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Pfizer Applies EUA Vaccine for Children; Vaccine for Kids a Game Changer; Newcastle United Under New Management; Amnesty International Questions Saudi's Human Rights Violations; Senate Bill Temporarily Saves Government; Russia Offer to Help Europe; Ghana's LGBTQ Community In Fear Over Draft Anti-Gay Law; Ethiopian Airline Refutes Reports By CNN; Activist Call For U.K. Police Reforms; Canary Islands Eruption; Rescuers Struggle After Deadly Quake Hits Pakistan; Predicting The Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 08, 2021 - 03:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber.

Ahead this hour on CNN Newsroom, kids and the COVID vaccine. The new effort to protect children as young as five.

Also, singing about the Saudis. Many Newcastle United fans are excited about their club's new owners. But human rights groups are singing a very different tune.

And CNN goes to Ghana to examine a proposed harsh anti-LGBTQ law.

UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: Pfizer says it's seeking emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of its COVID vaccine for young children. If approved, kids between the ages of 5 and 11 could soon receive Pfizer shot, pushing the overall vaccination rate in the U.S. much higher.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb explained the effect this could have on the course of the pandemic.


SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: We will hopefully have a vaccine available for children --


GOTTLIEB: -- and at some point, before the end of the year we probably we'll have the orally available drug for Merck if things go well. And that undergoes a favorable review. And I think those two things are going to be sort of the book end on the sort of pandemic face of this virus, and we are going to be entering a more endemic phase in this becomes an omni present risk but doesn't represent the extreme risk that it represents right now.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): The World Health Organization setting an ambitious goal to vaccinate 70 percent of the global population by mid-2020. They're hoping the push will address vaccine inequity in poorer nations. The U.N. secretary general says this lack of access is only adding to the pandemic.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Vaccine inequality is the best ally of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's allowing variants to develop and run wild, condemning the world to millions more deaths and prolonging economic slowdown that will cost trillions of dollars.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): The British government is removing 47 countries and territories from its lists of restrictive travel destinations. It includes Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Africa. Fully vaccinated travelers returning to England from these nations will no longer have to enter hotel quarantine.

The updates will take effect October 11th. Now only seven countries remain on the U.K.'s red list, among them, Columbia, the Dominical Republic, and Peru.

So, if the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for young children in the U.S., parents are sure to have plenty of questions.

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us how the approval process is likely going to work.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well this means that Pfizer clearly feels good about the data that they have collected. And children now ages 5 to 11 good enough to submit this for emergency use authorization. We've seen them do this obviously through the pandemic with the vaccine that was authorized for adults and now approved, as you can see there on the screen for people 16 and older.


The vaccine is still under emergency use authorization for those 12 to 15. And this would now expand that UAE to 5 to 11-year-olds as well. So that's what we're talking about here and that's what Pfizer is going to try and do.

Now remember, for the emergency use authorization what they're trying to figure out is do the benefits outweigh the risks? That's the basic question they are trying to answer. They are going to review the data over the next few weeks, October 26th. And we know that there is a meeting scheduled of this advisory committee. They will make a decision and then recommend to the FDA whether or not this vaccine should be authorized for children 5 to 11.

The FDA then decides if they want to do that or not, and then it goes to the CDC which makes the official recommendation. So again, October 26th, that next process to the official recommendation could take a few days. So potentially by Halloween, as I've said before, you could potentially have this vaccine authorized for people that young.

Now keep in mind, it does take some time for people then to be able to get the shops, young people probably be getting from pharmacies or from their pediatrician's offices. You get one shot and then you wait three weeks, you get another shot and then it's two weeks after that really before you're considered fully vaccinated.

So that is something else to keep in mind. Even though the authorization happens it doesn't mean everyone is going to be automatically fully vaccinated. That takes time. Also, you know, it depends on what parents do. You get a third of parents who say they will go out and get this vaccine right away for children. About 25 percent say they won't do it really no matter what. But those numbers may change after the FDA sort of affirms the authorization if that happens.

So, we'll see how that sort of shakes up. But keep in mind we're talking about 9 percent of the population here. And it's true. I just want to be clear. It's true that children are less likely to get sick. And I'm sure that's part of the balance that parents are thinking about.

But they also are reminded that kids can get sick. And sometimes they can develop these long-lasting symptoms even. This is a strange virus. We don't know why it causes those long-lasting symptoms. And also, again, the more people that get immunity including through vaccination of younger populations the quicker we're likely to be looking at this thing in the rearview mirror.

So, I think a lot of pediatricians will be reminding parents you do this for the health of your child but you do this for the collective of society as well.

