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Ethiopia Atrocities Would Constitute Violation Of U.S. Trade Agreement; 5.9 Quake In Pakistan Kills 20 And 200 Injured; WHO Green- Lights "Breakthrough" Vaccine For Children; Antony Blinken Urges Beijing To End Military Activity Near Taiwan; Social Media's Damaging Effect on Teenage Brains; UK: Dubai Ruler Hacked Ex-Wife's Phone Using Spyware. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired October 07, 2021 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm John Vause.

Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, a CNN investigation reveals Ethiopian Airlines was flying weapons of war to neighboring Eritrea, and (PH) ally in a yearlong brutal military offensive on separatists in Ethiopia's northern Tigray Region.

Soaring tensions between Mainland China and Taiwan bringing renewed warnings that war might be imminent, but is it all just bluster and threats?

And when the ruler of Dubai found himself in the midst of a bitter divorce, he did more than hire an expensive legal team, he also hacked the cell phones of his ex-wife and her lawyers using Israeli spyware known as Pegasus.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: Ethiopia for decades has benefited from a U.S. trade agreement granting hundreds of millions of dollars of favorable access to U.S. markets. That's allowed Ethiopian Airlines in recent years to build a global fleet become one of the world's leading airlines for both the U.S. and Ethiopia, this relationship matters.

But, for almost a year now, conflict has raged in Ethiopia's Tigray Region. Numerous CNN investigations have uncovered evidence of Ethiopian government atrocities. CNN has now found evidence that Ethiopian Airlines cargo carriers have been shuffling weapons between Ethiopia and Eritrea, what experts believe may constitute a violation of international law and that trade agreement with the U.S.

We have more now from CNN's Nima Elbagir.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANNOUNCER: With direct flights from over 95 international destinations, fly Ethiopian Airlines, the new spirit of Africa, a Star Alliance member.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): State- owned Ethiopian Airlines is Africa's premier carrier of passenger and freight traffic.

But among the regular cargo, evidence of sinister shipments. CNN can reveal, based on documentary evidence and witnesses' accounts, Ethiopian Airlines has been transporting weapons between Ethiopia and Eritrea since the beginning of the war in Ethiopia that has seen thousands killed.

According to aviation experts, this would constitute a violation of aviation law. Among the evidence are these stills that were taken on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET3313 and verified by CNN.

It's the middle of the night. This cargo plane is being loaded by hand, a slow and unorthodox method. But look closer, this isn't usual cargo. Inside these boxes are mortars. They are being loaded onto this civilian aircraft and transported from Eritrea to Ethiopia.

Here is the cargo manifest, corroborating the day and time, November 8, 2020. The date is significant. It's just four days into the conflict and months before Eritrea officially admits to being involved.

Ethiopia has been at war with the Tigray regional government, the Tigray People's Liberation Front, for almost a year. Eritrea to the north has become the Ethiopian government's ally against the region of Tigray, an unusual alliance, as the countries were previously at war with each other. Now, they have a common enemy, Tigray, and they are sharing weaponry.

CNN. CNN. We're CNN, journalists.

CNN has been reporting on atrocities in Ethiopia since the beginning of the year.

If you want to have detained a CNN team, then that's what's happened now, because we're not going to the camp willingly.

We traveled to Tigray last April and saw for ourselves Eritrean troops manning checkpoints with impunity, while the Ethiopian government denied their presence on the ground.

That relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea began months earlier, in November 2020, which coincided with an increase in the movement of weapons, shuttled back and forth from the Ethiopian capital to Eritrea.


ELBAGIR: During the same month, there was also a series of massacres in the region of Tigray. An Ethiopian Airlines employee-turned- whistle-blower spoke to CNN about how he had to deal with an unusual request.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The plane was carrying perishable goods. I had to deal with my bosses to unlead some of the goods and load the weapons.

ELBAGIR: In various statements, Ethiopian Airlines has always adamantly denied ferrying arms on passenger or cargo planes.

