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Blood Samples In China Could Be Clue To COVID's Origins; IMF Lowers This Year's Global Growth Forecast To 5.9 Percent; COP26 Chief Calls On G20 Laggards To Step Up Commitments; Climate Lawyers Accuse Bolsonaro Of Crimes Against Humanity. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired October 13, 2021 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Vause. Ahead this hour in the CNN Newsroom, what could be the last remaining evidence revealing the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, all safe and sound in a hospital in China.

If every country meets their commitments made in the Paris Climate Accord, then this is what the future will be like, 800 million people and 50 major coastal cities underwater, and South Korean streaming hit good game makes history. Details at Netflix shared only with CNN released first.

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

VAUSE: There appears to be renewed efforts to breathe life into the WHO's investigations into the origins of the coronavirus. New York Times reporting a new team of 24 advisors who will be announced this week. But nine months after a failed attempt to gather evidence in China and the same problem remains especially Beijing's refusal to help.

Now what comes word, what could be the last remaining piece of evidence of the earliest days of the outbreak is sitting possibly in a Chinese hospital? As many as 200,000 blood samples taken in Wuhan two years ago. China says it will start testing soon. But when and how? And how much will Beijing truly reveal? Here's CNN's Nick Paton Walsh.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Ground zero for the illness sparking global unease.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is likely a brand-new viral pneumonia.

WALSH: It is perhaps the last publicly known clue to where coronavirus came from, but will the world ever learn the truth of what it says 10s of 1000s of tiny blood samples taken in Wuhan in the last month of 2019 are still stored in a hospital there.

MAUREEN MILLER, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EPIDEMIOLOGIST: The samples from the blood bank absolutely will contain vital clues.


YANZHONG HUANG, PROFESSOR, SETON HALL UNIVERSITY: This is the closest to the ward we've seen a real time samples.

WALSH: The samples might reveal when and even where antibodies against the virus first appeared in humans in October or November two years ago. China says they had to be kept for legal reasons for two years in case of lawsuits over the blood transfusions there from, but now that limit is almost up for the key months at the end of 2019. And the Chinese official confirmed to CNN that China is preparing to test them, echoing a promise from July when they said they would share the results.

Related institutions from the Chinese side, he says also express that once they have the results, they will deliver them to both the Chinese and foreign expert teams. But samples come from the disposable tubes that carry donor blood into the donor bag. And as something that WHO team said earlier this year, they wanted to examine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the origins of the coronavirus.

WALSH: They could contain vital detailed information.

HUANG: Might also help us to follow the trajectory of the spread of the virus by tracking the individuals who may carry the virus.

SCHAFFNER: And you would like to go back to find out exactly during which month this this virus started to leave fingerprints in the human population in China.

MILLER: It is common practice to deidentify the samples. So, you could strip it down to basic demographics, age, gender, neighborhood where they lived, all of those data will be available.

WALSH: The same problem emerges again, it will be China and China alone during the testing and reporting their results. The U.S.' recent report into the origins of the coronavirus and statements from allies have all demanded greater transparency from China. But now this key data is being examined a full two years later. And there's no plan as it stands for outsiders like the WHO to be allowed in on it.

HUANG: In order to make it convincing and credible the results, I mean, ideally you want to involve the WHO, you know, the foreign experts.

MILLER: I'm not completely certain that China has not done this testing and has not shared the results.

SCHAFFNER: What we always say is trust but verify. It truly would be better if the Chinese scientists would permit external scientists to be with them to collaborate to do this all together.


WALSH: But instead, this vital remaining clue risks being mired in recriminations and uncertainty again. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


VAUSE: A new government report in Britain has confirmed what many believe during the early days of the COVID pandemic, the government reacted too slowly to a major failure of public health. The inquiry was led in part by Conservative MP Greg Clark, he calls CNN, the country's leaders relied too heavily on the scientific community for guidance and should challenge their advice more often. He also says the country was poorly prepared for the outbreak, but the vaccine rollout was done effectively.


GREG CLARK, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: We prepared for a flu pandemic, we didn't think that the transmission would be or could be asymptomatic. So, we didn't put in place the testing capacity to be able to test people who didn't have symptoms as to whether they did or didn't have COVID. And that lack of preparedness really hampered the efforts to contain the pandemic. But where we did things well, and it's the report points out the success of the development of vaccines and the deployment of vaccines. It was because we anticipated well.


VAUSE: In response to the report, a government spokesman says we are committed to learning lessons from the pandemic, committed to holding a full public inquiry in spring.

