Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

China Tracing Possible Origin of The Virus; WHO Calling Out Wealthy Countries to Help Poorer Nations; All Eyes on G20 Leaders Ahead of COP26 Conference; Some Are Skeptical in Helping Afghanistan; China Determined to Take Taiwan; Afghans Escaped Taliban Rule. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 13, 2021 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead on CNN Newsroom, China said to test thousands of blood samples that could reveal the origins of the coronavirus. The big question now, is will they share the results.

Plus, the E.U. pledges more than a billion dollars of aid to Afghanistan as the U.S. holds talks with the Taliban.

And we're just hours away from the Blue Origin's space launch, and a little wind isn't going to stop Captain Kirk. We'll bring you the latest on where the delays as William Shatner prepares for lift off.

UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Good to have you with us. Well, vital clues about where COVID-19 came from could be sitting in a Chinese hospital. But how much the world learns from those clues is all up to Beijing.

Chinese officials say they are preparing to test as many as 200,000 blood samples taken in Wuhan two years ago. Experts say they could contain key details about the origins of the pandemic.

Now China is facing renewed pressure to let foreign experts take part in that probe, but so far Beijing is not budging. And that's raising concerns about the transparency of the investigation.

For more, we're joined by CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, he joins us live from London. Good to see you, Nick. So, what's the latest on all of this. And of course, that big question of how much China will likely share with the rest of the world once they learn more.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: It might be startling for many, Rosemary, to learn that nearly two years after the beginning of this pandemic. Almost exactly two years from when scientists believe it first cross into humans, there still exists some remarkable real-time tissue samples that could give vital clues as to when and where, possibly, the virus crossed into humans that haven't yet been tested.

They still exist there in the Wuhan blood center. They are from routine samples kept after blood transfusions but blood donors giving their blood. And China has hung on to them for two years for legal reasons. A vital sample here they could contain the first antibodies.

But the real question is, given China has said to us, that they will be testing them. Whether or not they will do so in a way that satisfies the international community's hunger for transparency here. And also, to how and when they'll share any results.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Ground zero for the illness sparking global unease.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 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? Tens of thousands of tiny blood samples taken in Wuhan in the last months 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 world we've seen of real-time samples.

WALSH: The samples might reveal when, and even where, antibodies against the contain the virus first appeared in humans in October or November two years ago. China said 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 of the end of 2019. And a Chinese official confirmed to CNN that China is preparing to test them. Echoing a promise from July when they said that they would share the results.

All (Inaudible) institutions from the Chinese he says also expressed the once they have the results, they will deliver them to both the Chinese and foreign expert teams. The samples come from the disposable tubes that carry donor blood into the donor bags, and that something that the WHO team said earlier this year they wanted to examine.

UNKNOWN: Did you find 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 we'd like to go back and find out exactly during which month this virus started to leave fingerprints in the human population in China.

MILLER: It is common practice to de-identify the samples. So, you could strip it down to basic demographics. Age, gender, neighborhood where they live. All of those data will be available.

WALSH: But the same problem emerges ns again, it will be China and China alone doing the testing and reporting their results. The U.S.'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 has been examined a full two years later. And there is 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 and all the foreign experts.

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

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

WALSH: But instead, this vital remaining clue risk being mired in recriminations and uncertainty again.


WALSH (on camera): Now of course, during that two years in which the samples have sat idle, it seems in Wuhan blood center fast amounts of recriminations geopolitics have got in the way of this essential task for humanity of working out how this virus how is transformed our daily lives, got into the human species.

The confusion now is, was it a lab leak? There is very little evidence that's public that supports that theory. Or, as pretty much all scientific studies so far suggest that this cross naturally from another species. Possibly bats. Maybe through an intermediary animal into humans.

These samples potentially can answer that question, too. Because as you heard from the experts there, if some of the samples appear to coagulate around a particular institution or a location or a certain group of people that may disprove the lab leak, or it may lead in direction towards natural origins. It could be extremely helpful.