But in addition to speaking with whistle-blowers, verifying cargo manifests and authenticating stills, CNN has obtained airway bill receipts that show at least six occasions in November where Ethiopian Airlines billed the Ethiopian Ministry of Defense to ship military items, including guns and ammunition to Eritrea.

MICHAEL A. RAYNOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ETHIOPIA: In the end, the success of Ethiopian Airlines is an important and impressive symbol of the limitless potential of the U.S.-Ethiopian partnership.

ELBAGIR: Ethiopian Airlines built its cargo dominance through a relationship with the U.S. government and American aviation giant Boeing.

These new CNN findings, together with previous investigations into atrocities committed by Ethiopian forces would constitute violations of international law, according to aviation experts, and run contrary to the terms of that relationship with the U.S. government.

Whether this forces the U.S. to act substantively against the Ethiopian government remains to be seen.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Well, responding to CNN's latest investigation, Ethiopian airline says it complies with all aviation regulations and "to the best of its knowledge and its records, it has not transported any war element in any of its routes by any of its aircraft."

A U.S. trade spokesperson representative told CNN they would review eligibility for the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act next year, which will be based upon "compliance with standards that include adherence to internationally recognized workers' rights, rule of law and human rights."

After that review, the U.S. Trade Representative could possibly recommend that the U.S. president add or remove certain countries from AGOA beneficiary country status.

The aircraft maker Boeing said they had no comment. And the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments did not respond to requests for comment (PH) either.

To Charleston, South Carolina now, Mary Schiavo, CNN Transportation Analysts and the former Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation. And Mary, it has been a long time and it's good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, there doesn't seem to be any major or significant effort to conceal the transportation of the weapons, you know, here by Ethiopian Airlines, they even build the Ministry of Defense for the transportation.

There are a lot of legal loopholes and semantics in play here regarding the law, which prohibits the use of civilian airlines, and the smuggling of weapons of war.

So, while the airline and the Ethiopian government may not have broken the letter of the law, they may have certainly failed to follow the spirit of the law. Is that a fair assessment?

SCHIAVO: I think that's a fair assessment. And also, it will depend upon exactly what the various laws said. There's so many treaties on flights around the world and it's also going to depend who the signatories are on those treaties. But I think clearly, the spirit of the law was broken.

VAUSE: Yes, I want to hear -- I want you to hear a little more from CNN's reporting. We found out that both cargo and passenger planes were used in this operation, though CNN has no evidence that commercial passengers were on any of the flights carrying weapons.

How significant is this question about whether or not they were paying passengers onboard the same flights as the weapons?

SCHIAVO: Well, if they were paying passengers on board or any passengers on board, for that matter, even if it was deadheading passengers, then that violates a number of laws because at that point, it would be a civilian flight, a civilian carrier, and a scheduled commercial passenger carrier and they of course, cannot carry munitions, war supplies, material in the -- in -- presumably, they were calling this that they were carrying more supplies and not just smuggling guns. But at that point, that is clearly a violation.

VAUSE: Because the Ethiopian government as the owner of Ethiopian Airlines, it can decide whether or not the flight is a civilian flight, even it's the same plane or if it's a commercial flight, right?

SCHIAVO: That's right. And many countries have those kinds of laws, including the United States. In times of national emergency, the United States can declare that the civilian airlines become basically part of a fleet to serve the country and the government can order them to become part of this national emergency.

Now, every country has their own set of laws. Ethiopia's laws may be very different and it's also different because they own the airline, the government owns the airline. But many countries have laws in place that allow them in times of emergency to use commercial planes, commercial airlines to perform military -- quayside military functions.


VAUSE: You know, two years ago, the U.S. Treasury Department sanction Mahan Air that's a privately owned Iranian airline, because it was being used by the Revolutionary Guard to smuggle weapons and transport weapons, I should say, into Yemen.

Here's part of the statement from Treasury at the time, the Iranian regime uses its aviation and shipping industries to supply its regional terrorists and militant groups with weapons.

Aviation and shipping industry should be vigilant and not allow their industries to be exploited by terrorists.

Are the actions of the Ethiopian government are a par here almost, is there a -- for this oppressive if you like for some kind of punitive measure?