The head of the World Health Organization has lashed out again at countries offering COVID booster shots, saying it's unfair when many of Africa can't get their first dose, just like the WHO's call for a moratorium on boosters, wealthier countries like the United States are moving ahead. The WHO chief discussed that situation with CNN's. Becky Anderson


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WHO: For countries to move into boosters without even providing single doses in Africa is not right. It has to be stopped and countries should respect the moratorium. Of course, there are exceptions. You know, we can use it in immunocompromised populations, immunocompromised, the rest, it's immoral, unfair, unjust and it has to stop.


VAUSE: According to the WHO just 7% of Africa's population has received one vaccine dose. Most African countries less than 11% of people are fully vaccinated. More Americans are quitting their jobs than ever before. Analysts say it's partly about extra leverage workers now have because of the pandemic, record 4.3 million people left their jobs in August in the United States, according to Labor Department, just shy of three percentage of the workforce, the highest quit rate since the government began keeping track two decades ago. Most who left were in accommodation and food services, wholesale trade as well as state and local government education.

The impact of the pandemic continues to be felt across the global economy. The IMF reports rising economic risk and slowing economic recovery and its latest forecast and is now expected global economy to grow 5.9% this year, slightly lower than the July forecast. Next year's outlook remains unchanged.


GITA GOPINATH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, IMF: Global recovery continues but the momentum has weakened hobbled by the pandemic, fueled by the highly visible Delta Variant, record global COVID-19 death toll has risen close to 5 million and health risks abound, holding back a full return to normalcy.


VAUSE: The IMF said supply chain disruptions is causing growth through lowering the growth forecast in the United States slashing it down by one percentage point, that's just 6%. The biggest reduction for any G7 economy in the latest outlook.

Catherine Rampell is a CNN Economics and Political Commentator and Opinion Writer for The Washington Post. Good to see you. Welcome back.


VAUSE: OK, so on the surface, a reduction of point 1% from 6% global growth this year to 5.9% does not seem like a very big deal. But the headline from Barron's warned, it's worse than it looks. So, walk us through the main reasons why, why is it so bad?

RAMPELL: This is bad because we have dug ourselves into a very deep hole as a result of the global recession that came out of the global pandemic. So, there's already a lot of suffering tremendous job loss, tremendous loss of income, economic activity, and we need every 10th of a percentage point we can get to get back to where we were let alone where we would have been in the absence of the pandemic. So yes, I mean, these are not numbers to celebrate, and they are still caused primarily by COVID.

VAUSE: And the cutting of growth is different in different parts of the world. Those, you know, the lesser developed, poor nations or lower income countries are suffering more, they're having bigger cuts of their GDPs.

[01:10:03] RAMPELL: Right. And that's partly because of sort of the two-tier vaccine rollout here. Richer countries have had better access to vaccines, better distribution of vaccines, generally speaking. And because COVID is again in control of the economy, that means that those countries are able to recover more quickly, they're able to sort of flip the switch back on more easily after having been powered down last year, countries that have -- that do not have their pandemics, their infections, under control, that are still dealing with out of control, outbreaks are of course struggling, they're struggling not only with the direct health consequences, loss of life and severe illness, but of course, getting their economy back on track, it means supply chain shortages, it means people are afraid to go back to work, people are afraid to go back to their normal economic lives. And as a result, you see this two-track economic recovery.

VAUSE: Yeah, which seems to suggest that when you have a global crisis without a global solution, the global economy doesn't work very well?

RAMPELL: Right. This world is only as strong as its weakest link. You know, there used to be this saying amongst economists, that when the U.S. sneezes, the world catches a cold. And now, a little bit more literally, it's almost as if any countries sneezes, that means, then the whole world remains sick. And there is still this risk not only that, you know, with these vulnerable supply chains that if one country, you know falls behind, and that that ends up having a weak link within the global supply chain that that country plugs into, it's not only sort of those more immediate problems, it's also the risk course of more contagious variants developing if in fact, the pandemic is not gotten under control, even if everybody in the United States does miraculously get vaccinated and knock on wood. That will happen. If there are other countries in the world where vaccination rates are lower, the risk of mutation grows. And of course, we don't know how future mutations if they arise, will respond to current technologies, current vaccination technology that we have. So, all of those risks, again, mean both health risks as well as economic risks.

