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Violence in Lebanon Add to Country's Woes; Five Dead in Bow- and-Arrow Attack in Norway; Bill Clinton Hospitalized to Treat Blood Infection; Italy's Strict COVID Mandate Goes into Effect; China-Taiwan Tensions; China's Ambitious Space Program; New Hope for the Iran Nuclear Deal; Christmas Comes Early for Right Wing, Anti-Biden Agenda; Senators Manchin & Sinema Detail Key Disagreements with Progressives Over Biden's Agenda; African Flavors Celebrated at Alkebulan Dining Hall; Growing Fears Lebanon may be Slipping toward Civil War; Israeli Softens Stance, Could Accept Diplomacy. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired October 15, 2021 - 02:00   ET



PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.

Coming up right up here on "CNN Newsroom," Lebanon on edge a day after deadly gun battles in the streets of the capital, and it's only the latest crisis facing the country.

Despite protests, the strictest COVID vaccine mandate in Europe goes into effect in Italy today. We are live in Rome.

Plus, China's ambitious space program. CNN gets rare access to the launch center sending astronauts to their space station.

It is 9:00 a.m. in Beirut where many people are waking up this Friday morning to fresh fears of civil war. Heavily armed Lebanese troops are now patrolling the streets after running gun battles the day before killed at least six people and wounded dozens more.



NEWTON: Startling scenes there. It began when people started shooting during a protest called by Hezbollah. The U.S., the U.N. and Egypt have all issued pleas for calm. Terrified residents had to flee their homes amid the barrage of bullets and many are now worried about what comes next, including the prime minister. Listen.

NAJIB MIKATI, LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I wish they remember the Civil War and learned from it, and how it affected Lebanon and the tens of thousands of people who were killed and what that led to. At the end, we will sit together and reach an agreement. We are all Lebanese. We should be united.


NEWTON (on camera): CNN's Ben Wedeman is in Beirut for us. He joins us now on the phone. You know, Ben, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, was actually in Beirut. And he tweeted that he was there on such a difficult day in which lives were lost -- pregnant pause here -- again. Even the tweets gave the unsettling sense of fatigue and despair, even from this official. How are the Lebanese people taking all of this in right now?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): I think people here, on the one hand, they're shocked by the level of violence yesterday. This is the worst violence the Lebanese capital have seen in years. But also, just exhausted by one catastrophe, one disaster after another because, of course, you now, last August 2020, we had the Beirut port blast, more than 200 people killed, 300,000 people made homeless.

In the meantime, on a daily basis, the Lebanese are suffering what the World Bank says as one of the worst economic collapses in the last 150 years. So, people are simply exhausted, essentially in the last two years. Their world has turned upside down.

And now with -- after yesterday's violence, yesterday's death toll, the sense that we are going back to 1979 perhaps, the beginning of the Civil War. That doesn't necessarily mean that people think there will be a civil war, but yesterday was a brutal reminder of those images of children huddling under their desks in a school, in the area where the shooting took place.

It's just a reminder of how bad it can actually get. So, really, there is this palpable sense of numb exhaustion from just a series of one bad day after day today. Paula?

NEWTON: Yeah. And Ben, it has to be said, so many people have had their lives up ended in the last couple years, just from the financial crisis. And yet now, there is that unsettling, you know, within the air that perhaps this could trigger another civil war.

I mean, look, you're a veteran of this place, Ben. You've been right there with them for decades. What do you think? How precarious is the political situation right now?

WEDEMAN (via telephone): Well, the political situation has been precarious for years. You have this new government led by Najib Mikati. He's a billionaire from the northern city of Tripoli.


WEDEMAN (via telephone): Initially, when his government was formed after more than a year of no government, no cabinet, there was a feeling that perhaps the worst had passed. The Lebanese lira, which has lost 90% of its value in the last two years, went down to $14,000. But now, it's up to more than $21,000.

