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Merck Seeks U.S. Authorization for Antiviral COVID Pill; WHO Panel Advises Additional Dose for Immunocompromised; Delta Variant Wreaking Havoc in War-Torn Syria; Tensions Soar between Taiwan and Mainland China. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired October 12, 2021 - 01:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Robyn Curnow, you're watching CNN Newsroom. Coming up on the show, a pill for fighting over gets closer to authorization in the U.S. and the World Health Organization recommending a third shot for some.

A war of words also between Mainland China and Taiwan. That could be a major headache for U.S. President Joe Biden. We are live in Taipei.

Plus, talking with the Taliban, the U.S. meets with its former enemies to discuss how to work together on key concerns in Afghanistan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with Robyn Curnow.

CURNOW: U.S. could soon have a new tool and its fight against COVID. The drugmaker Merck has asked for emergency youth authorization for its anti-viral pill to treat COVID. The company says early trial data shows the pill cut the risk of hospitalization or death by half. While those results are promising Dr. Anthony Fauci says it shouldn't be a substitute for getting vaccinated.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: The data on that drug molnupiravir is promising. You know it's a 50% diminution compared to placebo, in hospitalizations and deaths. That's good news. But the best way to get 100% chance of not getting hospitalized or dying is to not get infected in the first place. That's better than any drug.


CURNOW: Vaccine advisors with the World Health Organization are now recommending an additional COVID vaccine dose for people with compromised immune systems. They say a third dose is needed to ensure those people are fully protected. The advisors were careful to distinguish their recommendations as an extra dose not a booster shot, which the WHO opposes until more of the world is vaccinated.


DR. KATE O'BRIEN, WHO IMMUNIZATION DIRECTOR: This time and as the Director General has called for a moratorium on booster doses for the general population. Because giving those booster doses to individuals who already have had the benefit of a primary response is as has been explained before, like putting two life jackets on somebody and leaving other people without any life jacket.


CURNOW: Well, we're joined now by Dr. Scott Miscovich, National Consultant for COVID Testing and a family physician in Hawaii. Doctor, lovely to see you again. I do want to talk about this pill certainly a lot of optimism about it. Just tell us what exactly it does.

DR. SCOTT MISCOVICH, NATIONAL CONSULTANT FOR COVID-19 TESTING: Well, Robyn, this is similar if you've ever been given the medicine called Tamiflu, if you've ever been diagnosed with for flu or influenza, we've had a medication which is an antiviral medication that you've been able to prescribe to your patients and you take it for a short period of time. And it significantly reduces the duration and the severity of the flu.

Well, this is exactly in that same class, actually, this medicine was derived for that and has not been just popped up to treat COVID. It does exactly the same thing. I described it to my patients as almost like an antibiotic, if you had an infection. This gets in your system, it stops the virus from replicating, and it's quite safe and quite effective. So, we're very excited about it, where someone gets sick, you call your doctor, he calls you in a prescription or she calls you in a prescription.

CURNOW: I mean this is very exciting, no doubt. But this is also talk about it this is, you got Dr. Fauci saying, don't use this and not get vaccinated. You can use it I suppose if you get sick if you're vaccinated, or unvaccinated and clearly also this will be amazing for many parts of the world which, you know -- which are still lagging when it comes to vaccinations?

MISCOVICH: Yeah, that is the big problem we're having right now. One of the things I'm seeing from the field because my teams are doing vaccines everywhere, is that because boosters are coming up people are saying well, why am I going to get my initial vaccine if there's a booster? Why? And then they say the same thing if there was a pill I can take, why do I have to get vaccinated?

Well, the answer is the vaccine stops you from dying. The data is crystal clear. These are going to reduce your chances of hospitalization and reduce your chances of having severe disease, but it's not going to eliminate your chances of having them.


CURNOW: Let's talk then about folks who are sick, who have compromised immune systems. So, an extra dose is being suggested for them. Not a booster shot. There semantics and a bit of politics involved in the language. Why is this an important distinction?