We'll get more details as those details come to us and we'll certainly bring them to you.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): Joining me from Menlo Park, California is Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, infectious disease specialist with Stanford Medicine. Thank you so much for being here with us.

So last month here in the U.S. accounted for up to one in four COVID infections. So, you know, the need for a vaccine for that 5 to 11 age group is clear. What does it mean for kids and for parents? YVONNE MALDONADO, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST, STANFORD MEDICINE:

This is really an important next step in opening up our society and especially for our children who really have a difficult time with mental health developmental and social issues relative to lockdowns and inability to go back to school.

So, having the vaccine it doesn't mean that were cured but it does mean that children and families will have one additional layer of protection against serious illness and death from COVID. We may still have some outbreaks occasionally among people who are not vaccinated, but we think this will really limit the degree of transmission and serious infections among children and their vulnerable family members if they have them.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. But there is still a lot of hesitancy, you know, certainly among parents as Dr. Gupta alluded to a few moments ago. According to a recent survey, about a third of parents of children in that age group 5 to 11 said they would wait and see before allowing their children to get the shot. So, what would you say to those parents who are on the fence right now?

MALDONADO: Well, you know, I'm an optimist. I've been working with vaccines my whole career and actually, I think that that one-third of parents can actually deal with talking to their pediatric providers, to their community leaders and really start to feel more reassured about the vaccine.

What we've seen about surveys over time with this, it is that people do tend to feel much better as they see a more experience. So, I'm actually optimistic that people will come back. Families are used to having their children vaccinated to prevent serious infections, and I think they are a good audience to listen to the fact about the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines.

BRUNHUBER: But some may have no choice. I mean, where you are in California, they've mandated it for students. Right? So, do you think more states should follow suit?


MALDONADO: Well, you know, I think it really is a state by state issue. I do think that it's important for everybody to really strongly consider getting vaccinated. I am not a politician, I just know that these vaccines really worked, and that they are very safe. So, if public health agencies, counties, and states feel that that's the way they can get coverage, then that would be their approach.

BRUNHUBER: So, in the meantime, authorities in a few European countries like Sweden and Denmark are pausing the Moderna shot for young people depending on the country they are under the age of 30 or under 18 because of these rare side effects involving heart inflammation. So as now here in the U.S. we are thinking about offering these vaccines to younger and younger people. Are you worried about these rare side effects?

MALDONADO: Well, they underscore the word rare. These are maybe six dozen per million doses given to very specific age groups. And that's at the high end of the risk limit. So, they are incredibly rare. We have seen more data from the United States and from Israel showing that even among those groups say 16 to 29-year-old males will have the higher risk.

The risk still is extremely low, much lower than having heart inflammation from COVID infection and the vast majority of those cases are very mild and virtually all of them have resolved their symptoms. So, I am not concerned about these risks on the overall impact of COVID and the vaccination to reduce the disease in our pediatric communities.

BRUNHUBER: All right. And finally, before we go for adults the debate over boosters are still raging. And two new studies seem to confirm previous findings that immune protection from the Pfizer vaccine drops off after a couple of months. So, should that be further encouragement for authorities to allow more people to get boosters? Maybe the entire population like Israel has done for boosters?

MALDONADO: Well, you know, I think we all understood based on what we know about coronaviruses and SARS COV-2 as a coronavirus that at some point we would start to see a reduction in the immunity. It was just a matter of time. And so, I think the data is starting to roll in. I know that the FDA and the CDC knew that eventually we would see more data.

So, this does show that we will all probably need boosters at some time in the coming months. The question really is when to institute those? And I think our federal agencies will be leading us on those recommendations in the next few weeks to months.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thank you so much for being here with us, Dr. Yvonne Maldonado. I really appreciate it.

MALDONADO: It's been a pleasure.

BRUNHUBER: The English Premier League has given its blessing to the controversial takeover of Newcastle United Football Club. It's been sold to a consortium that includes a Saudi sovereign wealth fund known as PIF. The deal is reportedly worth about $400 million but it's highly controversial because of the kingdom's human rights record.

The fund chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who, according to U.S. intelligence agencies approved the operation in which journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Istanbul in 2018. But the league says the deal passed its owners and directors test and the league receive assurances the kingdom won't control the team.

Our Patrick Snell from CNN world sport joins me now with more. So, take us through this controversial deal.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Hi, Kim. Yes. This is one the world of football really and beyond is continuing to take stock of today. Continuing to assess and just reflect on that all really. The controversial Saudi Arabian-backed reportedly $400 million takeover. Just for context here. Newcastle United a sleeping giant. No question that English football one of the country's most historical names when it comes to footy.