There's a feeling that that is only downward -- Lebanon is on a downward slope and we haven't reached the bottom. As far as the potential, the possibility of civil war goes, let's keep in mind that to have a civil war, you need money.

In 1975, when the Lebanese Civil War broke out, the Middle East was flushed with cash. Lebanon was a theater for proxy wars. Today, the Middle East, by and large, is not doing as well as it did in 1975, which of course was after the oil shock of 1973 following the October war. The money just isn't there for civil war.

And as far as proxy wars go, you have places like Syria and Iraq, which are much larger theaters of proxy war. And therefore, Lebanon, a relatively small country compared to Iraq and Syria, perhaps, simply the ingredients aren't there for a civil war, the likes of which we saw from 1975 to 1990.

But for communal strife, for violence on a scale that this country hasn't seen since the Civil War, there is a possibility, but not an inevitability at this moment. Paula?

NEWTON (on camera): Yeah, which, as you said, would come as cold comfort for those who just been running the video had to endure those pitched battles, you know, right on their doorsteps yesterday.

Ben, calm right now in Beirut. We will continue to follow up with you throughout the day. I appreciate it. Ben Wedeman for us in Beirut.

The deadly bow and arrow rampage in Norway is now being treated as a suspected act of terrorism. The suspect has been identified as 37- year-old Espen Andersen Brathen (ph). Authorities say the Danish man had recently converted to Islam and they had previously spoken to him over concerns he had been radicalized. But a motive is still at this hour under investigation.


HANS SVERRE SJOEVOLD, HEAD OF NORWEGIAN SECURITY POLICE (through translator): There is no doubt that this appears to be a possible act of terror, but it's important that the investigation continue and that we can determine the suspect's motive.

We are also working to find out if this will inspire others to carry out acts of terror, and that is something we have a big focus on now. But at the moment, we cannot say that we are registering anything like that.


NEWTON (on camera): CNN's Melissa Bell has more from the scene of the attack.


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: This was a supermarket in the town of Kongsberg to the southwest of Oslo, where the rampage began on Wednesday evening.

Espen Andersen Brathen (ph) leaving from here after having wounded an off-duty police officer and beginning of what was to become a more than half hour rampage with a bow and arrow. The death toll now stands at five, four women and one man killed on that rampage, and several other people wounded.

It's been treated as a terror attack, although the police chief has said that while the suspect had been known for his radicalization, it was important to await the investigation's outcome to work out precisely what his motive had been here on Wednesday evening.

Now, speaking to us a little earlier, the prosecutors explained that while the suspect had expected to be in court on Friday morning, she wasn't sure whether that will be the case since he is to be evaluated Thursday night by psychiatric services and further questioning to work out whether his mental state means he's fit or not to stand trial.

Melissa Bell, Kongsberg.


NEWTON (on camera): Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized in California since Tuesday, receiving treatment for a blood infection. Now, according to a statement from his office, the 75-year-old was in California earlier this week for a Clinton Foundation event. He reported feeling fatigued and was taken to a hospital for testing.

CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta has more on what the doctors found.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They basically investigated and found that he had what's called urosepsis. Basically, it is a urinary tract infection that can then spread to the blood. It can be serious.

I mean, people hear the term sepsis, he is 75 years old, causes concern, but they were able to start treating him quickly with IV antibiotics and then monitor him. He started feeling better. His white blood cell count started to trend downwards. His fever started to dissipate as well.


GUPTA: So, they're optimistic that maybe as early as tomorrow or the next day, he could potentially get out of the hospital and switch from IV antibiotics which he is on now to oral antibiotics.


NEWTON (on camera): Our thanks to Sanjay Gupta there who have been in touch with the president's doctors. Now, in a statement, those doctors also stressed that Clinton's hospitalization is not related to COVID- 19 or previous health problems.