SCHIAVO: Sure, there's a precedent that remains to be seen if the facts -- you know, as the facts come out, but it certainly seems like it's very similar to that.

Now, the interesting sort of hook on all these treaties about stopping the illegal smuggling of weapons or the weapons flow or trade or small arms that can be used for terrorism or atrocities is that every other signatory to the tree, for example, if Ethiopia hasn't signed these particular treaties, and the U.S. has -- the U.S. is tasked by the language of the treaty to enforce the treaty wherever it can.

So, other countries who have witnessed to this or can do something about treaty violations for arms, smuggling arms transport have the duty to do something about it.

VAUSE: There's also this reporting from CNN, many of the flights do not appear on popular online flight tracking platforms such as flightradar 24. When they do, the destination in Eritrea is often not visible, the flight path vanishes once the plane crosses the border from Ethiopia.

So, you know, this is sort of, I guess this is a very, very fishy just on the surface. It also suggests that, you know, these flights were not on regular commercial routes, if you like.

SCHIAVO: Well, that's right. And this also poses another problem, and that a lot of the equipment that allows the plane to be seen on flight tracking websites, popular places, is also equipment that allows collision avoidance equipment to be functional.

So, when you turn off that equipment, you are violating regulations, because commercial flights have to have collision avoidance equipment. And by turning it off, you have committed a violation.

And it's also telling that they turn off when they're passing into Eritrea, so they don't want people to know their route. And it's an international flight and you have to have collision avoidance operable equipment, so that's a violation.

VAUSE: Yes, if you don't want people knowing what you're doing, then something's clearly not right.

Mary, thank you. Appreciate you being with us.

Ethiopia has faced accusations of committing atrocities during the conflict in the Tigray region, including weaponizing humanitarian aid by preventing it from reaching areas in the grip of famine.

Here's J. Peter Pham the first U.S. Special Envoy to the Sahel region of Northern Africa.


J. PETER PHAM, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY, SAHEL REGION OF NORTHERN AFRICA: What's really unconscionable as Nima reported is the number -- the sheer number of people who are being affected.

In the Tigray region, we know that 400,000, at least, according to the World Food Program are in famine. Another 1.8 million people are on the verge of famine and that has spread to the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara.

The World Food Program has been able to get in 637 trucks into Tigray since mid-July. That's less than 10 percent of the minimum necessary to avert famine.


VAUSE: You can find more details on CNN's exclusive investigation over at our website that's at

So, the Pakistan has been rocked by 5.9 magnitude quake, so far, there's 20 people confirmed dead, hundreds more have been hurt. The epicenter was near the remote mountain village of Harnai, about 100 kilometers east of Quetta.

The turmoil came in the middle of the night as most was sleeping. The power out. Rescuers had to work with flashlights. One local official tells CNN some victims have been airlifted to hospital.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us now with more details. So, this is not a powerful quake by (INAUDIBLE) but enough to cause a lot of damage.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and I think you made a really important point. The fact that it happened in the middle of the night, it means a lot of people were likely indoors, likely sleeping, and that's where the initial reports are coming from that collapsed buildings with people inside of them. That is where we're seeing some of the injuries and the reported fatalities coming out of that region.

Here's what we know from the U.S. Geological Survey. This is a 5.9 magnitude earthquake, it occurred within the Balochistan province. And this house is about 12 million people, or about 12 million people reside within this particular portion of Pakistan.

And I want you to take note of the depth of this particular earthquake, about nine kilometers. And when we look at whether or not this was a shallow intermediate, or deep depth earthquake, this is a very shallow earthquake. And that means there's not a lot of ground to absorb the shaking that actually occurs from the particular earthquake. So, we do expect a considerable amount of damage from this because of its shallow nature.


DAM: Now, just investigating a little bit closely, there were reports from the USGS of around four million people feeling light shaking from this particular earthquake, and significantly less of population density experiencing strong shaking from the earthquake.

So, that's good news. Maybe perhaps this portion of Pakistan is a little less populated than other regions.

However, when we compare this to previous earthquakes of similar magnitude in a similar location, considering some of the structures, the vulnerability of the structures within this area, they give it about an 86 percent of estimated economic losses, or at least the potential for fatalities as well.