But the team currently languishing just a second off the bottom in the Premier League. A long running saga appearing to be at its conclusion now. We have seen Saudi Arabia's human rights record, let's make no bones about it coming under scrutiny.

Now in a statement the league saying, the Premier League has now received legally binding assurances that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not control Newcastle United Football Club. How is this all going to work, though? How are the finances in play?

Well, a three-party consortium in play here including, as you alluded to there, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, a total estimated asset value in the range of something like $450 billion. The consortium also including Venture Capital and Private Equity Company PCP capital partners and RB Sports and media as well.

What about the fans? Because they've been vocal there up there in northeastern England. You can see the video there. Newcastle fans gathering outside of the club's iconic St. James Park ground as they do the deal.


Been giving some thought of this, Kim. You know what, it absolutely it does make the magpies. The richest club in world football, if not one of the richest their fans can now likely expect to see the club flexing its financial muscles in a big, big way. We've come up with some graphics that really do tell the story, these digits see the big picture financially.

So, we estimate that the consortium's assets around the $450 billion mark compare that, just look at the comparison with Man City's Abu Dhabi owners and Paris Saint-Germain's Qatari owners who actually outside of the top five are not even getting into that top five list that we've compiled. But that really does speak volumes and say it all.

You know, I said it at the top, we're all taking stock, we really are. We're going to be following this one very closely, indeed. Right through this day and beyond, though. Kim, back to you.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. I have much more on this coming up right now. Patrick Snell, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

And Amnesty International reacted to the deal accusing Saudi Arabia of sports washing. Using sports to try to improve reputations or cover-up wrongdoings like human rights abuses.


FELIX JAKENS, SPOKESPERSON, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Ever since this deal was first talked about over 18 months ago Amnesty has said that it would represent a really high watermark for the Saudi authorities in their efforts to clean up their appalling human rights records by buying into top English football. It seems that the Premier League was going one -- in one direction on

one in this decision and now they've gone in another. And it sets a dangerous precedent there. English football is open for business when it comes to sports washing. So, Amnesty has consistently spoken up about regimes using sport all over the world to clean up their reputation like China hosting the Olympics, for example, is the good example of that.

Also then not leading to any positive human right change as we've seen with situation there in Xinjiang. We're not singling out Newcastle fans, but right now Newcastle is the deal that's on the table and it's a very important one for the Saudi sports washing process.

We completely understand the Newcastle fans are going to be divided because a new money coming into their club. But we would just say to them, look, find out who these owners are, understand what's going in Saudi Arabia and be prepared to be, you know, the good activist fans that we know -- we know that you can be embraced these concerns kind of loudly and vocally.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): So, for more on the sports washing accusations we're joined by Keir Radnedge from World Soccer magazine. He is speaking with us from London. Thanks so much for being here with us.

So, you just hear heard there the clip from Amnesty International acknowledging how, you know, many supporters will be delighted but hoping they'll become activists above all the moral concerns, murdering and dismembering of a dissident, the treatment of women, anti-Semitism, homophobia. I don't have time to go through the whole list there in terms of Saudi Arabia.

But how likely are supporters to care enough to hold Saudi Arabia to account particularly, you know, if the country this fund and invest massively in the club and especially if Newcastle starts winning again?

KEIR RADNEDGE, CONTRIBUTOR, WORLD SOCCER MAGAZINE: Good morning. I think it's extremely unlikely that the fans are going to be too vocal about Saudi's human rights record. I think they have waited basically 14 years to see the owner, Mike Ashley answer the door because they think he has an invested properly in the club. They now see they have a chance of owners who can give the club the status the profile that they think the club deserves.

And so, everything else goes on the back or beyond that. I think what will happen is that certainly the media will keep a very watchful eye on all the promises that's been made about the separation of Newcastle's operation from the Saudi state. And they're trying to keep the image of Mohammed bin Salman at length, but I think that for the time being it's going to be all about the football and the money.

And I suppose from the fans point of view, those people who are concerned maybe about the image issue that they will hope that the success that the Saudi owners bring to the club will in some ways wash over, as we might say, the other concerns.

BRUNHUBER: So, the Saudi's wanted to buy the club last year but then they walked away. Because they couldn't satisfy the league's concerns that the state would still control the team. So, what's really changed here? Is it realistic for the sovereign wealth fund would be independent from the sovereign?