In Australia, fully vaccinated international travelers will soon be able to visit New South Wales without having to quarantine. Now, the state's premier says starting next month, international arrivals will have to show only proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test before boarding a flight. Australia's borders have been closed to foreigners since March of last year. The new policy comes as the states inoculation rate is expected hit 80% this weekend.

Vaccine advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave their endorsement to Moderna's COVID booster shots. Now, they're recommending they be authorized for emergency use for certain groups only, adults over the age of 65 and those at high risk of severe disease and exposure.

The U.S. FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still have to sign off, though. Vaccine advisers are expected to vote on Johnson & Johnson's booster shot application in the coming hours.

Now, while the U.S. is waiting for a decision regarding Johnson & Johnson booster shots, President Joe Biden has met with Kenya's president to announce the U.S. will send more than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the African Union. The White House says the shipment will be delivered in the covering weeks and is in addition to the 50 million doses the U.S. has already sent to the African Union.

Now, some countries still desperately need vaccines. According to Our World in Data, a little less than half the global population has received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and it says less than 3% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

Italy has just imposed one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the world. Public and private sector workers now need so-called green pass to do their jobs.

Barbie Nadeau has been following all of this for us from Rome, and she joins us now. You know, the good thing is Italy's vaccination rate is already quite high, as much as 85% in most regions, and yet how disruptive could this mandate be in the coming days and hours?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There are lot of protests today schedule against the green pass. This is the green pass. Every single person who posts (ph) a paycheck in Italy as of today has to provide this. This green pass shows that you've been fully vaccinated or you can have a negative COVID test but that is something you have to do almost every 24 hours at your own expense.

The majority of this country, however, is vaccinated. They've already started the booster program. But there is a pocket of people who don't believe that the government should mandate this sort of vaccine. There is no other country in the west that has such a strong mandate. And we are going to see this afternoon a lot of people against this gathering in the streets. We saw violent protests a couple of weeks ago in Rome.

And for the most part, though, there is compliance, this idea that you have to have this green pass now to go to work, to go to a restaurant, to go to a museum, to go to a movie, has just become part of the daily life here in Rome. That's something that kicks off today in full. Paula?

NEWTON: Yeah. It'll be interesting to see if this kind of resistance keeps up or if indeed most of the Italian public gets used to doing this. Barbara Nadeau for us, keeping track of that in Rome, appreciate it.

Military flights, landing drills, veiled political threats, all things China has been doing to mount the pressure on Taiwan. Coming up, we'll ask people on the island how they feel about the growing tensions.

Plus, China is gearing up for its next space launch and a mission. An inside look from us ahead.




NEWTON: Investigators are looking into a couple suspected of causing a deadly building fire in Southern Taiwan. At least 46 people were killed and 41 others injured when a 13-storey residential building went up in flames on Thursday.

Taiwan's official news agency says the firefighters found a used incense burner on the first floor where a couple was often seen. Investigators suspect the woman lit the incense which led to the blaze. Officials are now checking other buildings in the area to make sure that they comply with all fire safety standards.

We've been reporting about China's saber rattling against Taiwan in recent weeks, including military flights near the island and landing drills across the sea.

But we now want to show you another side of this equation and take you to the streets of Taipei, where the attitude over China's intimidation campaign is for some, you know, no big deal.

Will Ripley joins us now from Taiwan's capital to explain. Will, there, you know, has been this sharp rhetoric from China, something people are used to, and yet there has been a bit of an escalation, as you pointed out in the last few weeks. I guess the question is, are the people of Taiwan worried about that?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'll put it to you this way, Paula. The story that you just reported about the fire in Southern Taiwan is a massive story here.

When the China flew those record number of warplanes near Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone, it barely got a mention in the news, and that's because people here are, frankly, desensitize to it. It feels to them like almost every single day, even though the government only began reporting this information a year ago.

But if you listen to what China is saying now, if you listen to the Global Times editorial that said, China is still seeking a peaceful solution, as long as that peaceful solution ends with the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland, you can see the difficult position that Taiwan is in and the growing military that they are up against.