You also heard another expert there voice some skepticism as to how these two years have passed with these samples being left untouched. China says it's for legal reasons. They are needed for lawsuits. While you may think possibly the needs of the pandemic supersede that. But China has been so curious over the past year, has spent so many

millions every year in examining these kinds of viruses, trying to understand them better. I think there are many experts who do wonder whether or not they were going to let samples like this sit idle for two years. The results though, still, something they can share globally to remove that feeling that they're not being transparent, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. And so critical of course that we find out the origins of this. Nick Paton Walsh, many thanks for that report.

Well the U.K. government is defending its early handling of the COVID pandemic after parliamentary report slammed the response as slow and reactive, leading to one of the worst public health failures in the country's history.

In a statement, a government spokesperson said, thanks to a collective national effort, we avoided NHS services becoming overwhelmed. And our phenomenal vaccination program has built a wall of defense with over 23.4 million infections prevented and more 130,000 lives saved so far. The government is also promising a full public inquiry next year.

Well, the head of the World Health Association is blasting countries giving COVID booster shots, saying it's unfair when many in Africa can't even get their first dose despite the WHO's call for a moratorium on boosters, wealthier countries like the U.S. are forging ahead anyway. The WHO chief discusses the situation with CNN's Becky Anderson.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: 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.



CHURCH: The WHO says just 7 percent of Africa's population has received one vaccine dose, and in most African countries less than 11 percent of people are fully vaccinated.

Well, the U.S. is 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 for nonessential visits. By January, vaccinations will be required for all visitors even for essential travel.

Well, the head of the COP26 climate change summit says major economies need to step up with their plans to reduce carbon emissions. Alok Sharma called at the G20 members who agreed back in July to

reveal their targets before the conference. But have yet to do. G20 countries account for around 80 percent of global emissions and the members that have not boosted their carbon reduction commitments include Australia, China, India, Russia, and Brazil.


ALOK SHARMA, PRESIDENT COP26: 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 part. So, I say to those G20 leaders they simply must step up ahead of COP26.


CHURCH (on camera): The backdrop for this warning was Paris, the site of the 2015 climate accords. And it's where the French president is now pushing a green revolution.

Melissa Bell is covering that and the pressure campaign ahead of COP26.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a speech designed to remind the world what will be at stake when its leaders gather around the table in Glasgow later this month for the COP26 Conference. The president of the COP26 announcing here in Paris on Tuesday that it was about meeting those targets that had been set in Paris back in 2015, but with some G20 countries simply not pulling their weight so far.

Alok Sharma lifted those G20 countries that had risen to the challenge that have announced a rise in their carbon emission reduction targets. And specifically, therefore, calling out those countries that have not, urging them to do more, pointing out that it is 80 percent of the world's carbon emissions that are produced by the leading 20 economies, that is the G20.

Alok Sharma is there trying to put what pressure he can ahead of that crucial meeting even on the day when the French president was announcing also here in Paris his plans ahead of 2030. Emmanuel Macron facing a tight election in just six months' time and trying to reconcile on one hand France's commitments to reducing its carbon emissions, 30 percent by 2030 is what he's announced, and yet also trying to bring jobs back to France.

Emmanuel Macron announcing 30 billion euros that will go into that plan, very much aimed at getting him reelected in six months' time. But also, more profoundly, and perhaps more challenging still, the idea that it can be reconciled on one hand, the move towards a greener France and one that will be bringing jobs home.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

CHURCH: And while European countries are working to move away from fossil fuels to clean energy, the transition is not fast enough.

CNN's Anna Stewart takes a look at the continents energy crisis. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice over): Heating homes, cooking food, and fueling industry. Europe depends on natural gas for its energy needs. The E.U. 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 role back to life post pandemic and need more fuel, demand goes up. On the supply side, a long winter to pleated gas reserves and weak solar and wind output during the summer meant alternatives weren't able to fill 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 tide goes out you get to see you swimming naked. And you know, certainly some of those energy suppliers didn't forward hedge their positions, and consequently, we're now seen buying energy at extraordinarily high prices from the stock market, and mostly they're 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.