VAUSE: Yeah, the economic risks come with rising inflation as well, that's being driven by labor shortages, everywhere it seems, in the U.K. job vacancy search or record high of almost 1.2 million in September. Well, in the United States, a record number of Americans are quitting their jobs are about 4.3 million people in August, that's just shy of 3% of the workforce, quitting their jobs working out in August, which was up on the previous month. So why are so many Americans really say, I'm done, I've had it with this place. I'm leaving.

VAUSE: Yeah, it's the great resignation, I've heard it referred to as. I think there are a few things going on. One is that people are burnt out. They're dealt with the stresses that everyone around the world has been dealing with, they've worked very, in some cases worked very long hours, there are still problems with childcare. You know, the COVID risk remains, particularly in jobs that require face to face interactions, all of that stuff is still the case. And because there are labor shortages, people know that they can get alternative options elsewhere, they can quit their job, and there might be a higher paying job down the street, there might be a more humane job down the street. So, a lot of this is churn, people saying I'm going to leave my current employer for a better gig elsewhere, we don't really know how many of the people who are quitting, are leaving the workforce altogether, we can only kind of see net numbers in terms of net hiring and net hiring did go down the subsequent month. We have data on that for September.

But I think that it's reasonable to believe that a lot of the people who are quitting are not immediately taking new work because they know that work is abundant. And because there's a bit of a cash cushion for many of these workers. In the United States, savings rates went way up during the pandemic, there were also a lot of government transfers to people. So, people feel like if they're burnt out, or if they're having childcare problems, or whatever reason that might cause them to need to take a break from the workforce, they have a little bit of breathing room to do that. So that's good for them, particularly given all the stresses that so many families are facing. But, of course, it's not great for employers, and it's not great for supply chains.

VAUSE: It's a nice luxury to have, I guess for those workers who can do it. Catherine, good to see you. Thank you so much.

RAMPELL: Thank you.

VAUSE: The U.S. set to ease some of its COVID travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico, starting early next month, fully vaccinated travelers will be allowed to cross U.S. land borders with non- essential visits. By January vaccinations will be required for all visitors even those non-essential travel.

The European Union has promised more than a billion dollars in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan. At a virtual meeting of G20 leaders, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the world's wealthiest countries must address the economic and humanitarian crisis, even if that means working with the Taliban. And outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a stark warning.



ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translation): We all have nothing to gain if the entire monetary system or financial system in Afghanistan collapses, because that means that humanitarian aid can no longer be provided. Of course, it's not always easy to draw the line. But to watch 40 million people fall into chaos because neither electricity can be supplied, nor a financial system exists that cannot and must not be the aim of the international community.


VAUSE: International aid to Afghanistan has mostly been on hold since the Taliban takeover in August. The country's foreign reserves are frozen at the same time unemployment and food prices are surging.

Later this hour here on CNN how an Israeli a group save dozens of Afghans in a daring rescue. Also, ahead accused of crimes against humanity for his climate record, Brazil's President is now facing new filings of these allegations in the International Criminal Court. And also, ahead Coroner has revealed how Gabby Petito died. But one major question remains where is her fiance, Brian Laundrie?


VAUSE: Authorities are now tracking three rivers of lava from a volcano which continues to erupt on La Palma in the Canary Islands, one is moving quickly towards the Atlantic Ocean. If lava reaches a sea, the dangers could lay a chemical reaction which could cause the release of toxic gas. Lava also heading towards one neighborhood which has forced hundreds of more people to evacuate. A cement factory caught fire on Monday after it was engulfed by red hot lava.

Well, it's been described as the last chance saloon, a gathering of world leaders in Glasgow in a few weeks at a U.N. summit on climate change, known as COP26. Seems some countries are doing more and taking the climate emergency more seriously than others.

Back in July, members of the G20 agree to significantly increase their goals for reducing carbon emissions. But the head of COP26 says some have not announced what those new promises of those commitments will be. So, the countries that have not increased their commitment to carbon reduction that includes Australia, China, India, Russia, Brazil, and Turkey.


ALOK SHARMA, COP26 PRESIDENT: All eyes will be on the G20 leaders meeting at the end of this month. We know we can only tackle climate change if every country plays its parts. So, I say to those G20 leaders, they simply must step up ahead of COP26.


VAUSE: Well, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro has been caught a threat to the world's efforts to contain global warming. And on Tuesday, the far-right leader was referred to the International Criminal Court for his climate record damning new allegations of crimes against humanity. CNN's Rafael Romo has details.



RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: The accusations against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro come from a group of environmental lawyers based in Austria. The nonprofit organization known as AllRise is urging the International Criminal Court in The Hague to investigate Bolsonaro. They claim the Brazilian President is responsible for what they describe as attacks on the Amazon which amount to crimes against humanity.

AllRise filed the complaint that the court in The Hague on Tuesday, that 286-page complaint describes alleged actions by Bolsonaro and his administration as, "a widespread attack on the Amazon and its dependence and it's defenders that not only result in the persecution, murder and inhumane suffering in the region, but also upon the global population. And this is part of the reason that they're asking the court for an urgent and thorough investigation and prosecution.

AllRise is not alone in this. The Austrian organization has the support of the Climate Observatory, a group of 70 Brazilian environmental NGOs. Why does President Bolsonaro saying about the accusations against him and his government? CNN has reached out to his office that has not yet received an answer.

Back in April, the Brazilian President said in a letter that he is committed to eliminating illegal deforestation in the Amazon by the year 2030. And it is true that well Bolsonaro has issued several executive orders and supported the approval of laws that protect the Amazon. However, he has been harshly criticized for slashing funding for government programs aimed at protecting the Amazon while pushing to open indigenous lands to commercial farming and mining. Rafael Romo, CNN, Mexico City.


VAUSE: Well, for more now we're joined by Suely Araujo, Senior Public Policy Specialist at the Climate Observatory, and Former President of Brazil's Environmental Institute. She's with us this hour from Brazil. Suely, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.


VAUSE: OK, so you're also a lawyer, I should note, and you've seen the filing to the International Court in The Hague, against Bolsonaro, it makes a case he's responsible for suffering now, and also in the future. One part of it reads, climate science demonstrates that consequences, fatalities devastation, and insecurity will occur on a far greater scale regionally and globally, long into the future, though the trivial links between the rapid acceleration and deforestation, its contribution to climate change, and the frequency and intensification of extreme weather events."

So that's the science. How can you draw a direct link to that, and then to the president of Brazil, in terms of the responsibility for the Amazon and everything else that happens?

ARAUJO: OK, John, the Bolsonaro government has implemented initiatives in the social environmental area that has provoked attacks, increased violence and put the lives of environmental defenders at risk. It has also adopted a series of measures that dismantling completely the country environmental protection structure. They have a project of dismantling. This is the point, and they are responsible for what is occurring now. The importance of these communications to the International Criminal Court is that this is the first one that unites deforestation, climate change and public health.

VAUSE: You know, there was a recent headline in The Guardian, which warned, The Amazon rainforest is losing 200,000 acres a day. Soon, it will be too late. So, there's a real urgency here right now. And I wonder if the filing with the with the ICC, is that a genuine effort to have Bolsonaro ultimately prosecuted? Although it's more about putting a spotlight on Bolsonaro and others who've shown disregard for the environment and the climate crisis and may, you know, highlight their actions rather than a real case? Is it a real case?

ARAUJO: For me, it's really necessary to do the process in the ICC. This is not a political action. This is really necessary staff to solve the problems that are spread all over the country. But especially in the Amazon region, they are really given space, given leave -- and leaving the possibility of crimes to be in -- to occur.

VAUSE: But we heard from Brazil's Minister for the economy on CNN a little earlier on Tuesday, and he was asked specifically about climate change as well as COP26, the U.N. summit in a few weeks. This is what he said, listen to this.



PAULO GUEDES, BRAZILIAN ECONOMY MINISTER: Zoo is entirely involved, it will be in Glasgow, announcing our green growth programs, our entire responsibility, commitment, accountability, with responsiveness to the climate change challenge.


VAUSE: Do you take those statements at face value, can that man be believed?

ARAUJO: They are not telling the truth, because they are only changed the discourse, the narrative, but they are really doing the same kind of thing that they are -- they began to do since January 2019 the initial phase of the government. The project is to destroy, they don't like regulatory policies and environmental policy is always full of rules. And they want to throw these rules out and to make a kind of occupation, especially in the forest region, with a lot of degradation, the kind of project that they have to Amazon region is to destroy.

VAUSE: Suely, thank you so much for being with us and explaining exactly what's happening there. And what may be happening to the President of Brazil, thank you.

ARAUJO: It was very important to talk with you.

VAUSE: Thank you.

Five years ago, when world leaders signed on to the Paris Climate Accord, they agree to significantly lower carbon emissions. If every country keeps every commitment made back then the planet is on track to warm by more than three degrees Celsius by the end of the century, a global disaster, just in terms of rising sea levels and higher tides, a new study says more than 800 million people will be seriously impacted, 50 Major coastal cities will be underwater, unless they take unprecedented measures to prevent flooding. Meteorologist, Tyler Mauldin joins me now with more details. This is stunning when you look at these images and what could happen.