MISCOVICH: Well, it's all for the same reason. So, we can get people to understand that certain people really need to step up and get it. You know, I tell all the people we're vaccinating that if you're significantly overweight, or if you're a smoker and have compromised lungs already, and or diabetes, or hypertension, you really need to be stepping up to the front of the line. Statistically, you're the person that if your immune system isn't responding as well to the vaccine, you can get a breakthrough infection, and you could be hospitalized, or you can die. So whatever wording it takes to get people to get this done, I don't care, none of us care. We just want people to step in to get that extra shot, the booster shot or the next shot, whatever it's called. And it's going to save lives.

CURNOW: But again, we're reminded that we're having this conversation that this is an option that people have in places like the U.S. where we are right now. But across the world, folks don't have their first shot yet.

MISCOVICH: Yeah, exactly. And I know WHO has been very much standing the line to say, wait, why are we rolling out boosters, second shots, third shots, because you know, we're also talking right now that Moderna and J&J have asked for additional shots to be given. So, they want the additional boosters. And across the world, the WHO and the countries are saying we have less than 10% of the poor countries of the world that are vulnerable, vaccinated, can't we do them first? Yes, we all agree that until we get vaccinations broadly across the world, the chance that a new variant or a true mutation occurs is significant.

So yes, I agree with that concept. But at the same time, I mean, we know how it goes with the populations going to be demanding it. And the other thing, as you stated earlier, the U.K. and the U.S. have been the worst countries in the whole planet that have dealt with COVID and have had the most deaths, the most hospitalizations and so yeah, we have some issues we need to step up and deal with.

CURNOW: Always good to speak to get your perspective. Thanks so much, Doctor. Have a great day.

MISCOVICH: Thank you, Robyn. Take care.

CURNOW: Syria is still consumed by the civil war that lasted more than a decade and now the country is fighting COVID as well. Jomana Karadsheh takes us to one of the last opposition strongholds, Idlib province, its relative isolation is no longer protecting it from the virus.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Grief is no stranger to this part of Syria. But this time, it's not the bombs and bullets. It's COVID-19 that's claiming more and more lives. The White Helmets known for their heroic rescues, pulling countless bodies from underneath the rubble of bombed out buildings. Now bury it leaves dead.

No one really knows how many lives COVID-19 has claimed. But every day since August, they've been digging new grooves. When they're not fairing the dead, the white helmets are still trying to save lives, transporting hundreds of patients to the few hospitals left standing after years of Russian and regime airstrikes.

Hospitals treating COVID-19 are overwhelmed. Oxygen is in short supply and so, our doctors. Officials here say there are only 200 doctors treating COVID-19 patients in northwestern Syria, years of war have left this last major opposition stronghold, home to more than 4 million people with only 900 doctors.

This nearly isolated part of the world was spared the worst of the pandemic. But health workers say the Delta variant is wreaking havoc. With limited testing capabilities. It's hard to know the real extent of the spread. Medical NGO say the situation is catastrophic, or the positivity rate of more than 50%.

DR. IBRAHIM ABOUD, DIRECTOR GENERAL, AL-ZIRA'S HOSPITAL (through translations): Over the past six weeks, the curve started increasing slightly with the Delta variants. We felt the danger and prepared ourselves at the hospital and the logistics and schedules. We prepared the workforce but didn't expect that this wave was to be this trunk and this severe.

KARADSHEH: It's not just the Delta variant, vaccines have been slow to arrive here. Less than 1% of Northwestern serious population is full be vaccinated. It's hard to believe that these are the streets of a city facing its second and worse wave of the pandemic. But this is a population that is lived through how people here have been craving the normalcy this past year's relative calm has brought.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People have suffered a lot from airstrikes, from chemical attacks, and we have lived through many wars. So, we have developed immunity, emotional immunity and permanent immunity.

KARADSHEH: While many parts of the world prepare for a post pandemic life, serious latest nightmare, maybe just beginning. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.


CURNOW: Kim Jong-un says North Korea's weapons program is not meant to start a war with anyone but to prevent one. According to state media, the North Korean leader cited hostile policies from the U.S. and military buildup in South Korea.