RADNEDGE: The sovereign wealth fund being independent by its name obviously. It cannot be independent. This deal has actually been four years in the making and the thing, probably the factor that really unlocked it was when the Saudis decided to drop their boycotts and their action against the Qatar broadcaster being media, which is very powerful and does a lot of the Premiers League's business overseas.


You know, there's been this long running political boycott dispute between the Saudis and Qatar. And I think once the Saudis had decided that's really -- it was a bit of and goal for them. In sports terms anyway were being that that was the key to unlocking the deal.

BRUNHUBER: So, when the league is evaluating potential owners here, I understand that there's no clause in the test about morals or politics. So, is this a wakeup call for the league? Do you think, you know, this will spur change at all?

RADNEDGE: No, I don't think it will spur change. I mean, I think if you look at the history of the Premier League its creation 13 years ago, this is in soccer terms, this is really the ultimate capitalist enterprise. Basically, as long as someone turns up with the right amount of money, they can do the business, they have all the legal bona fides then that's fine. That's a box tick, and welcome to the club.

BRUNHUBER: And finally, just before we go, I know this is news so I don't want to focus on the sport but this will presumably transform Newcastle into, you know, one of the richest clubs in the world. So, what do you expect on the pitch very briefly? You know, will they buy up Mbappe and Neymar and rocket off the table here?

RADNEDGE: Well, I'm sure that's what the ultimate ambition is. I think the initial concern is going to be they are going to want to change the manager from Steve Bruce. I mean, at the moment they haven't won a game this season. I think the first signs will come in the January transfers spending window and then more seriously next summer.

Amanda Staveley, the business woman who coordinated the deal says that the aim is to win the Premier League in minimum 5 -- minimum 5 to 10 years' time. So, it's going to be a big story on all fronts.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, we'll be following it for sure. I really appreciate your insights there, Keir Radnedge. Thank you so much.

The collapse of an enormous scaffold at a high rise in Hong Kong a few hours ago has had a tragic conclusion. A female construction worker died after she and seven colleagues were rescued. The woman was unconscious when she was found and rushed to a hospital where she passed away. The scaffold collapsed into a tangled mess as Hong Kong was under a cyclone warning. The city was buffeted by strong gusty winds and heavy rains.

Gay men and women in Ghana suddenly forced into hiding as parliament looks to outlaw homosexuality. We'll have exclusive report coming up next.

Plus, the U.S. Senate approves the plan to pay the government's bills but it's only temporary effects. We'll explain what's next for the debt ceiling coming. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): The U.S. Senate has approved a compromise to raise the nation's debt limit, allowing the government to pay its bills into early December. But the credit crisis is far from over with a repeat scenario just two months away.


We have more now on the Senate compromise and the challenges still ahead from CNN's Ryan Nobles.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It wasn't easy but the United States Senate has passed a bill that is going to lift the debt ceiling temporarily to the first week of December and averting an economic catastrophe that could have happened if the debt ceiling wasn't lifted as soon as next week.

Republicans and Democrats hashing out a deal that would basically just kick this problem down the road a couple of weeks but avoiding that problem in the middle of October. But it still didn't come easy. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell working out a deal with Chuck Schumer that they hope would mean they could bring that bill to the floor without any republican opposition and then just Democrats could vote yes, Republicans vote no.

But the Senate is a fickle place and Republican Senator Ted Cruz and a few others said no, that they were still going to try to block the legislation. When you put that filibuster in place that requires 60 votes total in order for there to even be an up and down vote.

Now McConnell did try and convince his colleagues to get those 10 votes necessary to get into the floor. He was successful but there were a few anxious moments as the vote went down. Ultimately, there were the 10 votes to get there, for the most part, it was Republican leaders, moderates and a group of Republican senators were not seeking reelection that were not afraid to cast that vote to allow the bill to come to the floor.

After that, a simple upper down vote came through and it passed along partisan lines. Now the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues earlier today informing them that they should be prepared to come back earlier from their recess that they're currently on in order for the House to pass the same piece of legislation that President Joe Biden has said that he'll sign it into law.

So, the crisis for now will be averted but again, to make clear, this has not solved any problems. The same impasse that we were dealing with here on Capitol Hill before we got this point still exists. It's just now going to exist the first week in December before we get into the Christmas holidays.

It's also important to point out that it comes at the same time that they'll be another issue with the government spending. A government shutdown could loom once again and they're still that continued debate over the president's domestic spending plan and agenda. Democrats still haggling out all those issues. So, crisis averted at least at one stage but a lot more work to go.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, on Capitol Hill.

BRUNHUBER: Skyrocketing energy prices in Europe have led the continent scrambling to find fuel but now Russia is offering to help.

