long?

UNKNOWN: They say for two to three weeks minimum.

SIDNER: Meantime, amplify is facing increased scrutiny created four years ago out of the bankruptcy of another small company. Federal regulators found 125 noncompliance incidents over 11 years by Amplified subsidiary responsible for the upkeep of the pipeline, government in (inaudible) record show.

UNKNOWN: We have examined more than 8,000 feet of pipe.

SIDNER: Amplify indicated it was sending divers down to find the source of the leak. That did not sit well with Orange County's district attorney.

TODD SPRITZER, ORANGE COUNTY CALIFORNIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: If that is not done independently that is a travesty. That company should not be responsible for leading its own investigation.

SIDNER: The unified command of which Amplify is a part of seem to clarify that saying that actually divers were contracted to do the work. We're also learning that there was a 13-inch gash in the pipeline that they believe was responsible for the leak. Part of the pipeline, about a 4,000 foot section had been displaced about a 105 feet.

And now we have heard from the company that potentially this was because of an anchor that hit this pipeline. There is now a preliminary report saying that that may well be the cause. Sara Sidner, CNN, Huntington Beach.


CHURCH: The E.U.'s drug regulator is throwing its support behind COVID booster shots for people with weak immune system. The new guidance comes amid rising cases of the Delta variant and warries of more lockdowns in the winter months across Europe.


The European Medicines Agency says, the best bet is a vaccine from either Pfizer or Moderna, at least 28 days after the second jab. But experts still need more data to know how long a third shot will be effective.


MARCO CAVALERI, EMA HEAD OF BIOLOGICAL THREATS AND VACCINE STRATEGY: We're still struggling on how long last the second dose so to say, how long will last a booster dose is even more complicate it. I feel data will tell us, but, of course, at least in the contrast of the booster, what we are seeing, at least, with these vaccines is that the new response is indeed much higher than what we have seen after the second dose. Which means that potentially we will have quite remarkable amounts of neutralizing antibodies also for much longer than six months.


CHURCH: It has taken more than 50 years, but William Shatner is now headed to space for real. Just ahead, details on his trip to the stars and why he has Amazon's Jeff Bezos to (inaudible).


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Hollywood might have more of those blockbuster space movies, but it looks like Russia will have the first feature film actually shot in space. A Russian crew arrived at the International Space Station Tuesday with an actress and a director on board to film segments for the movie, "The Challenge." It will tell the story of a surgeon who has to operate on a sick cosmonaut in space. The crew says the experience so far is a bit surreal.


YULIA PERESILD, RUSSIAN ACTRESS (through translator): Everything was new to us today. Every 30 seconds brought something entirely new and we just met the rest of the crew of cosmonauts and astronauts who have been living on board the station for some time now, but I'm still in a dream. I still feel that it's all just a dream and I am asleep.


CHURCH: Well, the teams will spend nearly two weeks filming scenes on the space station.

And going boldly were no 19-year-old has gone before. Actor William Shatner is also getting ready for his own real life space trip, thanks to Jeff Bezos. But instead of captain, he will ride at passenger, making history as the oldest person to visit space.

CNN's Kristin Fisher has our report.


KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: He led the USS Enterprise on an intergalactic odyssey, now he will get to go on his own odyssey.

WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR: The things I've only played as an actor, I'm going to see firsthand.

FISHER: Star Trek's iconic Captain James Kirk will soon get to go to space for real.

SHATNER: I'm thrilled, and anxious, and a little nervous, and a little frightened about this whole new adventure.

FISHER: Blue Origin announced on Monday that actor William Shatner will be on the companies next flight, alongside and Audrey Powers, Blue Origin's vice president of Mission and Flight Operations.

Shatner Powers and two others will lift off from a remote stretch of West Texas next Tuesday, less than three months after the company's first crewed launch.


The crew will enjoy about four minutes of weightlessness during an 11th minute sub orbital trip to space, similar to what Jeff Bezos, his brother, and two others did during the summer.

SHATNER: On Tuesday morning, I go to the edge of space and loosened the restraints around me and be weightless and looking into the vastness of the universe.

FISHER: Shatner who played Captain Kirk on the hit television series Star Trek, and went on to star in seven Star Trek films joked about this opportunity years ago.

UNKNOWN: If you were given the opportunity to go into space, would you?

SHATNER: If I got a guarantee that I would come back.

FISHER: That opportunity is now here and 90-year-old Shatner seemed surprise himself.

SHATNER: Because 55 years ago I was destitute, I'm looking at the sky, the astronauts stepping on the moon and I had little bit to do with those astronauts and 55 years later, I'm going into space. I want to come back and tell you about how I really felt when I saw these things that we've only learned about secondhand.

FISHER: His fans are excited to hear about his mission too, many taking to Twitter to express their excitement. Late night host, Stephen Colbert, even making a joke about the mission, tweeting, "I hope William Shatner doesn't have unrealistic expectations of what's space is like."

Kristin Fisher, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Fantastic stuff. Looks great for 90 doesn't he?

And for all of those that are staying on earth, you may have noticed Korean pop culture has been sweeping the world from K-pop's musical superstar BTS to the new Netflix sensation's Squid Game. This cultural phenomenon or Korean wave is now influencing the Oxford English dictionary.

The phrase has been added to the September edition along with more than two dozen other words, some of them are hallyu, which describes the international interest in South Korea's pop culture. Hanbok, is the traditional Korean costume worn by both men and women, and k-drama is a Korean language TV show produced in South Korea.

That is your lesson for the day. Thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church, enjoy the rest of your day. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Isa Soares in a moment.