Kim made the speech standing next to a variety of weapons and missiles at the country's defense development exhibition. And let's say North Korea appears to be pushing ahead with its missile program and has started expanding its main nuclear reactor to make fuel for nuclear bombs. And heightened tensions between Mainland China and Taiwan are putting the U.S. in a tough position and could become a major test for the President Joe Biden. Beijing is calling for a peaceful reunification with Taiwan. But in recent weeks, it said dozens of military aircraft into the islands air defense identification zone.

Meanwhile, Taiwan remains defiant with its president saying the island won't bow to pressure. And then on Monday, China's military released this video showing military drills in Fujian Province directly across from Taiwan. The exact date when they took place is not known. But Will Ripley has the story. Will.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taiwan's growing arsenal on full display at this weekend's National Day Parade to defend against a growing threat from China. This small island is spending big on weapons many made in the USA. F16 fighters, Patriot missiles, $5 billion in U.S. weapons sold to Taiwan last year.

Taiwan arm sales skyrocketed during the Trump years. The former president's hardline stance against China, one of the few Trump era policies embraced by President Joe Biden, defending Taiwan's democracy against authoritarian China has rare bipartisan support. Some worry Washington politics may be provoking Beijing, even pushing Taiwan and the U.S. into dangerous territory.

JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR OF LAW, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: If you do take steps to look like you are aggressively defending Taiwan, then you arguably put them in a more vulnerable position, you arguably again, irritate China.

RIPLEY: Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen says the island is on the front lines of a much bigger battle.

TSAI ING-WEN, TAIWAN PRESIDENT (through translation): Free and democratic countries have been alerted to the expansion of authoritarianism and Taiwan is on the forefront of the defense line of fellow democracies.

RIPLEY: China sent a record 150 warplanes near Taiwan in just five days this month. Biden's balancing act, calming cross strait tensions, defending democracy and preventing a conflict that could cost American lives.

JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: I've spoken with Xi about Taiwan.

LEVINSON: I think Taiwan really presents a challenge to any American presidential administration because you're trying to balance competing interests.

RIPLEY (on camera): This is an extraordinary site, four kinds of domestically produced missiles rolling through the Capitol in front of Taiwan's Presidential Palace, an ominous sign of escalating regional tensions. CHANG YAN-TING, FORMER AIR FORCE DEPUTY COMMANDER (through translation): We cannot control whether or not the Chinese Communist Party has the ability to attack Taiwan. But we are able to control and make sure it does not have the motivation to do so.

RIPLEY: Every Chinese leader since Mao has vowed to take control of Taiwan. Analysts say President Xi Jinping may be the first with a military mighty enough to do it, even as he calls for peaceful reunification.

YAN-TING (through translation): Whoever wins Taiwan wins the world.

RIPLEY: China is locked in territorial disputes across the Indo Pacific region. Taiwan, Beijing's biggest unresolved issue, and some say, Biden's biggest test. Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


CURNOW: Joining me now from Taipei is Michael Cole, Senior Fellow with the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington. Great to have you. It's certainly been a week even just the last few days ratcheting up of tensions. What's the mood there right now where you are?

MICHAEL COLE, SENIOR FELLOW, GLOBAL TAIWAN INSTITUTE: Very good to be here. The mood is -- the Taiwanese are not exactly not used to this kind of signaling and belligerence coming from Beijing. It has come in waves over the years.


The Taiwanese people are very pragmatic, extraordinarily resilient. And I don't think that despite the threats that we have seen in the past two weeks or so that they are quite convinced that Beijing is ready to go that one extra step and use force against Taiwan.

CURNOW: Yeah, because it's very clear. China has the ability to militarily do what it wants, it's the question of whether it has the motivation. That's, you know, how -- where does Xi Jinping come on that?

COLE: Well, it's really hard to be in Xi Jinping -- this is very hard to be in Xi Jinping's head. But certainly, the Chinese have accumulated sufficient capabilities, that now they have reached a point that if they decided to merge those capabilities, which the intention of using force, they would be in a much better position than they were just 20 years ago, for example.