HENNING GLOYSTEIN, DIRECTOR OF ENERGY, CLIMATE AND ENERGY RESOURCES, EURASIA GROUP: A lot of countries across Europe are quietly switching on coal fired stations again that had been (Inaudible) in the past few years, because, you know, rather run something dirty than run out of electricity.


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

UNKNOWN: 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 amidst accusations Europe's bigger supplier has been withholding exports to keep prices high. This offer, though, may have strings attached.

GLOYSTEIN: They might be pumping less supply to Europe because they want to support Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, which is ready going into Germany but it's approved yet. And they have been sending less gas through their pipelines going through Ukraine and into Europe.

STEWART: Would approving Nord Stream 2, the new pipeline, would that solve the issue? GLOYSTEIN: Probably not. 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 pipe through the system and arrive in Europe to make a difference.

STEWART: One of the simpler 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.


CHURCH (on camera): And still to come here on CNN, how an Israeli aid group pulled off a daring rescue effort to get dozens of Afghans out of harm's way.

And later, mainland China is again stoking tensions with Taiwan as it defends recent military drills. We'll have the latest on their standoff. That's ahead.


CHURCH (on camera): The European Union is pledging more than a billion dollars in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan. G20 leaders met virtually to discuss the country's collapsing economy and severe poverty. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi says the world's wealthiest countries must address the crisis even if it means coordinating with the Taliban. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered this stark warning.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): 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 a 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 exist, that cannot and must not be the aim of the international community.


CHURCH (on camera): International aid to Afghanistan has largely been on hold since the Taliban takeover in August. And the country's foreign reserves are frozen.


War, poverty, and the coronavirus pandemic are all contributing to the nightmare in Afghanistan. According to the United Nations more than half a million Afghans have been forced from their homes this year alone. One in three people don't know where their next meal is coming from. More than 14 million Afghans are on the brink of starvation, and a million children are suffering from acute malnutrition and could die this year without treatment.

While the U.S. State Department is reporting progress on a number of fronts in talks with the Taliban. U.S. and European diplomats have been meeting with representatives from the Afghan government in Doha, Qatar. Spokesman Ned Price explain but they're discussing.


NED PRICE, SPOKESMAN, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: We engaged on a practical and pragmatic basis with the Taliban as we have done in recent weeks. Focusing on security and terrorism concerns. In some ways, a shared threat from groups like ISIS-K in Afghanistan. Safe passage for U.S. citizens, and for foreign nationals, and as well as our Afghan partners to whom we have a special commitment. And of course, human rights and that includes the rights of women and girls.

We do want commitments when it comes to humanitarian access.

UNKNOWN: Did you get that?

PRICE: There has been progress on a number of fronts, I think there were productive discussions on the issue of humanitarian assistance.


CHURCH (on camera): Well, speaking of humanitarian assistance, we are learning about a daring rescue operation by an Israeli aid group to help dozens of Afghans escape their country.

CNN's Hadas Gold reports.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A group of 125 Afghans, female police officers, judges, activists, even professional cyclist 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.

UNKNOWN (through translator): We were hiding at the location with 120 people. But the location was discovered by Taliban.

UNKNOWN (through translator): 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 worked 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. For the Israeli NGO IsraAiD, it was the second evacuation out of Afghanistan in a month. Led by Yotam Polizer who coordinated rescues from a neighboring country. Israel had never before undertaken such an ambitious rescue operation.

YOTAM POLIZER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ISRAAID: The way it all came together was very -- like it was not planned. It was all an emergency response after 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 the only way out is actually a flight through the northern airport in Afghanistan through Mazar-i-Sharif.

GOLD: But negotiating with the Taliban to leave Afghanistan was only part of the battle. They needed a neighboring country which we've been asked not to name to transit through. And a third country where the group could be held before ultimate resettlement. A patchwork of activist, wealthy donors and more hold every string possible.

POLIZER: People who are 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 extricated 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.

How do the Abraham Accords affect your ability to work with the Emiratis?

POLIZER: I think it's absolutely affected. I mean, there is no way that we could do it before. And for them there was a very special partnership. They really appreciated the fact that he was like the first joint humanitarian mission. And in a lot of our conversations with really high-level government official they said that they wanted 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 billionaire Sylvan Adams. An avid cyclist, Adams felt drawn in particular to his fellow two-wheelers.