As CNN's Anna Stewart explains that may hinge on the future of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Gas prices have increased eightfold over the last year. But they did ease Thursday after President Putin said Russia could look at importing more gas to Europe which is something the IAEA called for two weeks ago. At the same time, Russia's deputy prime minister suggested that a speedy certification of its new pipeline Nord Stream 2 would bring down gas prices.

Now this has increased concerns that Russia could be holding back gas from Europe to keep prices high and thereby lend weight to its argument for a quick approval of Nord Stream 2. This is a pipeline that was completed last month and German regulators have four months to approve it.

It's been fiercely opposed for years by some European nations as well as the U.S., one of the major reasons being that it bypasses Ukraine. That means Ukraine would lose out on a valuable gas transit fee. The Biden administration reached a deal with Berlin in July saying it would allow the pipeline to go ahead in exchange for financial aid to Ukraine.

There are many reasons though, far beyond Russia for high gas prices in Europe both when it comes to supply and demand. Next week the E.U. will publish a tool box of measures to help member states respond to the crisis, it will include grants and energy tax cuts to help support consumers through winter which could be devastatingly expensive.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.

BRUNHUBER: Coming up, Ghana's parliament will soon consider and possibly enact some of the harshest anti-gay measures in all of Africa. We'll have live report from Johannesburg.

Plus, a high-profile case in the U.K. is prompting calls to step out act of violence against women by the police. We'll have more on that after the break. Stay with us.




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): In Western Africa, Ghana's gay community has gone into hiding amid rising attacks by vigilantes that could soon get much worse. The draft law before parliament threatens to effectively outlaw homosexuality.

CNN's David McKenzie has exclusive reporting on this, he joins us from Johannesburg. So, David, take us through this repressive law they are proposing.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, this is a highly contentious law and Ghana is seen as a key western ally in West Africa, Kim. We just got back from Accra, where we found the gay community in hiding and fearful, what could happen next.


MCKENZIE (voice over): Hey, it's David. How are you doing?

We are heading to a safe house in Accra.

We are probably about 30 minutes from your live location now.

Run by gay activist.


MCKENZIE: Can we carry in the cameras, or do we need to keep the cameras in boxes?

UNKNOWN: I think, just carry it in boxes.

MCKENZIE: We are meeting Joe. We agreed to hide his identity because he is afraid of being attacked again.

Take me back to that moment when those men came and started harassing you.

JOE, HOMOPHOBIC ATTACK VICTIM: I was shaking when they took me to the room and then they set up these -- there are cameras and I (inaudible) and I was crying.

MCKENZIE: His crime, the gang of men say, approaching another man.

Is it true that you told him that you like him, they ask?

Yes, he whispers.

JOE: Like, how can this happened to me? They beat me from nine to 11. All these times (inaudible) a victim. I

wanted to kill myself. Whenever I saw this video, I was like, it would be better if I kill myself because I have nowhere to go.

MCKENZIE: And your dad threw you out?

JOE: Yes.

MCKENZIE: And what was that moment like?

JOE: I cried like never before.

MCKENZIE: Often captured in videos too graphic to show and shared on social media, part of a pattern of brutal verbal, and physical attacks, by vigilantes to humiliate LGBTQ Ghanaians. Soon, the community fears they could be targeted by the state.

What is your message to someone who is LGBT in Ghana right now?

EMMANUEL BEDZRAH, GHANAIAN M.P.: Well, we love them. As we always say, we love them.

MCKENZIE: But you want to send them to prison?

BEDZRAH: No. We are asking them not to do it.

MCKENZIE: A draft law to be debated in weeks, coerces LGBTQ Ghanaians to choose between jail time and so-called conversion therapy. Seen by U.N. experts as torture, it prosecutes same sex displays of affection, even punishes activists supporting the community, activists call it a homophobe's dream.

Today in 2021, you believe that someone who supports openly the LGBT community should potentially go to prison for 10 years?

BEDZRAH: Of course.


BEDZRAH: Because it is against our culture, it's against our norms. It's against our tradition, and we don't want things that are against our sensibility to be, you know, given priority in our society.


MCKENZIE: Tragically, the LGBTQ community here says that tolerance was slowly improving in Ghana.

GREGORY ANDREWS, AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISIONER: And I know that African cultures are cultures of tolerance, diversity, acceptance, and participation.

MCKENZIE: When they open a support center in January, it rallied conservative lawmakers who say that being gay is an African, a western import, backed by powerful religious groups, the leaders above the millions strong Pentecostal Church say LGBT organizations are a national security threat.