My main fear is that the decision to launch hostilities against Taiwan would be mostly the result of pressures back in China. If the impression were being created, for example, that Taiwan has crossed too many red lines, or that the international context is clearly shifting in Taiwan's favor. This could eventually lead to what, from our end would seem to be irrational behavior on the part of Beijing, and that notwithstanding the likely costs of military adventurism, the regime would nevertheless initiate hostilities, possibly drawing in the United States, countries like Japan, and other regional powers. CURNOW: Yeah, I mean, that's certainly the worst-case scenario. And no doubt that is being digested in Washington as well. Will Ripley's peace there suggested that perhaps this increase in sales $5 billion worth of weapons sold just last year to the Taiwanese that that is, in a way perhaps provoking Beijing abating the bears such.

COLE: Whatever Taiwan does, that reinforces its sovereignty and interactions with the international community will always be seen as provocative by Beijing. And what we have seen over the decades is that China was very good at conditioning the international community into risk avoidance. So, what we saw is long periods during which United States would simply not sell weapons to Taiwan, for fear that that would undermine their ability, their relationship with Beijing.

Now under President Xi, the nationalism in China and the ideology are such that there's an awakening, certainly in places like Washington, D.C., but elsewhere, that no matter what we give to Beijing, it will never be enough for them. So now we're entering a new phase where, again, United States taking the lead, but other countries are deciding to engage Taiwan to help defend a democracy, to help defend your frontline states in a growing war of ideologies and seeing how Beijing will react. But more often than not Beijing will express discontent. But at the same time realizes that simply taken on the international community, or even a coalition of democracies could have catastrophic impact for Chinese economy. China is standing in the world. So, it will back down. So, this is a back and forth. This is event in Taiwan.

CURNOW: So, how is Biden then gaming this out? He's hoping that Beijing will back out, is that likely?

COLE: Well, this is a gamble. We're in unknown territory. Again, the assumption is that at the end of the road, Beijing would act rationally, will calculate the risks and benefits of taking drastic action in the Taiwan Strait. We obviously cannot predict the future. And that is why bolstering deterrence against the likelihood that China would decide to take that one extra step is absolutely essential. Taiwan's has a role to play with procurement of different weapon systems, but also the more countries within the international community, not just militarily, but also politically and economically promise a countervailing action against China if it attacked Taiwan, should contribute to deterrence and therefore reduce the likelihood that China would decide to attack Taiwan.

CURNOW: Thank you so much. Fascinating, great to have your perspective there live from Taipei. Michael Cole, thank you.

COLE: Thank you.

CURNOW: Time now for a short break. When we come back, a new appeal from the U.N. Secretary General to the Taliban about the treatment of women in Afghanistan. We have that story.


And early results reveal the biggest winners and losers in Iraq National Election, how the outcome could impact Iraq's relations with the U.S. and Iran.


CURNOW: Welcome back. It's 22 minutes past the hour. I'm Robyn Curnow, thanks for joining me.

So, the Taliban are trying to strike a balance between legitimacy on the world stage and their version, draconian version of Shariah Law at home in Afghanistan. Their latest chance comes in the day ahead as officials, government officials will meet with the U.S. and European diplomats in Qatar.

Italy's Prime Minister will also chair a virtual summit seeking badly needed humanitarian aid for the country.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres is urging the world to donate more money to head of economic collapse in Afghanistan. But he says he's not happy with the Taliban's treatment of women and the country will never recover without their participation.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: I am particularly alarmed to see promises made to Afghan women and girls by the Taliban being broken. Broken promises lead to broken dreams for the women and girls of Afghanistan. Women and girls need to be the center of attention. Their ability to learn work on assets and to live with rights and dignity will define progress.


CURNOW: Bill Roggio is a senior fellow with a foundation for defense of democracies and Editor of the Long War Journal. He joins me now from Pennsylvania.

Great to have you on the show. I really want to get your take on Mr. Guterres calling the Taliban's broken promises on women, a concern, are you surprised at all that that they reneging on anything when it comes to women?