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

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

ADAMS: We have this ancient cultural imperative, it's my obligation to try to practice Tikkun olam improving our world. So, I get involve 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.


CHURCH (on camera): Mainland China is again ramping up its rhetoric as tensions flare with Taiwan. According to Chinese state media, one official is now calling military drills in the Taiwan Strait, quote, "necessary actions to defend national sovereignty." And he warned against Taiwan independence.

CNN's Will Ripley has more on the strained relations from Taipei.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Forceful words from the head of the world's largest one-party state. Chinese 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 its military might -- days after Taiwan's defense ministry said nearly 150 Chinese warplanes flew over four days in its air defense zone. Tensions between the two governments may be reaching a boiling point, but they've been brewing for decades. In a complex relationship that began with war.

In 1949, the previous part Chinese government fled to Taiwan after a brutal Civil War with the communist. Those communists what is now the People's Republic of China, both sides claim they were the true authority of the island, then came decades of hostility with no travel, trade or even communication between the two 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-independence party nominee Tsai Ing Wen 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 24 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 vows to bring the two together. Taiwan's fate hangs in the balance.

Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


CHURCH (on camera): Well months after Myanmar's coup, insurgents are escalating the battle against the military dictatorship. We'll have details ahead.

Plus, accused of crimes against humanity for his climate record. Brazil's president is facing damning new allegations at the International Criminal Court. We'll have those stories and more after the short break.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Myanmar's ousted president says the military tried to force him to resign hours before February's coup but he refused. Win Myint's first public comments came Tuesday at his joint trial with civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi on charges of incitement.

Meanwhile, the ongoing resistance to the military dictatorship is becoming increasingly violence. Ivan Watson joins us now from Hong Kong with more on this. So good to see you, Ivan. So how well organized are these insurgents and what are they hoping to achieve up against the might of the Myanmar military?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, there are fears that major bloodshed is looming in the Northwest of Myanmar. The United Nations, high commissioner for Human Rights put out a statement in the last week saying that there were alarming reports about substantial deployment of Myanmar troops and heavy weaponry to Chin state, Sagang region, and Magway region. And those areas have been the scene, there have been reports of very intense clashes, many ambushes of security forces by assorted different armed resistance groups.

This U.N. office saying also that two high-level military commanders have been sent there. And their concerns that that there could be reprisals as there have been reports of villages being raided, and houses being burned, and communities that are seem to be supporting the opposition.

The situation in the cities is different. There has been a dramatic evolution that I myself have witnessed, communicating with people who were part of the peaceful protests against the coup that took place on February 1st, who now freely admit that they're involved in acts of violence such as planting bombs and planning assassinations.


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 bombing, assassinations, and infrastructure sabotage. Destroying cellphone towers for example, apparently belonging to a telecommunications company partly owned by the Myanmar military.

Have you yourself planted any bombs?

UNKNOWN: Yes, a couple of times.

WATSON: This man, who asked not to be identified once organized peaceful anti-military protests, but now calls himself a guerrilla fighter.

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

WATSON: In fact, when I first interviewed him in March, he rejected violence.

Do you support violent attacks on the military?

UNKNOWN: No, not at all.

WATSON: For weeks after the February 1st coup, opposition demonstrators stage 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 1100, the once peaceful protesters says he embraced armed resistance.

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

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

AUNG HLAING, MYANMAR MILITARY CHIEF (through translator): Extremists and their supporters chose the act of terrorism instead of doing or solving in line with the law, they incited anarchy and committed armed insurrection.

WATSON: Military run media claimed the opposition carried out more than 2,000 bomb attacks and killed nearly 800 people in the last seven months.

On September 7th, Myanmar's opposition government in exile endorsed the many small cells of armed resistance that have propped up, calling on them to attack the military regime.

NYI THUTA, FORMER MYANMAR MILITARY CAPTAIN: This is a war because our military created the war.