RIPLEY: Chinese soldiers trained for the invasion of Taiwan. A new propaganda video shows an amphibious assault. Beijing says this training exercise targets Taiwan independence and interference by external forces like the U.S. A warning for President Joe Biden and other U.S. allies who continue to voice support for Taiwan.

U.S. arm sales to the island at record highs. Taiwan's defense minister says China could launch a full-scale war by 2025. He says military tensions are the worst in more than 40 years. The mainland's massive army poses a growing threat to the world's only Chinese- speaking democracy.

Can I ask you like a really quick question?

On the streets of Taiwan, we get a sense of the mood on the ground. It is not where you might think.

LOUIS YANG, RESTAURANT OWNER: China is for a long time -- they want to take over Taiwan. But they just -- maybe just saying it. We don't know that.

RIPLEY: You're still here.

YANG: Yeah, we are still here.

RIPLEY: Louis Yang owns a small burger restaurant. He believes Taiwan as a country, his country, not part of China. Tea shop owner, Lisu Su, thinks the U.S. Military would intervene.

LISU SU, HERBAL TEA SHOP OWNER (through translator): I think the United States has to help because of Taiwan's strategic position. As long as Taiwan does not give up on itself and has a strong defensive ability, I think the United States will definitely help.

RIPLEY: This month, China flew a record number of warplanes near Taiwan, including fighter jets and nuclear capable bombers. Beijing has never ruled out taking Taiwan by force, insisting the island is part of mainland China, even though it has its own government and military more than 70 years after China's civil war.


RIPLEY: But that military is not recognized by Beijing nor is the government, the democratic-reelected government. In fact, Beijing is outspending Taiwan on defense by almost 15 times, even as Taiwan adds billions to its defense budget, buys billions of dollars of weapons from the U.S., closer ties that are seeming to agitate Beijing even further and making these very, very increasingly bold statements that the reunification, in their words, of the mainland and Taiwan is all but inevitable. Reunification is not a word that they use here in Taipei, Paula, because they say, how can you reunify when the island of Taiwan, with its government, was never ruled by the People's Republic of China, with its government? They have been too separate. At least in the view of the leadership here in Taipei, they have been separated for more than 70 years.

But in Beijing, they've never recognized the government here and they have never ruled out taking this island back by force. What is concerning to some analysts is that now they actually have an army in mainland China that could potentially do it and it may not take as long as you think.

NEWTON: Yeah. And to put a fine point on it, I don't think many people envision what happened in Hong Kong in the last few years happening as it did. So, again, you can understand why many analysts at this point are on edge. Even if the people of Taiwan, perhaps, are not at this hour. Will Ripley for us --

RIPLEY: And I want to actually -- yeah. Sorry. I just want to say, on that point, because you pointed out a really good thing, in Hong Kong, it was the stroke of a pen that changed that city more than rolling tanks through the streets ever could.

There is a disinformation warfare campaign being waged on Taipei right now as well, where basically fakes news stories are being planted into this country which has one of the world's (INAUDIBLE) internets and it's dividing the country.

If you get enough people believing the fake news, they could vote in a government that Beijing wants, a government that essentially would make Beijing feel like it would be much easier to reunify.

NEWTON (on camera): Yeah, it is such an important point, as you said. The stroke of a pen has done it and continues to do the work for mainland China. Will Ripley, again, thank you so much for that perspective from Taiwan. I appreciate it.

Now, China is launching three astronauts into space on Saturday. Beijing's space agency says the crew will spend six months at the nation space station which is still being built.

CNN's David Culver tells us it is yet more evidence of the increasingly vigorous space race between China and the United States.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ninety- year-old Star Trek actor William Shatner blasted into space, becoming the oldest man to reach such heights amid great fanfare in the U.S.


CULVER (on camera): Thousands of miles away here in the Gobi Desert, China's latest space mission won't set any records, but it is a major step forward in this country's fast growing and increasingly ambitious space program.