BILL ROGGIO, SENIOR FELLOW, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: No, in fact, I would say that the Taliban never really have made any -- there are never any promises to be made. The Taliban all have, they have said prior to its takeover and in negotiations with the U.S. and the West, is that they would treat women under its interpretation of Islam. And that was the only promises they made. So, we shouldn't be shocked when the Taliban is subjugating women when preventing them from going to school and operating in the open in public or working or anything like that.

The Taliban of today is the Taliban of 20 years ago, most of the leadership of the Taliban today, nearly all of it served as ministers or in some capacity in the Taliban's government from 1996 to 2001. Taliban 2.0 is the same as Taliban 1.0. We should not be shocked by any of this. This is completely predictable. CURNOW: Completely predictable, but it is 20 years later, and the international community has more to, I suppose pressure this government with. How much leverage do they have to try and push the issue of say women's rights when it comes to the issues around aid? How can the international community actually have teeth on this issue?


ROGGIO: Yeah, I would argue the international community has zero leverage. The international community couldn't get the Taliban, to make concessions when it was in country with military and the might of the of the West, then international support and aid, and all of the things you would think would be leveraged. So that leverage didn't -- whatever leverage was there didn't work with an international presence in Afghanistan.

Now that the international community is gone, the leverage is zero. The only thing that they can hold over the Taliban's head is aid, and things of that nature, but the Taliban, honestly, they really don't care about these things, remembering from 1996 to 2001, only three countries recognize the Taliban. The Taliban didn't care about legitimacy. It didn't care about how he treated people. It just cared and how it greeted women, particularly all they cared about was ruling Afghanistan. That's his primary concern. If he could get aid to come in, it'll take it. But the Taliban doesn't act like we act in the West, it doesn't think like we think it doesn't respond to the same inducements. And this is a conceit of those in the West who have pretended that told us for two decades, the Taliban has changed. It's a different era.

But again, this -- the old Taliban is the new Taliban. It's at -- we've watched how the Taliban has ruled in areas of where it controlled. This was prior to the U.S. leaving the country. We saw that it was unfortunate it's harsh version as Shariah was punishing women, it was beating and stoning to death, women and men who eloped or had affairs. So, we shouldn't expect -- we should never have expected that once it came into power.

CURNOW: But people are expecting that. Because I mean, right now we have talks in Qatar. Taliban meeting E.U. diplomats. We have the Italian Prime Minister, holding a virtual summit on aid for Afghanistan, and the U.N. is creating some sort of zero-sum binary choice here, saying, you know, we need to unlock money and save it from imminent collapse or, you know, all we need to not give money and, you know, civilian staff. Is it as simple as that? Is there not a middle ground here?

ROGGIO: I mean, the aid is going to have to flow through the Taliban. Again, we assume that the Taliban wants what we want, which is that to negotiate, the Taliban never gave up, give one inch during negotiations. Remember, when the Obama administration negotiated with the Taliban, women's rights was one of the things ceasefire, accepting the Constitution, the Taliban said no to all that, and then it negotiated with the Trump administration, the Taliban said no to that, and the Trump administration signed that deal regardless. The Taliban has proven that it's adapted in negotiations. All it does is wait, and it gets what it wants. And the international community very, very likely cave and provide a directly to the Taliban, to feed the people because it doesn't want the Afghan people to starve. And that is noble. And I understand that. But they have to understand that they're enabling the Taliban aid just like food, just like what, it's fungible. And this will prop up and support a Taliban regime and the Taliban, if it just holds its ground, it will find that it won't have to give up anything in order to get the things that it wants.

CURNOW: Bill Roggio, thank you very much for joining us, a senior fellow with the foundation for defense of democracy, Editor of the Long War Journal, I really appreciate your expertise, and your assessment there.

ROGGIO: Thank you very much.

CURNOW: Shi'i cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, political block has won the most seats in Iraq's parliamentary elections while Iran's favored candidates actually came up short. That's according to initial results from Iraq's Electoral Commission.