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is and in order to meet any temperature targets, we need to clean up the electricity and the transportation sector, these two sectors emit just a ton of carbon dioxide across the globe. And they're their main two contributors to carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide has been increasing at an increasing rate. And as such, the temperature around the globe has as well, you'll notice a little dip in 2020. And that dip is because of the pandemic mandates, we saw a dip in total energy consumption in the commercial electricity sector and transportation sector. But we need those to continue for the next decades meet any targets and we know that's going to be really -- that's going to be tough to occur.

The Earth has warmed to 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial time. So, we're sitting at 1.2. The IPCC says that anything really above 1.5 will have huge impacts to the globe. So, imagine, if we did heat up to three degrees Celsius, and we're already seeing these huge climate driven impacts across the globe. We have solid evidence that a warming climate leads to more frequent tornado events, more frequent, major hurricanes and typhoons. And then we have strong to really strong evidence regarding droughts to heat waves. This does include the flooding. So, sea level rise is going to be a huge concern, if we just get right above 1.5 degrees Celsius. And this is what Sydney could look like if we hit three degrees Celsius. Check that out.

And then we go across the globe here to London, notice how much of London would be underwater if we went to three degrees Celsius, and then New York City, the Statue of Liberty, will you see it here and all the grass around it? Well, that grass is gone. All you see now is a statue of liberty.

John, it goes beyond though just the sea level rise, we are seeing more frequent extreme weather events last year in the United States. We saw the most billion-dollar disasters and 2021 will rival that.

VAUSE: Yeah, the 20-minute (ph) net emissions, actually, if we're talking about negative emissions, taking carbon out of the environment. No one's talking about that right now.


VAUSE: Tyler, thank you. Tyler Mauldin with the details.

Well, there are new details which have been revealed in the case of Gabby Petito, an unsolved murder mystery which has gripped much of the United States. Coroner Brent Blue says the cause of death was strangulation and throttling. And earlier he spoke to CNN.


BRENT BLUE, CORONER: Throttling means that someone was strangled by human force. There is no mechanical force involved. People can be strangled by other means like, we've seen people on snowmobiles who run into a wire, that would be strangling by mechanical event. But this was -- we believe this is strangling by a human being.


VAUSE: He declined to provide details about a potential suspect. Petito's body was found in a remote area near Grand Teton National Park last month. Her death is estimated to have occurred in late August, around the same time when her parents spoke with her by phone for the last time.

Meantime, authorities still do not know the whereabouts of her fiance Brian Laundrie. The 23 year old has been the subject of a nationwide man and hunt after he returned from the couple's road trip alone. He has not been charged in Petito's death.

Still to come, Myanmar's deposed president speaking out, his first public comments since the military coup. Also, Myanmar's resistance now escalating into a battle against the military dictatorship. Details, in a moment.


VAUSE: Welcome back everyone. I'm John Vause.

You're watching CNN newsroom.

Quietly and with little fanfare it seems, an Israeli group, another one, has managed to help dozens of Afghans who are facing potential death by the Taliban escape to safety.

It's the second time in a month an Israeli aid group has helped in what was a daring rescue. CNN's Hadas Gold has details.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A group of 125 Afghans, female police officers, judges, activists, even professional cyclists and their families, trying to find a way out by land or by air.

Staying in secret safe houses along the way, for some, new passports made by Afghan diplomats abroad, transferred into the country.

These now former police officers, their identities hidden over safety concerns, describe part of their ordeal while in hiding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were hiding at the location, with other 120 people, but the location was discovered by Taliban.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We studied for 18 years, and we helped with the recruitment of women to the police ranks. Our aim was to improve the potential of women, and increase their numbers in the ranks of the security forces.

In general we works very hard for Afghanistan, but now this opportunity has been taken away from us.

GOLD: The already treacherous journey, made even more dangerous because of the nationality of the rescuers.


GOLD: For Israeli NGO IsraAID, it was the second evacuation out of Afghanistan in a month. Led by Yotam Polizer (ph) who coordinated the rescues from a neighboring country.

IsraAID had never before under taken such an ambitious rescue operation.

YOTAM POLIZER, NGO ISRAAID: The way it all came was very -- like was not planned. It was all kind of an emergency response. After a very stressful couple of days of trying to cross through different places, including some very intense situations where the group was surrounded by Taliban. We decided that the only way out was actually a flight through the northern airport in Afghanistan through Mazar Sharif .