So, of course, we know that that number is likely to increase as more and more information comes out of this particular region.

So, we do know that there are coal mines within this area, those are susceptible to collapsing, especially when we have earthquakes of this magnitude, so something we need to monitor there.

But again, a lot of the structures within this portion of Pakistan, some of them made out of very comparable mud structures, very weak structures and the infrastructure unfortunately can't handle large earthquakes just like this.

So, this is a story that is unfolding and developing in time. John, back to you.

VAUSE: Derek, thank you. Derek Van Dam there with the very latest, appreciate that.

Well, a historic moment in the long fight against one of the oldest and most deadly infectious diseases in the world with the first steps now in the approval of a malaria vaccine.

The disease kills half a million people every year, most of them in Africa, including about 250,000 children. The vaccine is not perfect. It is expected to save many lives, though, and it will reduce deadly malaria by just 30 percent.

David McKenzie has our report.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, it's a hugely significant moment, the WHO is saying that this malaria vaccine will be allowed for widespread use in those countries which see medium to high transmission of this deadly parasitic disease.

You know, scientists have been working for generations to try and come up with an effective vaccine to combat malaria, which is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito, particularly here in the African continent.

It means a great deal to even the top officials at the who.


DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: I started my career as a malaria researcher, and I longed for the day that we would have an effective vaccine against this ancient and terrible disease. And today is that day, an historic day.


MCKENZIE: And scientists believe that this is truly historic. It has been worked on since at least the 80s. This RTS,S vaccine that was developed by GlaxoSmithKline and the Malaria Initiative.

And because of the complexity of parasitic diseases, this is not just the first for malaria, but a first for this kind of disease transmitted by parasites.

The malaria kills more than a quarter million children under the age of five across Africa every year. This will be used this vaccine in conjunction with other measures, including bed nets, and prophylactic drugs during the high transmission season that sees the efficacy to stop severe disease from malaria move from about 50 percent to around 70 percent in the best-case scenarios.

And this approval comes off the very large-scale pilot programs put out in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi over the last few years.

Certainly, this is a good moment for public health and an important step in the fight against this ancient disease.

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.

VAUSE: Still ahead, don't call it a thaw but the U.S. and China are making plans for a virtual summit. Not one person (PH) but at least a virtual one, that's between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping.



VAUSE: A significant legal win for abortion rights advocates in the U.S. in their efforts to strike down that controversial new anti- abortion law in Texas.

A federal judge has issued an order to block the ban on abortions after the six weeks of pregnancy. The Justice Department had requested to stay with the overt with the judge ruling. From the moment the law went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution. State of Texas has already indicated it will appeal.

U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping plan to meet virtually before the end of the year, a senior U.S. official says details will be worked out in the coming days. They've spoken by phone twice since Biden became president. Top diplomats reach the agreement during six hours of talks in Switzerland.

The U.S. raised concerns about Taiwan, Hong Kong and human rights. China urged the U.S. to stop interfering in its internal affairs.

The agreement on a virtual summit came out days of record breaking incursions by Chinese warplanes into Taiwan's airspace. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with French officials in Paris, urged Beijing to cease its military activities close to Taiwan.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The activity is destabilizing. It risks miscalculation, and it has the potential to undermine regional peace and stability.

So, we strongly urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure incursion directed to Taiwan.


VAUSE: CNN's Ivan Watson following developments live for us this hour from Hong Kong. A virtual summit seems like a glorified phone call at best. And so, I guess they'll hammer out this issue of Taiwan when they hold that virtual summit.

But it really comes down to whether or not, you know, China is just saber rattling for a domestic audience, or whether it really does have ambitions in the near future to take over Taiwan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure, and that is not entirely clear. You know, we haven't heard very much from the senior leadership of China about Taiwan over recent days. It was a long holiday weekend in Mainland China.

But the meeting itself, you know, the reviews are out, John, and he does sound according to both Beijing and Washington, as if the meeting was -- they use words productive, candid, frank, in depth, and those are similar words used by both the U.S. and Chinese governments.