WATSON: Until late February, Nyi Thuta was a captain in the Myanmar military. But he says the slaughter of civilians pushed him to defect. When you see these videos of a bomb exploding next to soldiers, how

does that make you feel?

THUTA: I feel sad. But we must fight them, because they are killing our people.

WATSON: Now, a wanted man, the former officer said he doesn't fight in the streets but instead resist the regime online, on weekly Zoom calls like this during which he urges members of the security force to quit. The urban guerrilla fighter I talked to estimates more than 50 people he knows in the opposition movement have been captured or killed.

UNKNOWN: 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 be revolutionaries could not be higher.


WATSON (on camera): Now, Rosemary, as lives are being lost, and blood is being spilled out on these urban and provincial battlefields. The conflict has also been waged in the digital space, for example, as I mentioned in that report, the defector army captain hosts weekly Zoom -- open public Zoom broadcast where he urges other soldiers and officers to defects.

And I spoke yesterday with a man who says he's a sergeant who defected a month ago because in part he watched some of these broadcasts, and then last Sunday, he himself contributed to one of them, an unusual use of the Zoom platform. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yeah. Incredible report there, Ivan Watson, joining us live from Hong Kong. Many thanks.

And earlier I spoke with the U.N. special rapporteur for Myanmar and I asked him about the insurgencies chances against the country's military.


TOM ANDREWS, U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON MYANMAR: We're talking about one of the largest militaries in the region really in the world. They have very sophisticated weaponry and they will show absolutely no limitations whatsoever to using those weapons against their own people. So the fact is, is that people who are trying to fight back using weapons, very often these are a homemade weapons, homemade rifles, flint lock rifles, single shot rifles, very primitive rifles, against some of the most sophisticated weaponry that is available on this planet.

So, what I think the reality is, is that despite the fact that people are so desperate trying to do anything and everything to protect themselves and their families from this what really is a brutal military occupation. Overcoming this military using military means is not in my view possible.

So at every atrocity they committed by the military, the opposition gets even stronger. I think what is being used right now by most people in Myanmar are nonviolent means of opposition. There is a civil very vibrant civil disobedience movement. There is a citizen's sanction movement in which anything and everything connected to the military is being boycotted.

There is right now people withholding their taxes, their withholding utility bills. Those two steps alone have cost a projected $1 billion from the military.


CHURCH: Well, dozens of civil society groups in Brazil say President Jair Bolsonaro is a threat to the world's efforts to contain global warming. On Tuesday, the far-right leader was referred to the International Criminal Court for his climate record with damning new allegations.

CNN's Rafael Romo has our report.



RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice over): 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 described as a tax on the Amazon, which amount to crimes against humanity. ALLRISE filed a complaint at the court in The Hague on Tuesday. The 286 page complaint describes alleged actions by Bolsonaro and his administration as quote, "a widespread attack on the Amazon, its defendants and its 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.

What is President Bolsonaro saying about the accusations against him and his government? CNN has reached out to his office but 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 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.


CHURCH: Still to come it seems like one threat after another for people in La Palma. Now three rivers of lava are endangering lives there. And we will have the latest in a live report.


CHURCH: Authorities and now tracking three main lava flows from the volcano erupting on La Palma in the Canary Islands. Looking at live pictures here, one of which is moving quickly toward the Atlantic Ocean. That's one of the molten lava rivers there.

And if it reaches the sea that creates the danger of chemical reactions and toxic gas. Lava is also advancing on a neighborhood, forcing hundreds more to evacuate.

Journalist Al Goodman, joins me now live from Madrid. So, Al, this rapidly advancing lava is forcing so many people from their homes with very little time for them to grab what they need. Bring us up to date on the latest on what's happening on the island there.


AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hi, Rosemary, you're right, it's the northern flow of those three lava flows that it's got the most attention for the authorities because it's the most liquid, it's moving the fastest, it's causing all the problems right now. So most recently an evacuation order for about 800 people who live -- were outside the exclusion zone but because of the movement of this lava, authorities decided to get them out of their homes on Tuesday afternoon.