GOLD: But negotiating with the Taliban to leave Afghanistan was only part of the battle. They needed a neighboring country which we have been asked not to name, to transit through, and a third country where the group could be held before ultimate resettlement.

A patchwork group of activists, wealthy donors, and more pulled every string possible.

POLIZER: People were able to just pick up the phone and call this president or call this prime minister and influence them immediately to open their border.

GOLD: The first group extricate it by IsraAID, made up of female cyclists and members of a robotics team, ended up in the UAE. Something that may not have even been possible just a few years ago.

An Emirati foreign ministry spokesperson celebrated their arrival and the joint operation with the Israelis on Twitter.

(on camera): How did the Abraham Accords affect your ability to work with the Emiratis.

POLIZER: I think it's absolutely effective. I mean there is no way we could do it before, and for them it was a very special partnership. They really appreciated the fact that they were at the first joint unitarian mission. And a lot of our conversations with really high- level government officials, they said that they want to do much more of that.

GOLD: None of these rescues could happen without some serious financial support, much of which came from an anonymous family foundation and Canadian Israeli billion Sylvan Adams.

An avid cyclist, Adams felt drawn in particular to his fellow two- wheelers.

SYLVAN ADAMS, FINANCIAL SUPPORTER: So many people, but specifically women, who had been given a taste of freedom and openness, including riding your bike. And today will be at best persecuted, possibly lose their lives simply for riding their bikes.

GOLD: And as a Jew, he says, it's his duty to help where he can.

ADAMS: We have this ancient culture imperative, it's my obligation to try to practice (INAUDIBLE) -- improving our world.

So I get involved in situations, where I know, I'm blessed to be able to help.

GOLD: After a five-day journey, the second group made it to Albania, where they'll be hosted until resettlement.

Hadas Gold, CNN, Tel Aviv.


VAUSE: In his first public comment since the government was overthrown in February, Myanmar's ousted president says the military tried to force him to resign hours before they staged their coup.

Win Myint was testifying Tuesday alongside civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Both are on trial charged with incitement. He told the court that military officials wanted him to resign and claim ill health. His attorney told reporters the president turned down their proposal, saying he was in good health. The officers warned him the denial would cause him many harm, but the president told them he would rather die than consent.

The trial comes amid ongoing resistance to the military dictatorship. And what started out as peaceful protest is now turning increasingly violent.

CNN'S Ivan Watson is live in Hong Kong with details, Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right John, the unrest has really spread all across the country. Myanmar, ever since independence in the late forties has been dealing with insurgencies in the provinces.

And there are warnings about the fighting particularly in the northwest Myanmar, coming from the United Nations commissioner for Human Rights. Warning in the last week of huge deployments of troops, and heavy weapons to 3 regions in particular -- Chin state, Sagaing region and Magway region and saying that they have reports of the military raiding villages, burning houses, as a kind of collective punishment for communities that are seen to be in support of the disparate armed opposition groups.

We're hearing many reports of ambushes, of military convoy of minds being used. And in the cities that have largely been spared in past decades and generations, from the fighting in the provinces, we are also seeing, a surge there, coming from people who could never have imagined being urban guerrillas just 9 -- 10 months ago.



WATSON (voice over): Eight months after the military overthrew Myanmar's elected government, resistance to the dictatorship has grown increasingly violent.

The opposition waging a campaign of bombings, assassinations, and infrastructure sabotage. Destroying cell phone towers, for example, apparently belonging to a telecommunications company partly owned by the Myanmar military.

(on camera): Have you, yourself, planted any bombs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. A couple of times.

WATSON (voice over): This man, who asks not to be identified, once organized peaceful anti military protests. But now calls himself a guerilla fighter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It used to be holding protest signboards, now it's about using explosives, sometimes even guns for our own safety.

WATSON (on camera): Any of you have --

(voice over): -- in fact, when I first interviewed him in March, he rejected violence.

(on camera): Do you support violent attacks on the military?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at all.

WATSON: f weeks after the February 1st coup, opposition demonstrators staged colorful, peaceful protest. But the military crackdown hard, shooting at protesters by day, arresting them in their homes at night. As the death toll swelled to estimates of more than 1,100, the once once peaceful protesters said he embraced armed resistance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm no longer the same person I was before. It's just about six months ago. I think that applies for everyone in this country.