And that is a significant step forward because the relations between Washington and Beijing have really been fraught ever since the last year and a half or so of the Trump administration.

And the last time that these two officials met in Alaska in March, it was also alongside the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart, it was a bit of a mess where both delegations basically argued with each other in front of the international press and criticized each other. This was a closed-door meeting and Zurich, six hours, according to a U.S. administration official.

And as you mentioned, the usual hotspot issues were discussed not only Taiwan and presumably, the Chinese military flights which have tapered off. We don't have reports of any but one flight on Tuesday into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone, but also human rights Hong Kong, Xinjiang in the South China Sea.

The Chinese official Yang Jiechi, quoted as telling the U.S. to respect China's territorial integrity and national security interests and to stop intervening in China's internal affairs.


WATSON: The U.S. side calling for -- and here's the catch phrase coming from the Biden administration, responsible competition, basically an acknowledgment that the world's two largest economies are really rivals right now.

Beijing and the Chinese official don't want to use the term competition. But I do think that that's really what we see in bilateral relations right now. And we'll just have to watch to see if these governments can continue talking to each other, John.

VAUSE: Well, talking is good. Ivan, thank you. Ivan Watson live for us in Hong Kong.

America's top diplomat says he had very positive talks with France. But the French Foreign Minister wants actions, not positive words to resolve their strained relations.

France was left outraged when Australia pulled out of a $66 billion contract to buy French submarines after joining a new trilateral defense agreement with the U.S. and U.K. and ever since, the Secretary of State has been trying to mend fences.


BLINKEN: The conversations we've had just in the last 24 hours were very positive, very productive and reflect a lot of important work that's in progress. Work that was tasked by President Biden and President Macron, who as I say, deepen consultations, deepen cooperation, deepen coordination, across a range of issues that make a real difference for citizens of France and citizens of the United States.


VAUSE: Presidents Biden and Macron scheduled to meet later this month at the G20 summit in Rome.

We will take a short break, when we come back, the Facebook whistleblower may be back on Capitol Hill in the coming hours. We'll tell you why the January 6th committee into the insurgency in the Capitol Hill riots wants to hear from her.

Also ahead, health officials say the teenage brain more susceptible to emotional problems as screen time increases. More on that in a moment.


VAUSE: Welcome back to our views all around the world. I'm John Vause, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Live pictures right now on Capitol Hill in Washington, the time is 12:29 past midnight there in Washington, D.C.

Sources tell CNN, the Facebook whistleblower could meet in the coming hours with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection.

The Committee believes Frances Haugen could have information on the role Facebook played leading up to the riots. Haugen has read thousands of documents which show the company knows its platforms are used to spread hate, violence and misinformation.

A senior Facebook executive told CNN on Sunday, though it's ludicrous to blame the January 6th violence on social media, because the company cannot control all the content on its site.

Frances Haugen also spoke about the addictive behaviors teenagers can develop while using social media. And the experts are backing up those claims.

Here's CNN Clare Sebastian.


FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: It's just like cigarettes. Teenagers don't have good self-regulation.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whistleblower Frances Haugen says she saw how Instagram's algorithm can lead the teenage brain down a negative spiral.

HAUGEN: They say explicitly, I feel bad when I use Instagram, and yet I can't stop.

SEBASTIAN: Experts say they have been seeing this for years.

DR. PAUL WEIGLE, ADOLESCENT AND CHILD PSYCHIATRIST: You could hit something really exciting, or you could connect with someone in a really positive way that feels great. These things don't happen often, but they could happen at any moment.

And this is not unlike a gambler who's playing a slot machine. And just plays it over and over, because you never know when that next pull is going to hit a jackpot.

SEBASTIAN: Studies have shown the part of the brain that controls decision-making and judgment is still developing in teenagers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to understand the science of teens' emotional life. SEBASTIAN: Doctor and filmmaker Delaney Ruston says that can make it

harder for them to stop doing something, even if it's upsetting.