They had a little more time we're learning then some of the previous evacuations. This has been going on for three weeks since the volcano started erupting on September 19. They a little more time if they had trucks that they could get some of their things out of the house, washing machines, and things like that.

The authority set up an old factories where they could bring those and each one of them have a place to put those. But they were told to take the property deeds and records, this in case their home gets destroyed and the government will be paying money out to help them rebuild according to this.

So now that's about 6,700 people who have been evacuated since this started on this island with about 80,000 people. This same northern lava flow earlier this week caused the fire at a cement factory, an industrial zone, and that forced the evacuation of about 3,000 people closest to that. That also was lifted about 24 hours later and then came the evacuation order. Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Al Goodman, bringing us the latest there from his vantage point in Madrid, I appreciate that.

Well a new study is painting a dire picture of what our world could look like if global temperatures keep rising. Researchers from Climate Central say rising sea levels will impact more than 800 million people if the earth warms just a few degrees. And 50 major coastal cities will be underwater unless they take unprecedented measures to prevent flooding.

Meteorologist, Tyler Mauldin, joins us now. And Tyler, this is a frightening wake up call for all of us.

TYLER MAULDIN, AMS METEOROLOGIST (on camera): It is. And Rosemary, the image behind me here is very telling. There are two things to take away from this image. Number one in the blue, the carbon dioxide emissions around the globe, and it's increasing at an increasing rate. And white, is the global temperature and it too is increasing at an increasing rate.

The main contributors to this increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, transportation, and electricity. If we want to get to a net zero economy we've got to get a better control on these two through clean energy technologies and carbon sequestration technologies.

The earth has warmed 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. The IPCC warns that if we get above 1.5, we'll start having detrimental impacts around the globe and really we're already seen that. In order to get to limit, I should say, the warming to just 1.5 we need a net zero economy by the time we get to 2050 if we want to, you know, keep those temperatures at bay, at least to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

We know that warming climate can have all kinds of impacts from a more frequent tornado events, all the way to stronger and more frequent heat waves. And this includes more sea rise and also some coastal flooding too. Here's what it would look like in Sydney, Australia just going up from up to 3 degrees Celsius. Look at all of that area is now inundated with water.

In London, see the greenery here, well, that's now underwater. And then in New York City, with the Statue of Liberty, take a look at this, Rosemary, see all of the grass here, it's gone. So, if we get above 1.5 degrees Celsius and get all the way up to 3 degrees Celsius that's going to have huge impacts around the globe.

CHURCH: Yeah. Those visuals tell the story don't they? Tyler Mauldin, many thanks for that. I appreciate.

Well, he played the captain of the star ship Enterprise for decades, now Star Trek actor, William Shatner, is going into space for real. A look at space tourism and what it can achieve. That's ahead.


[03:50:00] CHURCH: Better late than never for Star Trek's Capstan Kirk, actor

William Shatner and three others will be on board a Blue Origin rocket, launching into space later today. The mission was delayed from Tuesday over weather concerns. Lift-off is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Eastern from a launch site in Texas.

The 90-year-old Shatner played Captain Kirk in the 1960s Star Trek TV show and, of course, seven movies. His real life journey into space will last 11 minutes.

For more on this we're joined by retired astronaut, Leroy Chiao. Great to have you with us.

LEROY CHIAO, RETIRED NASA ASTRONAUT (on camera): Good to be with you.

CHURCH: So 90-year-old, William Shatner, Star Trek's Captain Kirk will blast off into space in just a matter of hours from now, becoming the oldest person to do so. What are your thoughts as a retired astronaut?

CHIAO: Well, I think it's wonderful. I watched the original Star Trek as a young person and very much enjoyed it. I'm partially inspired by Captain Kirk in the series to want to become an astronaut myself. So it's wonderful to see William Shatner, Captain Kirk, get a chance to finally get into space himself.

CHURCH: So what do you think of this form of space tourism? And what exactly does it achieve do you think?

CHIAO: Well, I think it's great because this is natural evolution of spaceflight. First, of course, came the actual ability to get into space with humans on board and then after several decades of space exploration, we've come to the point of commercialization where we are now being able to take people into space.