WATSON: The army general who declared himself Myanmar's ruler, calls the insurgents "terrorists".

Extremists and their supporters chose the act of terrorism instead of doing or solving it in line the law, they incited and committed on armed insurrection.

I feel said, but we must them because they are killing our people.

(voice over): now a wanted, the former officer says he doesn't fight in the streets but instead resists the regime line. An weekly zoom calls, like this during which he urges members of the security forces to quit.

The urban guerilla fighter I talked to estimates more than 50 people he knows in the opposition movement have been captured or killed. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of my colleagues are either dead or in prison.

I'm still lucky to be alive but I don't know when that luck is going to run out.

WATSON: The stakes for these would revolutionaries could not be higher.


WATSON: Now, I think everybody learned about Zoom during the pandemic. It's being used in a very different manner in Myanmar. That defector captain with his weekly zoom calls urging his compatriots to also quit the military.

And I spoke yesterday with an army sergeant, who says that that that -- those weekly open zoom calls, helped convince him to defect a month ago, and flee the military.

And he has since appeared on one of those calls to spread his voice and message, to others to leave the military.

Meanwhile, the death toll continues to rise. The opposition leadership claiming that more than 1000 troops and soldiers have been killed since the coup in the ongoing clashes, John.

VAUSE: Ivan, thank you. Senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson live in Hongkong.

Mainland China again ramping up the rhetoric as tensions flare with According to Chinese state media, one official is now calling military trials in the Taiwan Strait. "necessary actions to defend national sovereignty and he warned against Taiwan independence.

We have more details now from CNN's Will Ripley.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Forceful words from the head of the world's largest one-party state. China's president saying a reunification of China and Taiwan, quote, "will definitely be achieved.

Taiwan's president firing back, pledging not to bow to pressure. This, as the Island shows it's military might days after Taiwan's defense military said nearly 150 (INAUDIBLE) tensions between the two governments may be reaching a boiling point.


RIPLEY: But they've been brewing for decades in a complex relationship that began with war. In 1949, the previous Chinese government fled to Taiwan after a brutal civil war with the communists. The communist set up what is now the People's Republic of China. Both sides claimed they were the true authority of the island.

Then came decades of hostility. With no travel, trade, or even communication between the 2 sides.

In the 1990s, relations between Beijing and Taipei began to thaw. Authorities put aside the issue of sovereignty, in favor of more economic and cultural cooperation.

Still, China insisted Taiwan was a breakaway province, that must eventually be reunited with the Mainland even if that means by force.

In Taiwan, two parties began to form. One that was more aligned with the People's Republic of China, another in favor of complete independence. In 2016, the pro independent party nominee, (INAUDIBLE) was elected president of Taiwan.

Since then, relations started to deteriorate again. China started using its massive economic power against the much smaller democratic island of about 20 million people.

In 2018 they pressured international companies to consider Taiwan part of China. And threatened to crack down on the business of anyone that didn't comply.

Meanwhile the U.S., which has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan showed commitment to the island's defense and to preserving peace in the western pacific.

That has been incensing Beijing, which believes Taiwan has no right to its own diplomacy. In the past, China has stopped short of a full scale military invasion. But every Chinese leader since the current government's founder Mao Zedong has vowed to take control of Taiwan.

Now, with China's president Xi Jinping renewing his vow to bring the two together, Taiwan's fate hangs in the balance.

Wil Ripley, CNN -- Taipei.


VAUSE: Still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, what's behind an energy crunch in Europe which shows no of easing anytime soon?


VAUSE: With energy prices surging across Europe, there could be a solution just next door. But when Vladimir Putin is involved, well, here is CNN's Anna Stewart with a closer look.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heating homes, cooking food, and fueling industry. Europe depends on natural gas for its energy needs, the EU imports 90 percent of it, leaving the bloc vulnerable to a surge in prices over the last few months.

It's a classic case of supply and demand. As economies roll back to life, post pandemic, and need more fuel, demand goes up.

[01:49:48] STEWART: On the supply side, a long winter to pleated gas reserves, and weak solar and wind output during the summer, (INAUDIBLE) mental (INAUDIBLE) weren't able to fil the gap.

The effects are particularly clear here in the U.K. where at least nine energy suppliers went bust just in September. One energy CEO told me many more could be at risk.

BILL BULLEN, CEO, UTILITA ENERGY: I think Warren Buffett famously said, something like when the time goes out, you get so many (INAUDIBLE) and, you know, certainly some of those energy supplies didn't forward hedge their positions hedge their and consequently were now seeing a buying energy at extraordinarily high prices on the stock market, and constantly their death failing.