(Voice-over): CNN getting rare access to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwestern China. Shenzhou-13 carrying three Chinese astronauts to the country's soon to be completed space station called Tiangong or heavenly palace.

China has touted their space station as next generation, an alternative to the international space station. But the 15-country ISS (ph) has already been occupied for more than 20 years. The U.S. passed a law barring China from participating, leaving some experts to question --

DAVID BURBACH, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE: If we had brought China in to work with us on ISS, would China have felt as compelled to develop their own fully independent program as rapidly as they have?

CULVER (voice-over): It is Hollywood's portrayal coming to reality. Sandra Bullock's character in "Gravity" saved by a Chinese space station on her way back to earth.

Wang Yaping told us in 2015, it is her favorite film. She is one of three Chinese astronauts on this mission. The crew also includes a newcomer to space travel, 41-year-old Ye Guangfu, who took part in cave training with astronauts from five countries in 2016.

YE GUANGFU, CHINESE ASTRONAUT (through translator): I hope, one day, I can fly with other international astronauts into space and welcome them to visit China's space station.

CULVER (voice-over): But western astronauts will need to study up first. These operation interfaces are in Chinese. And China state media reports that European astronauts are already taking language courses so they can visit the Chinese space station.

Despite a late start in the space race, China is rapidly catching up. It has returned samples from the moon and, like the U.S., put a rover on Mars, all within the last year. It also got big plans for commercial ventures and for deep space exploration, including to build a base on the moon with Russia and send humans to Mars in the 2030s.


CULVER (voice-over): From launching billionaires to cosmic explorations, the U.S. is still leading with plenty of headline grab (ph) and launches and the long history of success putting 12 men on the moon.

But the more pressing challenge, prioritizing the multibillions in funding needed for the U.S. to hold on to that lead. Some experts believe the added competition from China might fuel more innovation.

BURBACH: If you are somebody who wants to see humans land on Mars and more scientific probes throughout the solar system, geopolitical competition is probably not the worst thing in the world.

CULVER (voice-over): While Captain Kirk is helping capture U.S. imagination to propel the U.S. forward in this tightening space race, China's three astronauts now embarking on a six-month mission, the country's longest yet to secure their footing out of this world.

David Culver, CNN, Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China.


NEWTON (on camera): Coming up for us, there could be new hope for an agreement Israel once called the worst-case scenario. Naftali Bennett's government is changing its tune on the Iran nuclear deal.


NEWTON: Israel is softening its opposition to restarting the Iran nuclear deal. Tehran revved up its nuclear capability after Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement. President Biden wants the deal back. He may be getting support from Israel's new leadership.

CNN's Hadas Gold has more.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, FORMER ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER: Before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear --

HADAS GOLD, CNN MEDIA AND GLOBAL BUSINESS REPORTER (voice-over): Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu credits himself with convincing former President Donald Trump to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Frankly, perhaps, most importantly, getting out of the terrible Iran nuclear deal.

GOLD: But now, the new Israeli leadership is changing the tone as the Biden administration hopes to return to a deal, even if the Americans believe it will be a long slog.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warning that in the three years since the U.S. pulled out, Iran is closer than ever to a nuclear bomb.

NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Unfortunately, in the past three years, the Iranians have made a huge jump forward in the uranium enrichment abilities. Iranian nuclear program is at its most advance stage ever.

GOLD (voice-over): Iran now enriching uranium up to 60%. Its stockpile of enriched uranium going up month by month. What's been seen as a tacit public criticism of what sources in the prime minister's office say out loud, it was a mistake for Netanyahu to press Trump to get out of the deal without a well-thought-out plan for how Israel follows up.

[02:30:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDET (voice over): Bennett's tone a significant departure from what he sounded like in 2015.

NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: The deal as we see it is worse than the worst case scenario that we had anticipated.

GOLD (voice over): Compared to this week.