We've struggling a little bit to get hold of someone --

But they refused to speak to us and their security stop us from filming.

We are just trying to speak to some people.

UNKNOWN: It's not allowed.

MCKENZIE: It's not allowed?

The religious support for the bill here is absolute.

It's one thing promoting the values of the church, it's another thing to prosecute those who are identifying like this. So why take that extra step?

PHILIP NAAMEH, ARCHBISHOP, CATHOLIC BISHOPS COUNCIL, GHANA: It is not the values of the church, it's the values of the human species. The human being is created to be in a family and to propagate itself. It's not just the church.

UNKNOWN: If the same bible told people to love their neighbor as thyself, why would you want to torture your own neighbor? Why would you want to torture your child?

MCKENZIE: This prominent gay activists has already gone underground. The draft bill calls on all Ghanaians to hand in their LGBTQ neighbors for prosecution.

UNKNOWN: People are waiting for the bill to pass, so that they can actually beat you up. They can actually take you and do whatever they want with you.

MCKENZIE: The limited space Ghanaians like Joe have just to be themselves could soon vanish and they'll need to move further into the shadows.

What is your message to those politicians?

JOE: We are all human beings. Their sons and their daughters can be like me. My answer for them is they should put a stop to it.


MCKENZIE (on camera): Well, you can see the fear in Joe's eyes and many of the people we spoke to in Accra, after they felt that made some progress with their rights, the LGBTQ community in Ghana is fearful and fearful of this law will make it so much worse.

Now, the powerful religious groups in the country say that being gay is an African. But our reporting shows that they could had been key inspiration from a U.S. alter-right-wing group called The World Congress of Families. They held a conference in Accra where the issues of LGBTQ were discussed and the call was, to form a legal group, to try explore things just like this law. We put the question to the head of that organization, here is what he had to say.


BRIAN BROWN, WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES: No one has the right to redefine family for everyone else. Family is what it is. And you can try and couch these issues in rights, but they aren't.

MCKENZIE: Would LGBT rights not be human rights?

BROWN: It is not real. You can attach yourself as much as you want to euphemisms, it's like LGBT rights. But if they aren't based in fundamental human nature right, not rights at all. And I don't think you need to look for a big bogeyman behind all of this legislation in Africa or elsewhere. It is going to come from the people themselves.


MCKENZIE (on camera): Well, here, family rights and family values as a euphemism for these groups, but many say that it is just prejudice. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Yeah. Great work -- job, shining a light on this troubling phenomenon. David McKenzie in Johannesburg, I appreciate it.

Ethiopian Airlines is again denying evidence uncovered by CNN that its commercial aircraft were used to shuttle weapons and ammunition between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea. A CNN investigation of flight documents, photos, witness statements, and other materials, confirmed the flights to place in November 2020 in the early days of the civil war in the Tigray region. Experts believe those activities may have been a violation of the U.S. trade agreement, as well as, international law.

The airline is owned by the Ethiopian government, and on Thursday, it again offered an official rebuttal. Ethiopian Airlines strongly refutes the recent allegation by CNN, and would like to confirm that to the best of its knowledge and its records. It has not transported any war armament in any of its routes by any of its aircraft.

And in reaction to CNN's reporting, some U.S. lawmakers say the Biden administration should make good on its threat to impose sanctions. Here's Republican Congressman, Michael McCaul, speaking earlier with CNN's Bianna Golodryga.



REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): We have issued a statement calling upon the Biden administration to issue the sanctions moving forward. I think the latest reporting by CNN actually, well done by the way, to uncover the fact that the Ethiopian government is using their airline to transport military weapons to Eritrea, which is a neighboring country, and becoming an ally of the government of Ethiopia against the Tigrayan population. I think to put all of this in context, Bianna, it is important to

note, this could be one of the worst fanons to take place in the 21st century. The Ethiopian government has basically blocked off 90 percent of supply (inaudible) going into Tigray.

It's also they have harassed aid workers and they have expelled seven United Nations workers. So, these things is increasing and it is a crisis level. Not decreasing since the ceasefire. And I think it calls for action with the administration.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (on camera): Well, Ethiopia as you know, is on the receiving end of millions of dollars, were the trade benefits from the United States, the U.S. trade representative said that she would be willing to look at that deal now and act upon it given these allegations and what we have even just reported. These gruesome videos that we have been uncovering for years, thanks to upper months, thanks to numerous reporting. Do you think that in fact we should be reevaluating our trade agreements?