STEWART: Countries including Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, have already announced measures to protect consumers from the spike in prices. But what's really needed to bring prices down is more fuel. Even if it damages countries climate targets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of countries across Europe, are quietly switching on coal fire plants again. It has been months, more than like a few years because, you know, rather run something dirty then run out of electricity.

STEWART: Gas, is a cleaner option, and it's possible more could be on the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For over 30 years, Gazprom has been the reliable gas supplier to the countries of Europe.

STEWART: President Vladimir Putin says Russia could export more gas, amid accusations Europe's biggest supplier has been withholding exports to keep prices high.

This offer though may have strings attached.

HENNING GLOYSTEIN, EURASIA GROUP: They might be pumping less supply to Europe, because they want to support the Nord stream 2 pipeline, which is ready, it's connecting to but it's not approved yet and they have been sending less gas through the pipeline through Ukraine and into Europe.

STEWART: Would approving Nord Stream 2, the new pipeline, would that solve the issue?

GLOYSTEIN: probably no. Just the regulatory process will take several months. And even if you got approved right now, which it won't it would take several weeks for the gas to be fully pipes through the system and arrive in Europe to make a difference.

STEWART: One of the simplest solutions to the gas crisis is out of policymakers control, a mild winter would ease prices.

Within their control, speeding up the transition to cleaner energy sources, without leaving consumers still reliant on gas, out in the cold. Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


VAUSE: South Korea's "Squid Game", captivating audiences around the world, fans now recreating the challenges from the series for themselves. Meet the man helping to bring the dangerous cookie game, whatever that is to life.


VAUSE: Move over "Bridgerton", forget it "Tiger King", no more "Queens Gambit', South Korea's "Squid Game', now officially the biggest launched ever for Netflix. The streaming service says more than 110 million subscribers have watched the survivor drama since its debut last month. The 9-episode series is number one on the Netflix 10 list in 94 countries.

And says the series' success shows there is a global market for foreign language productions.


MIN-YOUNG KI,. ASIA PACIFIC, NETFLIX: So we have 205 million members globally, which means this 111 million, more than half of our subscribers globally, have loved and enjoyed the "Squid Game".


KIM: We have slowly realized that a global content doesn't have to be only in English. It can come from anywhere around the world, and we're seeing proof with "Squid Game" that the sky is the limit. And a great content, and great story, can come from anywhere.


VAUSE: Well, forget the numbers, the way to know that "Squid Game" is really a cultural phenomenon, if is fans around the world, are finding ways to bring the challenges featured on the show into real life.

Here's CNN's Selina Wang.

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A taste of childhood in South Korea, a sweet treat stamped with a symbol. Many Koreans remember as part of a children's game.

The trick in this honeycomb challenge is to carve out the shape without cracking, innocent and fun. Until it's played on the hit Netflix series "Squid Game", where a broken point of a star, or a cracked umbrellas handle, means you lose the game and your life.

The vendor who made the trees cold (INAUDIBLE) for the squid game set and said he turned out 3 to 400 of them for the filming. Now, customers are lining up at his roadside stall, sometimes waiting for 6 hours for taste of them.

LIM CHANG-JOO, OWNER OF DALGONA VENDOR: Of course I'm happy, because my business is doing well. And I'm happy with how this has become famous in other countries.

WANG: The honeycomb game is gaining fans around the world, trending on social media and even been played at this cafe in Singapore.

If you look at her? We look at her, This is a disaster. she might have been dead in the first finish.

in the first minute.

We the game red light-green light, also getting a fresh set of legs because of "squid Game". Fans in the Philippines acting out the starts and stops of that contest in front of a doll, just like the deadly head turner from the show.

And for anyone looking to take their fandom to the next level, you too can dress like player 456. Netflix is expanding its efforts to sell merchandise from the series by partnering with retail giant Walmart, with Halloween and holidays fast approaching.

Selina Wang, CNN -- Tokyo.


VAUSE: Chance to see something real for millions more people this week -- the aurora borealis thanks to a geomagnetic storm is scattering the northern lights much further south than usual.

Officials in the U.K. say it's possible to see the light show across most of Scotland, possibly Northern England, and Northern Ireland that's of course, weather permitting.

In North America, the Aurora was spotted as far south as New York state, North Dakota, and Washington State. All this expected to continue into today.

And with that, thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us.

The news continues after a short break with my colleague and friend, Rosemary Church. See you tomorrow.