The U.S. and Iran have tried to influence Iraq's political trajectory ever since Sunni leader Saddam Hussein was toppled back in 2003. But in a speech on Monday, al-Sadr reminder the world that his powerful political movement opposes foreign interference.


MUQTADA AL-SADR, SHIITE CLERIC, LEADER OF SADRIST MOVEMENT (through translation): We welcome all embassies that do not interfere in Iraq's internal affairs so long as they do not interfere in Iraqi affairs as well as the formation of government. With any intervention, we will have a diplomatic response or perhaps a popular one, which is suitable to the effects. Iraq is only for Iraqis. Iraq is only for Iraqis.


CURNOW: On Monday, al-Sadr supporters took to the streets in Baghdad to celebrate the early results.

And still ahead on CNN, body camera footage shows police dragging a paralyzed black man out of his car. Now he's fighting back and taking them to court.



CURNOW: On Monday Al-Sadr supporters took to the streets in Baghdad to celebrate the early results.

And still ahead on CNN, body camera footage shows police dragging a paralyzed black man out of his car. Now he's fighting back and taking them to court.


CURNOW: Welcome back to our viewers around the world. Thanks for joining me. I'm live in Atlanta. Robyn Curnow coming to you at 32 minutes past the hour.

Well, here is a story. A black paraplegic man, who was forcibly dragged out of this car by police in the U.S. state of Ohio, is now filing a civil lawsuit against the department. Clifford Owensby was pulled out of his car after a traffic stop last month. The police say they stopped Owensby because he was seen leaving a suspected drug house.

Amara Walker has more, and a warning her report does contain disturbing video.


AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The nearly 12 minute police body cam video of the September 30th police encounter begins with a traffic stop.

CLIFFORD OWENSBY, PARAPLEGIC: I cannot step out, I'm a paraplegic.

WALKER: And ends with 39-year-old Clifford Owensby, screaming, showing officers dragging him out of the car by his arm and hair before putting him in their cruiser.

OWENSBY: I am a paraplegic. I'm a paraplegic.

WALKER: In the body cam video released by the Dayton Police Department on Friday, police say Owensby was leaving a suspected drug house when they pulled him over. After running a background check and learning a past felony drug and weapon possession charges, the responding officers requested a narcotics detection canine to sniff the vehicle according to Dayton Police Major Brian Johns.

That is when Owensby is asked to step out of the car. He explains he is paralyzed from the waist down and repeatedly refuses to allow the officer to help him get out of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will help you step out of the car, sir.

OWENSBY: I'm a paraplegic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out. Hope you get out, get out.

OWENSBY: I don't think that's going to happen, sir.

WALKER: The exchange continues as the officer insists on helping him and explained to Owensby, he needs to get out of the car for the department's policy.

OWENSBY: I can't get out of the van.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, we're going to insist -- someone will assist you.

OWENSBY: No, you're not. No you're not.

WALKER: Then things began to escalate as Owensby appears to make a phone call.

OWENSBY: Can you come down the street, come bring cameras and bring -- just bring somebody, so they can witness what's going on.

I'm not getting out. I just told you, I'm a paraplegic. I cannot get out.

Can you call your supervisor, please?

WALKER: As Owensby insists that police call a supervisor, you can hear the officer getting more assertive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are getting out of this car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you can cooperate and get out of the car, or we're going to drag you out of the car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see your two options here? Which would you like to do sir?


OWENSBY: I would like to (INAUDIBLE)

I'm trying to tell you that I got help getting in the car. You can't (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hurt me. You can't hurt me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car.

OWENSBY: Somebody help. Somebody help. Somebody help. Somebody help.

WALKER: Owensby spoke at an NAACP news conference Sunday about the encounter.

OWENSBY: They dragged me to their vehicle. Like a dog. Like trash.

WALKER: Owensby also says the $22,000 in cash, found in his car was his savings. He says no weapons or drugs were found in the search.