MCCAUL: I do. I do and I think, you know, there is a lot of blame to go around, the Tigrayan initially start to fight back against the government. I think, you know, interestingly, the Prime Minister got the Nobel Peace Prize of all things in he's ceasefire with the neighboring country of Eritrea.

And now he is one of the grossest violations of potentially war crimes in what he is doing today. And so, this latest reporting is very valuable to policy makers in terms of what's happening on the ground. And I think what is unfolding, again, I harken back today's when I was growing up as a younger, you know, high school student when we saw the famine in Ethiopia. I think this could be far worse, and it could involve millions of people facing death by starvation.


BRUNHUBER: It's uncovered on CNN's exhaustive and extensive investigation can be found on

The U.K. government has launched a new inquiry into issues raised by the conviction of our former police officer, who brutally raped and murdered a woman earlier this year, but activists say it is not enough, and they're calling for new measures to step out acts of police violence against women. CNN's Nada Bashir reports.


NADA BASHIR, CNN PRODUCER (voice over): Enough is enough. Sixteen silhouettes for the 16 women researchers say have been killed by a serving or former police officer since 2009. It's a troubling statistic gathered by organization which tracks femicide in the U.K. and brought into the spotlight following the murder of Sarah Everard. Killed by former police officer, Wayne cousins, who used his authority as a serving policeman to falsely arrest, abduct, and rape her.

UNKNOWN: I absolutely know that there are dose who feel their trust in us is shaken. BASHIR: It's this erosion of trust that officials in the U.K. are now

trying to tackle. Increasing police presence in busy public spaces, and advising women to ask key questions if they are approached by a lone officer.

JANE CONNORS, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER: If someone doesn't feel safe and they are not comfortable in the environment, and they're dealing with a police officer, then ask them some questions. Where are you from? Why did you stop me? Where are your colleagues? In that way they can start to feel safe.

BASHIR: But for many still shaken by Sarah's murder, this measures do little to restore public confidence in the police.

ANNA BIRLEY, COFOUNDER, RECLAIM THESE STREETS: Yet, again, it puts the onus to safety on women. The suggestion are all actions women yet again have to take to keep themselves safe, rather than women being safe because we can trust the police officer.

BASHIR: Sarah's murder has brought into sharp focus the issue of police perpetrated acts of violence against women.

Between 2018 and 2019, 143 allegations of sexual assault by police officers were recorded in England and Wales. And in 2019, a police watchdog found that more than 400 referrals were made in relation to abuse of power for sexual purposes over just three years. Zoe Billingham, who led that inquiry said that while these cases represent a small minority of police officers, even one case is one too many.

ZOE BILLINGHAM, FORMER INSPECTOR OF CONSTABULARY: The evidence speaks for itself, protesters had found their way into policing. And until matters change, I can't say with certainty that policing is free from those prejudices and that victims will always be kept safe by those there to protect them.


BASHIR: Do you think there is a culture within the British police force that allows police officers to commit such crimes with some level of impunity?

BILLINGHAM: There is a degree of tolerance within policing which is not unacceptable degree of tolerance of misogynistic behavior, and that needs to change.

BASHIR: The government has now launched an inquiry into the issue raised by the conviction of Wayne cousins. Including wider issues across policing, such as betting practices, workplace behavior, and disciplinary action. But campaigner say that the abuse of power by some police officers is just one part of a wider epidemic of violence against women.

BIRLEY: There is a wider deeper more structural issue around women and the way that the police women and that currently won't be addressed by the report. So, I hope that scope would be widen. BASHIR: And just as flowers continue to be left for Sarah, months

after her brutal murder, the demand for police reform and greater accountability persists.

Nada Bashir, CNN, London.


BRUNHUBER: Coming up on "CNN Newsroom," a deadly earthquake in Pakistan, as rescue efforts are being hindered. More details after the break.

And we're just a couple hours away from finding out this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner. Climate crusaders, COVID campaigners, and Reporters Without Borders, are among the favorites. We will have more coming up. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: If you're watching that volcano in the Canary Islands which has been erupting for nearly three weeks now. The lava continues to flow in the airport in La Palma, remains closed due to volcanic ash. Nearly 6,000 people have evacuated their homes since it first erupted in September, hundreds of homes and businesses had been destroyed, and banana crops are also devastated.

Power failures and blocked roads are hampering rescue efforts in a remote areas in Southwestern Pakistan. A 5.9 earthquake struck the Harnai district Thursday morning, at least 15 people including eight children have been killed.

CNN's Larry Madowo has the latest.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sends shock in weary earthquake survivors in Pakistan walkover broken homes. Some lucky enough to still have a roof over their heads, others are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. In the remote Montana's Harnai district, located in the province of Balochistan, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake woke the residents before dawn on Thursday.