DELANEY RUSTON, DOCTOR AND PRODUCER, "SCREENAGERS": They will have micro emotions that are positive, like get attention, and micro emotions that are negative. Ooh, I feel jealous of that person. The real concern that we have as a society is the teen brain is primed to more likely get absorbed by that negative feeling.

SEBASTIAN (on camera): It's not just the type of content that can affect the teenage brain. It's the amount of time spent just sitting and scrolling.

WEIGLE: Remember that adolescence is a time when the brain is not finished developing, right? And it's not actually growing. It's actually shrinking, but it's becoming more efficient.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Dr. Paul Weigle says if social media starts to displace other activities, that could leave a permanent mark.

WEIGLE: If a young person isn't engaging in certain activities sufficiently, whether they be, for example, social activities, or developing musical talent, or -- or reading, these parts of the brain are -- tend to wither, and are destroyed, so that they can never really be regained.

HAUGEN: They say, Just take your kid's phone away. And the reality is these issues are a lot more complicated than that.

SEBASTIAN: Quitting social media in a digital world is not always realistic. Experts say there's a middle ground.

WEIGLE: I think the social media companies could very realistically put safeguards in place that encourage people to take breaks from social media.

RUSTON: Teens tell me over and over that they feel better when they have significant bouts of time off social media.

SEBASTIAN: Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: We will stay with this story a little longer, and we'll head to Los Angeles, where Judy Ho is there, clinical and forensic neuropsychologist and author of the book "Stop Self-Sabotage."

Judy, nice to see you.

JUDY HO, AUTHOR, "STOP SELF-SABOTAGE": Hi, John. Nice to see you, too.

VAUSE: OK. I'm wondering, could your next book be "Stop Using Instagram," at least until you're 25 years old and your brain is fully developed. Because that is when, you know, up until that point you suffer serious harm to your mental health. HO: Absolutely. The segment that you just showed there made a lot of

very good points. The teenage brain is especially susceptible to becoming addicted to social media, because the executive functions centers, the frontal lobes that make your bigger decisions, planning, they're not well-developed until about the age of 25, as you just mentioned.

And during this time, teens are much more likely to be impulsive, to get trapped in negative cycles, to think that there's no way out. And when you add the pressures of the everyday world, trying to belong, trying to be popular, trying to make sure that your life looks better than somebody else's, this idea that virtual life, really making sure that it looks pristine and interesting and lively, all of the teenagers that we have right now in our worlds, they are all affected by this. to some degree. And especially teenagers who have pre- existing issues with their self-esteem, or possibly risks for depression and anxiety. They're especially susceptible to this.

VAUSE: Long before social media came along, kids had angst. They had insecurities. I know. I was a kid. You know, there's worries about being left out by friends.

But now, kids know when their friends are hanging out without them, because they post photographs on Instagram. They know how popular they are, because it's quantified by likes and followers. And this must be so incredibly difficult to deal with, especially when your brain is not fully developed.

HO: Exactly, and what these teens are seeking is that really temporary boost in self-esteem, when somebody gives them a life or somebody gives them a nice comment on one of their posts. And that's what drives them to go back over and over again, to keep opening up that app and to look at it.


And they get that media dopamine hit. But what it does over time, John, is it actually messes with the regular development of the reward cycle. So it primes you, essentially, for addictive behaviors.

And unfortunately, that boost is temporary. So, the more you're inclined to do that, the more you're dependent on these temporary boosts.

And of course, sometimes you open the app, and you see something terrible, like what you just said, that all your friends are out somewhere, and they've excluded you. And then that leads you down a cascade of events in your mind, second guessing why they don't like you. Then you start to spy on them more, looking at all of their posts on social media.

And before, you know, hours are spent doing this, instead of something that would be more proactive and better for their social life and self-esteem.

VAUSE: Wow. That sounds like that could've been my childhood, if I grew up with social media.

We also know that that sort of reward hit, they say it's like a chemical reaction similar to when people do cocaine, similar feeling. And this rewards center is most active when we're actually talking about ourselves.

The Addiction Center reports in the real world, people talk about themselves about 30 to 40 percent of the time. However, social media is all about showing off one's life and accomplishments, so people who talk about themselves a staggering 80 percent of the time. And I'm going to guess that's not a good thing, especially for social development?