BENNET: The world is sitting and waiting for a decision from Tehran whether to return or not to return to the discussion table in Vienna?

GOLD (voice over): Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz even more explicit, telling Foreign Policy Magazine, Israel would be willing to accept a return to a U.S. negotiated deal. Although they will want to see a U.S. Plan B in case talks fail, and will always reserve the right for military action. A message repeated by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Washington this week.

YAIR LAPID, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: Other options are going to be on the table if diplomacy fails.

GOLD (voice over): Get past the saber rattling though, and the shift in tone from Israel's government on the Iranian nuclear deal seems clear. They feel Trump and Netanyahu got it wrong. Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN HOST: Heavily armed troops are now patrolling the streets of Lebanon's Capital one day after six people died in street gun battles. Now it was Beirut's deadliest outbreak of violence in more than a decade. More than 30 people were hurt.

And while there is relative calm for the moment, many fear the country is again inching its way towards civil war now. There's so much that's at work here. Lebanon's economy has been on the ropes for years, half the population half now lives in poverty basic infrastructure is in poor shape and runaway inflation has made the currency nearly worthless.

Luna Safwan is a Freelance Journalist and joins us now from Istanbul. You know, you have been very vocal for months about the descent into chaos and, frankly despair for Lebanon and its people. Do you think what happened today is evidence that something worse could be on the horizon that civil war is again a risk.

LUNA SAFWAN, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: You know we always talk about civil war in Lebanon. And I was just reading this morning, this tweet by a psychologist by a Lebanese psychologist and psychotherapist about the subject of civil war, we always discuss the civil war in Lebanon as if it's something that someone could control.

And he was saying this from a psychological point of view, there's a lot of anger in Lebanon building up, people are tired, but also people have different political views have different political affiliation. Now, of course, not being able to sit on the same table and to have this hard conversation after the Beirut blast is leading to these events.

The events that happened yesterday, were based on a decision of and were based also on divisions of mentality where some entities don't want an investigation by a certain judge in Lebanon, while other entities in Lebanon, some of them who might be affiliated to certain political parties, and some of them who are actually not do want an investigation after everything that has happened in the country.

So I am certainly not optimistic when I observed that Lebanese are still unable to sit on the same table and to have these hard conversations, especially after the blast, especially after this entire crisis that has been happening. So it's not only something that you could predict, it's something that is happening every day, even if they're not shooting at one another.

NEWTON: Yes, it is such a good point about the polarization in that country. And perhaps it's gotten even worse, obviously, during the financial crisis over the last few years, many people, you know, have suffered through that and wondered about the political leadership and if it was even possible to really unite the country anymore.

But you make a good point. What people were living through yesterday in Beirut was, you know, semantics really, is it a civil war, isn't it? It certainly felt like it for those people. You know, you re- tweeted this from a mother in Beirut, she writes, we ran like crazy to pick the kids up from school sounds of gunfire persist.

We are staying in the corridor, the safest spot in our home and away from windows. Beirut now is similar to the Beirut of my childhood. I mean, it is a sad, sad photo. And yet what do you think it says about Lebanon's future?

SAFWAN: When you observe such clashes happening in this specific area between the - and Shia, which was an area of violence back in the Civil War, it was basically a crossroad that you could not cross easily. You could be sniper. You could be shot, you could be kidnapped.

And so these people, these mothers are reliving what they had lived years ago. This is trauma all over again for them. These tweets and these stories are a call for help because they don't want their children to live through the same. And I think it says a lot about the wounds that already exist in Lebanon and that not many managed to - manage to deal with or manage to heal even for these political entities that are fighting.


SAFWAN: We still have a lot of questions about yesterday that what happened was very similar to a warzone. We spoke to witnesses on the ground; we even spoke to our families and to people who have been through the Civil War. Everyone was sitting and they felt like they were on hold, waiting to see what would happen next. And how could this possibly be controlled?