In this case just to touch space, just for a few minute, but in the space nonetheless and I think it's wonderful it raises awareness especially when you have these kinds of celebrities get a chance to go into space and everybody gets a chance to -- and to learn a bit more about space exploration. I think it's a great thing.

CHURCH: And of course, these are early days but what do you think space tourism will look like in a few years from now. And do you see a day when it will be cheap enough that everyone can get a chance to travel into space?

CHIAO: Well, I hope it does. I mean, I think it's going to take some things for the price to come down more. Frankly, you know, rocket engines are expensive, and rockets are expensive and even though commercial companies can dramatically reduce the cost of getting into space, it's still a pretty big number for the vast majority of the folks here on earth.

You know, if it becomes a choice of buying a house, or a car, or something like that, or getting the chance to go up on a short flight like this just around 11 minutes, you know, it's still a big deal. So, even though the prices comes down dramatically, I think it's going to take some kind of breakthrough propulsion where we can reliably and inexpensively put enough energy into a vehicle to get it up into space that - that's what's going to open it up for a more so called normal people.

CHURCH: We'll cross our fingers on that. I did want to ask you about the space balloon offered by World View for the smaller sum of $50 000 to take you to the edge of space. How viable and safe is that option do you think?

CHIAO: Well it's certainly is a viable option. It's something that's been demonstrated that you could get up to pretty high altitudes with balloons. We saw those extreme parachute jumps, just a few years ago, record setting jumps from around 100,000 feet or a little bit higher.

And of course the World View and other companies are working on trying to get tourist up to, you know, up to that 60,000 to 100,000 foot level and you definitely will see the curvature of the earth. You will get a feel of what it's like to be in space. You'll still be quite a bit below the boundary of the so called official Von Karman line of space which is 100 kilometers. But nonetheless, you get a good feel for it, and you know, a little bit of a lower cost.

CHURCH: And just quickly, back to William Shatner, what will you be looking for when they take off in a few hours?

CHIAO: You know, I'll be looking for hopefully a nominal -- what we call the (inaudible) nominal flight, everything goes normally and I'll be looking for that excitement from William Shatner, as well of the rest of the people on board.


CHURCH: Absolutely, I agree. He's very good at verbalizing how he feels about situations. So I can't wait to get that feedback. Leroy Chiao, many thanks for joining us. I appreciate it,

CHIAO: My pleasure. Thank you very much.

CHURCH: Well move over Bridgeton, Tiger King and Queens Gambit. South Korea's Squid Game is now officially the biggest series launch ever for Netflix. The streaming service says more than 110 million subscribers around the world had watched the survival drama since its debut last month. And Netflix says, this shows there's a global market for foreign language productions.


MINYOUNG KIM, V.P. OF CONTENT FOR ASIA-PACIFIC, NETFLIX: We have slowly realize that a global content doesn't have to be only in English, it can come from anywhere around the world and we are seeing proof with Squid Game that the skies the limit and a great content and great story can come from anywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: And Squid Game has quickly become a cultural phenomenon and

fans around the world are finding ways to bring the challenges featured on the show to life.

Here's CNN's Selina Wang.


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A taste of childhood in South Korea, a sweet treat, stamp with a symbol that many Koreans remember as part of a children's game. The trick in this honeycomb challenge is to carve out the shape without cracking it. Innocent and fun. Until it played on the hit Netflix series Squid Game, where a broken point of a star or a cracked umbrella handle means you lose the game and your life.

The vendor who made the treats called dalgona for the Squid Game set, said he turned out three to 400 of them for the filming. Now customers are lining up at his roadside stall sometimes waiting for six hours for a taste of them.

LIM CHANG-JOO, OWNER OF DALGONA VENDOR (through translator): 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 being played at this cafe in Singapore.

WANG CHEN, 32-YEAR-OLD SOFTWARE ENGINEER: If you look at hers, look at hers. This is a disaster. She might have been dead in the first minute.


WANG: 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.


CHURCH: And thanks for your company. I'm Rosemary Church, have yourself a wonderful day. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Isa Soares.