HO: Absolutely. And, you know, one of the strongest links to depression and what makes people feel more depressed is actually drawing in words. You know, that idea of self-centeredness, not so much that it's egotistical, but that you're always thinking and talking about yourself.

In fact, one of the behavioral interventions that we talk to depressed and anxious patients about is look outwards, connect with people, help somebody. Say hello to someone. Ask them how they're doing. And that actually takes our mind off of their own suffering.

And so if you think about this, sometimes talking about yourself 80 percent of the time is actually not always rewarding. And as you mentioned, the dopamine centers, this is the indigenous chemical that your brain makes. It's a neurotransmitter that is responsible for you feeling happy and having that quick little uptick.

But if you're have it too much in a natural way, it really messes with the development of your reward centers and makes it harder to delay gratification. It makes it harder to have impulse control.

And over time, it can lead to all kinds of stuff: hypervigilance, decrease, sleep quality, and a host of other types of problems that, quite honestly, can only be solved if you start to function offline and to do things that are more naturalistic and not all about this sort of very artificial amping of the dopamine system.

VAUSE: Yes, it is so important. We're out of time, but it is so important. One thing to do: shut down the brain for at least 20 minutes a day and don't think about anything. Give it a chance to reboot. That's my advice.

HO: I like that. I like that. Thank you, John.

VAUSE: Appreciate it. Nice to see you. Take care.

HO: nice to see you.

VAUSE: Well, the ruler of Dubai has denied a U.K. court ruling. A top judge finally ordered spyware to be used to hack his estranged wife's phone. Details in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VAUSE: Well, an English court has found the ruler of Dubai ordered the hacking of his ex-wife's phone during an ongoing custody battle over their children. The senior judge says Princess Haya and her staff were targeted through the Israeli-designed Pegasus spyware.

CNN's Nina dos Santos has details.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: England's high court ruled that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, ordered his agents to hack into the phones of his former wife, Princess Haya as well as her legal team, security advisers, other members of her staff, and most troublingly, a member of the U.K. House of Lords, Baroness Fiona Shackleton, the barrister who is representing Princess Haya in an ongoing and increasingly acrimonious custody battle.

She's embroiled in -- with Sheikh Mohammed over the two children, a boy and a girl, that the couple share.

Well, Princess Haya fled to Dubai two years ago, bound for the U.K. in the company of her young son and daughter, saying she had become increasingly concerned about the welfare of two daughters of Sheikh Mohammed by previous marriages in Dubai, who appeared to be being held in the emirate against their will, after having been recaptured trying to flee.

So Andrew McFarlane, the U.K.'s most senior family judge, said that the findings in this case represented what he called an abuse of trust and an abuse of power.

He also said that they were part of a sustained campaign of intimidation and threat leveled against Princess Haya that left her feeling terribly unsafe.

Well, Princess Haya appears to have been targeted alongside her team, with the notorious Pegasus software. This is spyware that has been made by the Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO, which has been proven to have been used by authoritarian regimes to crack down on journalists and also on human rights activists.

Its use in a U.K. court case, on British soil, will be deeply troubling.

It is also embarrassing for a very prominent figure here in the U.K., Sheikh Mohammed, thanks to his love of horse racing, enjoys warm relations with the monarch, her Majesty, the queen. And the UAE has recently cemented a multi-billion-dollar investment deal with post- Brexit Britain.

Sheikh Mohammed disputed the judgment, saying in a statement that it painted an incomplete picture. As part of the statement he said, "I have always denied the allegations made against me, and I continue to do so."

Nina dos Santos, CNN, in London.


VAUSE: "Forbes" is out with the list of the 400 wealthiest Americans for 2021. And topping it out, the top three: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg.

All of the top 10 are men. The richest woman, Alice Walton, ranks at No. 12. She's the only daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and she is worth nearly $64 billion, according to "Forbes."

It's worth noting the name Trump is nowhere to be found on this year's list.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. WORLD SPORT is up next. And I will be back at the top of the hour with more world news.