The "Dayton Daily News" has reported the Dayton Fraternal Order of Police is defending the officers' actions saying in a statement that reads in part, "The officers follow the law, their training and departmental policies and procedure. Sometimes, the arrest of noncompliant individuals is not pretty but is a necessary part of law enforcement to maintain public safety which is one of the fundamental ideologies of our society." Owensby's attorney tells CNN the arrest was illegal and unnecessarily brutal given the fact they were aware fully that he can't get out of the car on his own.

(on camera): Now, as a result, Owensby he received two traffic citations. According to official records although he pleaded not guilty to them. He was taken to a local hospital, examined and then released, according to police.

The Dalton mayor has released a statement, calling this incident very concerning, saying, "Everyone is owed a thorough investigation." In fact, a police reform process is currently, underway. It's being led by the community in Dayton. Now we reached out to the Dayton Police Department to get clarification on its policy, in dealing with people with disabilities but they referred us back to a statement that made no mention of it.

Those two responding police officers will remain on duty while an investigation is underway.

In Atlanta, Amara Walker, CNN.


CURNOW: Thanks, Amara, for that story.

So still to come, fire tears through a fuel storage in Lebanon and the timing really couldn't be worse.

We'll describe these pictures and tell you what happened after the break.


CURNOW: An energy crisis is unfolding in key parts of the world. It is leaving people in the, dark threatening industry and slowing down the global economy.

In China, there is not enough coal right now to meet the industrial needs of the country. And the latest problem is heavy rains that have flooded coal mines.

And then, over in Europe, wholesale gas prices are up 400 percent this year. British factories are warning they can't afford to stay open.


CURNOW: And then oil and gas prices are at seven year highs in the U.S. Despite White House calls for OPEC and its allies to ramp up production, they are not offering any relief.

And then in Lebanon, severe fuel shortages are causing massive blackouts. And now, making matters worse, this, a fire at a major oil storage facility that destroyed hundreds of thousands of liters of petrol. It broke out when fuel was being moved from an army storage tank, and, it comes just days after Lebanon's electrical grid went dark.

Ben Wedeman picks up the story now.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): After Lebanon completely ran out a fuel over the weekend, the country was plunged into total darkness. The lights have now gone back on but only barely.

The Lebanese army stepped in and provided just enough fuel to allow the country's two power plants to operate to produce around two hours of power a day which has been the situation in the country going back several months before this weekend's blackout.

The Lebanese government is bankrupt. The economy, in a state of collapse. One of the worst the world has seen in the last 150 years, according to the World Bank.

This collapse, the result of decades of incompetence, mismanagement and corruption that have caused the Lebanese currency, the lira, to lose around 90 percent of its value, has led to massive increases in the price of food and severe shortages of petrol and medicine.

Now, several would-be saviors have stepped forward to try to address Lebanon's energy crisis. Iran has sent fuel via Syria and handed it over to Hezbollah. Iraq has sent several shipments of fuel. And the United States is in the process of trying to work out a complicated arrangement whereby Egypt would provide Lebanon with gas, Jordan would provide Lebanon with electricity but the details of this arrangement could take months to work out.

It is not clear who would pay the bill. And, of course, the United States would have to modify its sanctions regime against Syria, through which the electricity and gas, would have to pass.

And to add insult to the injury of it all, Saturday, the day the lights went out in Beirut, and other parts of Lebanon, the country's energy minister, Walid Fayad (ph) was spotted relaxing, on the Beirut beach. Crisis? What crisis.

I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN -- reporting from Rome.


CURNOW: Thanks, Ben.

Everyone needs a hero and on Monday National Coming Out day in the U.S., the new Superman from D.C. comics comes out as bisexual.

John Kent is the son of Clark Kent and reporter Lois Lane. D.C. revealed an upcoming issue, he'll begin a same sex relationship. And just like his dad, young John has fallen for a journalist.

And finally this hour, a 72-year-old (INAUDIBLE) man is taking his wife for a spin and they don't even have to leave the house. He spent six years building this rotating house because his wife said she wanted a more diversified view.

And it is low in speed, he says the house makes a full circle in 24 hours. This is amazing. At its fastest it is 22 seconds.

Well, on that note, I'm dizzy. Thanks for watching.

I'm Robyn Curnow.