REHANA KHATOON, HARNAI, PAKISTAN RESIDENT (through translator): We were obviously sleeping and woken up by the shock of the quake, and we panicked. We could not run anywhere because the earthquake was so strong. Even the walls were collapsing. We only just managed to get our kids outside.


MADOWO: Homes damaged, shops collapsed, rubble marks the landscaped. Trapped under one of those collapsed buildings this Harnai resident and his family. One of his brother's children, only two-years-old died before the ambulance had reached the scene.

DAWOOD KHAN, HARNAI, PAKISTAN RESIDENT (through translator): When we woke up everyone was reciting Holy Calima, we saw dust all over.

MADOWO: The United States geological survey says, the quake had a depth of about nine kilometers, relatively close to the surface, making it more dangerous. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, expresses sorrow at the loss of lives at the earthquake on Twitter and calls for search rescue.

But earthquake in these landslides have blocked the road leading to the district hampering rescue efforts. People with the most critical injuries are being evacuated by military helicopters to Qetta, the capital of Balochistan. Pakistan sits on an area with high seismic activity, and in Balochistan, the last earthquake in 2013 killed 330 people and injured close to 500.

Larry Madowo, CNN.


BRUNHUBER: The Nobel Committee is preparing to hand out at the most prestigious award of the year. We'll take a look at some of the top contenders for the Nobel Peace Prize next here on "CNN Newsroom," please do stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: The Nobel Committee will announce the winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize in just a little more than 90 minutes. This year's contenders include a familiar face in the fight against climate change, plus, some new prodemocracy activists. Here's a look at the front runners.


BRUNHUBER (voice over): Locked behind a highly protected door, a list of the 329 nominees to win this year's Nobel Peace Prize. One of the world's most prestigious award will go to one of the individuals or organizations on that list, but until Friday's announcement, the winner remains a mystery about which we can only speculate. Each year the Peace Research Institute Oslo or PRIO does just that with an esteem prediction of likely front runners.

HENRIK URDAI, DIRECTOR, PRIO: First, Reporters Without Borders, I think a journalist prize this year would be very important and speak both to the fight against fake news and the important work that journalists are doing in conflict areas all over the world.

BRUNHUBER: Those protecting freedom of speech are high on PRIO's shortlist, followed by those defending democracy. PRIO's director says another likely candidate is, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, she's an exiled Belarusian human rights activist and opposition leader at the forefront of resistance against the country's authoritarian president.

If the Nobel Committee chooses to award political dissidents, possible winners could include jailed, Russian activist, Alexey Navalny, or Justitia, a group of judges in Poland defending civil rights. Beyond that, PRIO thinks there are several other likely contenders. URDAI: One of the most important questions these days, of course,

science, climate change, with the IPCC just launching their 6th assessment report demonstrating that this is a major global threat that we are facing.

BRUNHUBER: The award will be announced just three weeks before world leaders gather for a critical climate summit. So, the prize winner could be a champion of climate change activism.


Eighteen-year-old, Greta Thunberg comes to mind in this category. The sweetest activist has helped catalyze a worldwide movement among youth to fight climate change. Others are predicting a nod to groups critical in the coronavirus pandemic, like the World Health Organization, or COVAX, the vaccine sharing initiative aimed at fairly distributing life-saving vaccines worldwide. Altogether, it's a long list of possible winners evaluated for a prize with a singular but complex meaning.

BJOEM VANGEN, LIBRARIAN, THE NORWEGIAN NOBEL INSTITUTE: On a general basis, the Peace Prize is given out not for people being angels or saints, but for people making an effort to make a better world, a better organized world and a world with less war, and a more peaceful coexistence between the peoples.

BRUNHUBER: Who's endeavor best fits that description? Well, we will soon find out.


BRUNHUBER (on camera): And here's a look at the most recent Nobel Prize winners. Last year's prize went to the World Food Programme for efforts to combat hunger. The year before, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali won for what the Nobel organization called his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea. In 2018, Yazidi human rights activist, Nadia Murad, and Congolese Dr. Denis Mukwege won for their efforts in the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. In 2017, the Nobel was awarded to the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons. And in 2016, the winner was Juan Manuel Santos, the former president of Columbia, won for his efforts to end the country's more than 50-year-long civil war.

All right, that wraps up this hour of "CNN newsroom," I'm Kim Brunhuber. The news continues with my colleague, Isa Soares, next. Please do stay with us.


ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello.