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China-U.S. Relations; Ethiopia Used Its Flagship Commercial Airline To Transport Weapons; Fighting Malaria. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired October 07, 2021 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again everyone, I'm John Vause. Coming up this hour on CNN Newsroom, amid soaring tensions between Mainland China and Taiwan bringing renewed warnings that war may be imminent, the leaders of the United States and China will sit down and hold a virtual summit.

A CNN investigation reveals, Ethiopian Airlines was flying weapons of war to neighboring Eritrea and ally in a year long, brutal military offensive on separatists in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region.

And will take you behind the wheel with the team who designs James Bond's Aston Martins

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.

VAUSE: We begin this hour with word what could be a much needed circuit breaker in the downward spiraling relations between the United States and China. Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping will hold a virtual summit before the end of the year. More details are expected in the coming days.

The two leaders have spoken only twice by phone since Joe Biden took office. Both sides agreed to the virtual meeting during six hours of diplomatic talks in Switzerland, which also saw the U.S. raised concerns over Taiwan, Hong Kong as well as human rights abuses.

Well, China urged an end to what it called American interference in its internal affairs. To Beijing, internal affairs covers Taiwan, and the self-governing island is considered by the mainland to be a road province, where in recent days, the military has been on a state of readiness, releasing a glitzy video in case there was any doubt.

Ready to respond they say after a record number of incursions by Chinese warplanes flying through Taiwan's air defense zone. The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wants an end to Beijing's provocations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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 and coercion directed to Taiwan.


VAUSE: CNN Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson following developments for us live this hour from Hong Kong. It is a significant development. They've had conversations before, not substantive it seems for now this will be a chance with a very, very long to do list.

IVAN WATSON, CNNSENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, the last time that these two officials met that was in Alaska in March, along with the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. And in front of the cameras, the U.S. and the Chinese delegations basically argued and criticized each other. And the White House later said that that was unproductive.

Now, both sides have really changed their tunes saying that the closed door six hour meeting in Zurich was frank, it was productive. It was wide ranging. The two delegations discussed the many disagreements it appears in the Beijing-Washington relationship, human rights, Hong Kong, the South China Sea, Taiwan, Shinjang.

And according to the U.S., there was an agreement in principle for this virtual meeting before the end of the year between presidents Biden and Xi Jinping. We have not heard that same comment coming from the Chinese side, though the reviews from the Chinese Foreign Ministry have been in general pretty positive as well.

The Chinese official Yang Jiechi, he also urged the U.S. not to interfere in China's internal affairs and to respect China's national integrity and territorial interests. China does not like the U.S. criticizing, for example, its human rights record.

The issue of Taiwan, of course has been bubbling in the background. A China has tapered off its military flights into China's air defense identification zone. There has not been a flight really since Tuesday. But the Taiwanese defense minister had warned that China's military capabilities are going to improve dramatically by the year 2025.

And just to get a sense of the tone here, one of the most hawkish voices in China fired back on Twitter which I might add is an internet platform that is banned inside China unless you have a VPN.


But this is the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, writing that the People's Liberation Army already now has the ability to, as he puts it, liberate Taiwan at one stroke, why wait until 2025. So that's the kind of rhetoric and some of the threats that have been coming from Beijing, which has never ruled out the possibility of using forced to capture Taiwan, an island of some 24 million people with a democratic system of governance that's never been ruled by the Communist Party. We've heard Washington, basically urging, and this is going to be an ongoing source of contention between Beijing and Washington. At the very least, they are talking we'll just have to see if they keep talking. John.

VAUSE: Ivan, thank you. Ivan Watson live for us in Hong Kong. Thank you.

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow and military expert at Defense Priorities, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC. He's also the author of the Eleventh Hour in 2020 America. Colonel, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

LT. COL DANIEL L. DAVIS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: OK, there hasn't been this much talk about a possible war between Mainland China and Taiwan in 40 years. There are myriad reasons why, but in your assessment, is there one factor in particular, which best explains why now?

DAVIS: Well, I think it's really a confluence of events that is coming together in sort of a Nexus moment right now. You have basically the end of like 20 years of military development and advancement by the Chinese, you have worsening trade relations with the United States and China, and lots of other, you know, pushback on that. And then you also have on the island of Taiwan, a distancing from the idea that they even want to reunify with the mainland China, which used to be kind of a given on both sides.

All those things coming together. Now you see a much more competent Xi Jinping because he knows his military now is much better than it was an exactly within the realm of possibility for them to take the island.

VAUSE: Well, the Biden administration policy is essentially a continuation of deescalation of tension in the Taiwan Strait. Listen to President Joe Biden, here he is.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I spoken with Xi about Taiwan. We agree we will abide by the Taiwan agreement. That's where we are. And we made it clear that I don't think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement.


VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) playing everything but ever at the Wall Street Journal on their opinion pages, the headline read, make it clear, the U.S. will defend Taiwan that's urgently needed. The writer goes on to argue to restore American credibility after the pullout from Afghanistan, a whole bunch of other reasons. But really, does any good come from red lines, or declaring absolutes?

DAVIS: No, no, 100 percent now. I mean, that's why the ambiguity of the strategic ambiguity over the years has served everybody well, because there haven't been any hard red lines. And, you know, movements like this from the Wall Street Journal, or the absolute worst thing we could possibly do was to declare that we would defend Taiwan with whom we have no defense treaty, and tying us into a potential war with China, because the Taiwan issue is something of great emotional importance to the Chinese. And it's at best a peripheral interest of the United States.

So for that reason, not to mention the 100 miles off the shore, vasta 6,000 miles off our shore, that would be a recipe for disaster to try to engage with that.

VAUSE: Well, Taiwan believes that in three years time, China's military will be capable of launching a full invasion. But here's the thing, this is not easy. Maintaining an invasion force across the 100 miles, what are you talking about the Taiwan Strait, landing on a coastline with typography, which is a defenders dream. Taiwan could mobilize up to 400,000, maybe more troops. And there's three to one ratio for invaders versus defenders, which would mean you rough calculation, China would have to send 1.2 million PLA troops into Taiwan. So yes, this is a huge gamble. Why would Xi Jinping take this risk, the whole risk reward equation seems out of whack?

DAVIS: Well, I'm actually not as confident that China can't do it. And I'm not as confident of Taiwan's ability to defend themselves. They should have plenty of natural capabilities, and they haven't built up over years. But a bunch of reports in recent years, and some even recently this year, have shown that the Taiwanese have not taken their defense seriously enough. Their readiness is actually quite low.

On the other side of the equation, though, the Chinese is very high. And when you look especially that their cyber capability, their missile capability, and then their sea and air force capability, it's possible if they do it in a way that I've actually described in just a couple of months ago, how could actually do it at launch such an attack and win because it's not as bad for them as it may appear.


VAUSE: Yes, I guess that that equation we're looking at, that doesn't even take into account the US. I mean U.S. involvement here. I know that there's any obligation to plan to defend, rather than coming to defend. But if the U.S. got involved, and I know the war games have played out, which show the U.S. losing this compensation to China. But isn't that the point of the war games? Are they meant to stress weaknesses within the U.S. defense system?

DAVIS: Well, only if you then set of set about to correct those deficiencies that are formed. But here's the real issue. Here's where the rub comes into it. In order to, and especially if it was going to be an imminent attack from China, we would have to forward deployed troops in substantially larger numbers that we have now. We would have to stockpile weapons to personnel and everything else for many months in the areas close to it. We would have to go on a war footing as we did, for example, before Desert Storm or the 2003 invasion of Iraq, you know, long build up time. If war comes without warning, and we're just on the footing that we're on right now, we simply don't have the capacity to engage in a war board and just like a couple of weeks with China, and it would probably be too late by then.

VAUSE: Which is why it's best to keep diplomacy keep talking. Keep deescalating.

DAVIS: Absolutely. I'm 100 percent supportive of that.

VAUSE: Colonel, good to see you. Thank you, sir.

DAVIS: Always my pleasure. Thank you.

VAUSE: When we come back the role Ethiopia's national airline has played in the country's brutal civil war, a CNN exclusive report in just a moment. Plus a big step forward in the battle against the disease which has stopped Africa for decades. The world's first malaria vaccine receives the green light for use in children.


VAUSE: Welcome back, Southern Pakistan has been rocked by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake. So far, at least 20 people confirmed dead, hundreds more injured. The epicenter was near the remote mountain village of Harnai about 100 kilometers east of Quetta. It struck in the middle of the night most people were asleep. Power was knocked out and rescuers had to work with flashlights.

A local official tells CNN some of the injured have been airlifted to hospital.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has more on the earthquake right now and yes, 5.9 it's strong but not, you know, the strongest we've seen but enough to do some damage and obviously take some lives.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. What needs to be taken into consideration is that this was a very shallow earthquake and we'll talk about the importance of that but here's what we know what we can pass along to our viewers at home. This occurred in the Baluchistan province. This has about 12 million people within this province but within the Harnai district that you mentioned, sparsely populated a mountainous region of southwestern Pakistan.


Regardless magnitude 5.9 earthquake and occurred in the middle of the night that is important because that means most people were likely sleeping within structures and digging into the research around this area. The structures here are very threatened to earthquakes because of just the quality of their craftsmanship and the structures they're often made out of clay and vulnerable type materials.

Now the death that nine kilometers that is considered a shallow earthquake. This is important because if it was below 70 kilometers, for instance, according to the USGS, that would be more of an intermediate or deep earthquake where there's a lot of Earth, let's just say to be quite frank, to absorb the shaking that occurs within the earthquake. But with this shallow of an earthquake, that means it will be felt along the surface quite readily.

Now, in terms of the population density, there were about 4 million people that felt light shaking, but significantly less people felt the moderate to strong shaking. You can see right around the epicenter of this magnitude 5.9 that occurred again, across portions of Southwest Pakistan.

Now in terms of a 5.9 earthquake, we would typically see about one 5.0 magnitude earthquake or greater aftershocks. So we do anticipate the aftershocks to continue with this particular earthquake, original earthquake that occurred. And as the search and rescue operations unfold in the days to come, we really do have a very dry forecast, which is good, but extremely hot. So that will be played into consideration as people seek water, shelter, and other basic necessities. John.

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

Well, for decades, Ethiopia has benefited from a U.S. government free trade agreement, which grants favorable access to market is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And that has allowed Ethiopian Airlines in recent years to build a global fleet become one of the world's leading airlines.

For both the United States and Ethiopia, this is a relationship which matters. But for almost a year now conflict is rage and Ethiopia's Tigray region. Numerous CNN investigations have uncovered evidence of Ethiopian government atrocities. And CNN has now found evidence that Ethiopian Airlines cargo carriers have been shuffling weapons between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and what experts believe may constitute a violation of international law, and that trade agreement with the U.S. Here's Nima Elbagir.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With direct flights from over 95 international destinations, fly Ethiopian Airlines, the new spirit of Africa, Star Alliance member.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN 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 onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 3313 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 (INAUDIBLE). 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.

(on camera): CNN, CNN, were CNN. Journalists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's impossible.

ELBAGIR: 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 out, because we're not going to the camp willingly.

We traveled to Tigray last April and so 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.


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

In various statements, Ethiopian Airlines has always adamantly denied ferrying arms on passenger or cargo planes. But in addition to speaking with whistleblowers, verifying cargo manifests and authenticating stills, CNN has obtained air waybill receipts that show at least six occasions in November, where Ethiopian Airlines build 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 the 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: And responding to CNNs latest investigation, Ethiopian Airlines said it complies with all aviation regulations and quote, to the best of its knowledge and its records. It is not transported any war element in any of its routes by anyone's aircraft. The U.S. trade spokesperson told CNN they would review eligibility for the U.S.- African Growth and Opportunity Act next year, which will be based quote, upon compliance with standards that include adherence to internationally recognized worker's rights, rule of law, and human rights.

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

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing said they had no comment. The Ethiopian and Eritrean government did not respond to requests to comment either.

To Charleston, South Carolina now Mary Schiavo, CNN transportation analyst 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, it doesn't seem to be any major or significant effort to conceal the transportation of the weapons, you know, 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 depend upon exactly what the various laws have 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 is reporting. We found out that both cargo and passenger planes were used in this operation. And 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 on board 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 or supplies material in the, you know, presumably, they're calling us 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 in 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 sanctioned Mahan Air, that's a privately owned Iranian airline, because it was being used by the Revolutionary Guard to smuggle weapons, 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 military groups with weapons. Aviation and shipping industry should be vigilant and not allow the industry to be exploited by terrorists.

Are the actions of the Ethiopian government are part (ph) here almost? Is there's a precedent 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 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 this 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 Flight Radar 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 all 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've 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 routes. 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 UNITED STATES SPECIAL ENVOY FOR THE SAHEL REGION: What's really unconscionable as NEMA report 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 and other 1.8 million people are on the verge of famine. And that 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: And there are more details on CNN's exclusive investigation, you can find that at

And historic moment in the long fight against one of the oldest and most deadly infectious diseases with first steps in the approval of a malaria vaccine. The disease kills half a million people every year, excuse me, mostly in Africa, including about 250,000 children. The vaccine is not perfect, it's expected to reduce deadly malaria by about 30 percent. CNN's David McKenzie has a 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.

[01:29:43] ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS: I started my career as a malaria researcher and I long 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 RTSS vaccine that was developed by GlaxoSmithKline and the Malaria Initiative.

And because of the complexity of parasitic diseases, this is not just a 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 5, 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 a about 30 percent to 70 percent in the best-case scenario.

And this approval comes after a 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.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: On their way to seizing power the Taliban unlocked prisons across the country and thousands of inmates were set free. One of them, according to the U.S., carried out the deadly attack on Kabul's airport.

Details in a moment.

Also in Germany, the ongoing fight against anti-Semitism. An international hotel under investigation after a Jewish musician says he was refused service and asked to hide his Star of David Pendant during check-in.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Pope Francis is now speaking out about a report exposing a decades' long sexual abuse scandal within the French Catholic Church. The report found more than 200,000 miners were abused by Catholic clergy in France since 1950.

CNN's Delia Gallagher has more now reporting from Rome.


DELIA GALLAHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Pope Francis called the report detailing sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church a quote, "moment of shame". The Pope was speaking at his weekly audience at the Vatican on Wednesday. Here is some more of what he had to say.

POPE FRANCIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): I wish to express my sorrow and my pain, to the victims of the trauma that they have suffered. And also my shame, our shame, my shame for the too- incapacity of the church to put them at the center of its attention. I assure them of my prayers.


GALLAGHER: The Pope said the report was hard, but healthy. And by healthy the Pope means that a reckoning of this kind is necessary if there is to be progress for justice and healing.

The Pope called on church leaders to ensure that quote, "similar tragedies never happen again". He said the Catholic Church should be a safe home for everyone.

(on camera): Delia Gallagher, CNN -- Rome.


VAUSE: A Jewish singer says he was the victim of blatant anti-Semitism while checking in at a hotel in Leipzig in Germany. He told CNN's Fred Pleitgen what happened next.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over) : Jewish German musician Gil Ofarim close to tears in this video he posted on Instagram right after he said staff at this hotel in eastern Germany told him they wouldn't allow him to check in unless he concealed a necklace bearing the Star of David.

GIL OFARIM, MUSICIAN: He told me to put away my (INAUDIBLE) David Star and I was really shocked and looked over to the other person and he just repeated the same sentence.

PLEITGEN: Gil Ofarim is a big star in Germany with thousands of fans. But he tells me the moment he was singled out and denied service for being Jewish, he never felt more alone.

(on camera): Did anyone come to your age? I mean you would think when something like that happens that someone would jump in and support you, right?

OFARIM: No. No support, no one like speaking up, no one.

PLEITGEN: Gil Ofarim's video has gone viral in Germany. Hundreds protested outside the hotel, to support him. And in a statement, the Weston Hotel, part of the Marriott Group says it has launched an investigation, quote, "Our goal is to integrate support and respect all our guests and employees no matter which religion they believe in. The employees concerned have been suspended, and we will clarify the issue without compromises. But Gil Ofarim says so far the hotels has not apologized to him.

OFARIM: No, there was no apology. There was no statement. There was nothing.

PLEITGEN: On the same day as the incident in the German hotel, the Auschwitz Memorial announced that barracks at the former Nazi extermination camp where more than a million, mostly Jewish people were killed, had been desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti.

Jewish groups have long been warning of a massive rise in anti- Semitism in Europe. The coronavirus pandemic has only made things worse, with conspiracy theories like QAnon moving anti-Semitism more into the mainstream. The head of the American Jewish Committee in Berlin tells me.

REMKO LEEMHUIS, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE, BERLIN: During those protests we have registered hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents, not necessarily crimes, but anti-Semitic incidents. And this has definitely fueled the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany over the last year.

PLEITGEN (on camera): And Gil Ofarim continues to say that he's absolutely shocked by this incident. He also says that he's not sure whether or not he's going to press charges against the hotel and possibly some of the staff. But he says what he really wants is for there to be fundamental action against anti-Semitism here in Germany.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN -- Berlin.


VAUSE: Well, there has been strong condemnation from Germany's foreign minister. In a statement he writes that he's "Stunned by the anti- Semitic insults that artist Gil Ofarim received, and that many Jews in our country are exposed to this kind of anti-Semitism every day. Adding Leipzig is not a case on its own and anti-Semitism has no place in our country."

Well, it seems maybe the Taliban set in motion the deadly attack at Afghanistan's Kabul airport days earlier. Two U.S. officials say the ISIS-K suicide bomber had been released from prison just days earlier.

CNN's Oren Liebermann has details.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Just hours before the Taliban took control of Kabul, they emptied out two major prisons around the capital of Afghanistan. Thousands of prisoners released into a city in disarray.

The Taliban's supreme leader called the prisoners political detainees. But they were members of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS-K. One of those was Abdul Rahman (ph). Two U.S. official say, an ISIS-K member. 11 days later it was Rahman who carried out the suicide bombing at Kabul International Airport's Abby gate, killing 13 U.S. service members and about 170 Afghans.

Officials say he'd been released from the prison nearby Bagram Air Base. The base was under U.S. control. It was given to the Afghan military this summer then fell to the Taliban. The Afghans have run the prison since 2013.

The attack underscores the chaotic final days, of the end of the America's longer war and the risk of terror emerging from Afghanistan once again.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: It's a real possibility, in the not too distant future, six, 12, 18, 24, 36 months -- that kind of time frame for reconstitution of Al Qaeda or ISIS --


LIEBERMANN: The Biden faced criticism for its decision to abandon Bagram, the heart of U.S. military operations for two decades. The White House has made clear that no one will be fired over how America's longest war ended.

John Sopko (ph), the U.S. inspector general who monitors U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, is not surprised.

JOHN SOPKO, SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR AFGHANISTAN RECONSTRUCTION: All of the reports we've done, no one in the government has been held accountable. I always joke that the only person who's ever going to get fired over Afghanistan, it's probably going to be me.

Nobody else, not the generals who came up and spun and spun and spun, and the ambassadors and eight administrators who gave bogus data to you -- none of them will be held accountable.

LIEBERMANN: In a House Oversight hearing, Sopko pointed out years of bad strategy, wasted spending and more that led to this ending and one brutal conclusion.

SOPKO: There were successes but overall there were a lot of failures.

LIEBERMANN (on camera): 20 years of war in Afghanistan is now, of course, over. But the questions about why it ended as it ended are still very much open questions. The special inspector general saying he's looking into why the Afghan government collapse and the Afghan military collapsed the way it did.

Of course, that means the question of accountability and who will be held accountable, that also remains an open question.

Liebermann, CNN -- in the Pentagon.


VAUSE: A significant win for those in the U.S. opposed to a controversial new anti-abortion law in Texas. A federal judge has issued an order the block the law which bans abortion after the 6the week of pregnancy, the Justice Department requested a stay 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."

The state of Texas has indicated is already planning to appeal.

Well as wildfire season around the world gets longer and more destructive, Israeli experts are finding ways to relieve the burden on firefighters by using the land to contain the flames.


VAUSE: Green peace activists delivered a visual message outside the Louvre on Wednesday. Black smoke pumped out of a mock oil rig, in the protest of Paris Museum's partnership with the oil giant Total Energies.

A banner over the Louvre's facade announced Total's regular financing of exhibits. Green Peace claims the company is using a form of cultural diplomacy to advance its oil and fossil fuel projects.

Climate change is creating longer and more devastating fire seasons. But in Israel they're now using the region's biodiversity and land management as containment measures which in turn frees up firefighters.

Hadas Gold has our report.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A black gash in a mountainside near Jerusalem, August fires leaving ever bigger scars like those in forests around the world, a reminder of a change ravaging the planet.


GOLD (on camera): Thousands of acres here in the hills near Jerusalem turned into a blackened wasteland. Even now weeks later, a burnt smell still lingers in the air.

(voice over): As the climate crisis makes fire seasons longer and more dangerous, Jerusalem region forest supervisor Chanoch Zoref, manipulates the areas vegetation to try and keep the fires at bay especially near sensitive areas like this psychiatric hospital.

CHANOCH ZOREF, FOREST FIRE EXPERT: The fire season in this land today is almost two months longer than it used to be in the 80s.

GOLD (on camera): And that was because of climate change.

ZOREF: The climate. So what we're trying to do is to change as much as possible the composition of all over that area of the trees of all the vegetation.

GOLD: Non-native trees like these pines planted decades ago burned quickly, the perfect fuel for a fast-moving fire. Now, pines are cut where necessary, swapped for native plants that burn slowly, like olive trees and Jerusalem oak.

Strategically placed olive grove along with these firebreaks helps keep the August fire away from the hospital's patients and staff without the help of any firefighters.

ZOREF: 180 people, it's more a miracle.

GOLD: Just a few kilometers away from the hospital, another stark example of how simple land management can be the difference between life and death.

These vineyards saved from devastation despite being just steps away from 20 meter high flames.

ZOREF: You can see an island inside the fireproof and green island. The island is this irrigated area, being held for (INAUDIBLE) that is irrigated, cultivated all the time so it doesn't catch the fire.

GOLD: Constantly irrigated vines, full of water, plus carefully managed and cleaned forest floor, help keep these valuable vineyards from burning despite the fact that again, no firefighters reached this area.

(on camera): What is it about these vineyards that can teach us about how to manage fires?

ZOREF: To take an area that you think is good to stop a fire, and to make very intense continuation of agriculture, whatever it is -- either a vineyard, an orchard, an olive orchard, or whatever. And those areas are very efficient and they give you other purpose, other services.

GOLD: As Zoref says the climate reality is changing, that's a fact. As fires rage for longer, faster, and stronger people like him are doing what they can with what they have.

Hadas Gold, CNN -- Jerusalem.


VAUSE: Lawmakers in Turkey have finally ratified the Paris Climate Change agreement, five years after signing on. Turkey had argued it was not a developed country in the context of the accord. Developed countries are held to a much greater burden when it comes to mitigating carbon emissions.

The president says the countries which have produced the most carbon emission to take on a much bigger role.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Unlike the past, this time no one can afford the luxury to say I am too powerful so I will not pay the bill.

Because climate change treats mankind quite equally. It treats everyone exactly the same, regardless of the differences between the European or the Asian American, or the African, the rich, or the poor.


VAUSE: The U.A.E. is aiming to move away from fossil fuels in the coming years, one reason is because of climate change. The country is one of the world's top oil producers, it's now betting big on solar and nuclear energy to help them reach their goals.

CNN's Becky Anderson has our report.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Deep in the Sweihan desert, lies an notion of silicone and steel. No Abu Dhabi is the world's largest single site solar power plant point. Stretching over three square miles, it's at the heart of the UAE's pivot from fossil fuels to clean energy sources.

OTHMAN AL-ALI, CEO, EMIRATES WATER AND ELECTRICITY COMPANY: It reaches up to 49 to 55 Celsius in the summer.

ANDERSON: Othman Al-Ali, the CEO of Emirates Water and Electricity Company in Abu Dhabi is one of the people leading this energy transition.

AL-ALI: We are on an ambitious path to increase the solar capacity connected to the grid line. 8 gigawatts, by 2030, that will mean it delivers 50 percent of our energy in Abu Dhabi from clean and renewable sources.

ANDERSON (on camera): Is that realistic that target?

AL-ALI: Definitely realistic and definitely achievable, our plans are ready to be implemented.


ANDERSON (voice over): Back in 2017, the nation pledged that half of its energy would be clean by 2050. The U.A.E. is also investing in nuclear, and when fully operational, the four reactors here at the Barakah Plant will supply up to a quarter of the country's electricity needs.

AL-ALI: Nuclear energy is the fundamental part of U.A.E. energy system. It will provide about 40 to 50 percent of the U.A.E. base load requirement. And that's going to be an absolutely problem-free energy.

ANDERSON: The shift to clean energy around the world won't be cheap. The U.N.'s partner, Renewable Energy Agency says to meet the global push to keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees, the world will need to cough up more than $130 trillion before 2050.

Significant sums have already been pledged, but convincing governments and markets that this all makes economic sense will be a big challenge. GAURI SINGH, DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY

AGENCY: What our analysis also shows is for every million dollars spent in energy transition technologies would lead to three times more jobs getting created.

So it's not just makes sense in terms of climate action, but it also makes sense in terms of economics and the politics of it.

ANDERSON: While the U.A.E. is yet to set a net zero goal, the Emirates sees the opportunities laid out by the International Renewable Energy Agency as key drivers for its future economic growth as it weans itself off its heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

And while OPEC's third largest producer will continue to sell oil, this solar plant is evidence it has not just the ambition but the means to chart a cleaner future.

Becky Anderson, CNN -- Abu Dhabi.


VAUSE: We will take a short break.

When we come back, there's "No Time To Die", but plenty of time to drive. Get behind the wheel with the team who designs the cars for Bond, James Bond.


VAUSE: Well, for James Bond fans, start your engine. The latest superspy thriller "No Time To Die" is running laps around the competition in Europe, opens this weekend in the United States and China.

CNN's Christina Macfarlane has more on what's driving the film's success.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From the moment the DV 5 first took to the Alpine roads in Goldfinger, Aston Martin has been synonymous with Bond.

Through countless turns, skids and high speed pursuits, Bond may have flirted with other brands and models, but the Aston Martin has always been his car of choice, even if he has had the tendency to destroy a few of them over the years.

Speeding around the inner track at the Silverstone Formula 1 Circuit, I got a taste that the classic DB5 that a custom made rally across suspension system, build to take on the thrills and spills James Bond might come to encounter.

MAREK REICHMAN, DIRECTOR OF DESIGN, ASTON MARTIN: It's a ground up engineering task that has to be performed in six months. And Part of my role there is to make sure that that car looks and feels and sounds, exactly the same as a DB5.


REICHMAN: It's an old carbon fiber body over a space range chassis but onscreen you would imagine it's a DB5. There is no car like it in the world.

MACFARLANE (on camera): I feel like we have walked into Q's workshop here. I mean this feels like the epicenter of all the cool stuff. What are we seeing here?

REICHMAN: So this is our V12 Vantage Speedster. And this is the final clay model. I still believe that the hand sculpting is the best way to get an emotional surface because it is literally someone creating a surface from a designer sketch.

MACFARLANE: From the projection side of things, I just wonder, throughout the process of these films being made, how much it works in reverse that you might interject and say, hang on a minute, there's something we can do here if you want? Why not, you know, in terms of the gadgets and -- does that ever happen?

REICHMANN: I opened the door to the design studio and first of all, all the designers want to be involved, because why wouldn't you? so they then often come up with ideas for gadgets. How you could make something work. How does the ejector seat deploy in DB10?

In "Casino Royale", we actually created a defibrillator that he uses. We had great conversations about the flame throwers at the back of DB10.

How big should the exhaust be to make this look as though it would really happen. Where should the exhaust be placed? So there are always great conversations in that respect.

It's a lot of fun. The reality is, we make real cars as well. They are not bat mobiles that you only ever make them for the movie. The reason we are excited so much is they are real scenes. That's not CGI. There's something about seeing a real stunt in a movie that you just say, yes, well, that's quite special.


VAUSE: Well, it's been a big payday for legendary rock and roll star Tina Turner.


VAUSE: A 60-year career with a bunch of hits, she's now selling not only her artist and her right of shares of all of her work but also the management of her name, image, likeness -- everything is up for sale and it's all being bought.

She's joining stars like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, all cashing out. Industry experts believe Turner's deal worth more than $50 million.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Rosemary Church takes over after a short break. See you tomorrow.