Now, as always, and as you may have noticed, things got back to normal in Lebanon, even if it's between brackets, and suddenly, the clashes stopped, and no one really understood what exactly happened. And this is the problem with these kinds of clashes. They could escalate and become uncontrollable, or they can simply just, you know, de-escalate and thanks could come down suddenly.

NEWTON: Yes. Yes, you certainly see how the whole situation spiraled there. Luna Safwan, we will continue to watch with you. Appreciate your insights. And we will be right back with more news.


NEWTON: OK, so you'd be forgiven right? If you thought that a half shredded painting would be worthless. But experts guess this one would sell for up to $8 million and since it was created, of course by the mysterious street artist, Banksy. This is what made the auctioneer so jumping.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 16 million for the great iconic Banksy. Are they out? Thanking them anyway at 16 million pounds ladies gentlemen, we are selling the Banksy here at Sotheby's you will hear this fantastic moment at 16 million pounds. Alex is you coming in? I can't tell you how terrified I am to bring down this hammer. Just checking that everyone is accounted for we know who you all are. And selling ladies and gentlemen, for new world record the Banksy lovers in the - sold to 16 million.


NEWTON: Incredible the $25 million winning bid tops of previous work Banksy sold last year for 23 million. Now the girl with balloon was originally sold in 2018. But while it was being auctioned back then a hidden mechanism destroyed the original image. You'll remember that was quite a scene. Since then the tattered remnant has only gained more notoriety.

Now one of the biggest delights of the Dubai Expo is of course, this year it will feature the world's first African dining hall a celebration of what the continent has to offer. Bruneian Chef known as Chef Coco love that name is serving up a wealth of African flavors. He took CNN's Eleni Giokos on a tour.



ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Chef Coco, good to see you. How are you doing?

COCO REINARHZ, CHEF: Very well. Please welcome at Alkebulan really a pleasure to welcome you here.

GIOKOS (on camera): It smells amazing.

REINARHZ: Of course it smells Africa the whole place is about African food. It's a pavilion where we different chefs connect to showcase the beauty of the continent. Alkebulan means it's the original name of Africa. It was the way Africa was called before a Roman I think general or soldier decided that OK, now because my name is Africanus is going to be called Africa.

GIOKOS (on camera): So Alkebulan is basically going back to the original roots?

REINARHZ: Absolutely rooted original.

GIOKOS (on camera): Of what made Africa right? Why did you open an African food store pavilion at Expo? How did it come about?

REINARHZ: So two things. The Dubai Expo decided that there has to be something about African food OK. And the fact that it was in a hole where I will come and meet also other African chef, OK. I was like; this is exactly the slogan of Dubai 2020 which is connecting minds and creates the future.

GIOKOS (on camera): And connecting tummies.

REINARHZ: Exactly.

GIOKOS (on camera): How people responded to the food to the experience here?

REINARHZ: I am really amazed by the way we've been so busy like every day almost queues outside so people are really interested in learning something. There's something like this have never been done anywhere in the world and African food world a whole dedicated to African food.

GIOKOS (on camera): OK let's go take a seat. Expo is about showcasing it's about advertising countries. How do you think it's going to help your - you know, the marketing of your business and your food?

REINARHZ: Four African CEO Forum I've done to African Leadership Network at the World Economic Forum. But at the moment, nothing is bigger than Expo. Expo at the moment is the biggest stage in the world. There's nothing bigger happening in the world at the moment than Expo nothing.

GIOKOS (on camera): Thank you so much for your time.

REINARHZ: It was really a pleasure. And I look forward to welcome the whole of the world here in Alkebulan.

GIOKOS (on camera): And every time I must have I'm going to come have some food here.

REINARHZ: you're more than welcome.

GIOKOS (on camera): Cheers.


NEWTON: And we thank Eleni Giokos and Chef Coco for making us all hungry. I want to thank everyone here for joining us. I'm Paula Newton. "World Sport" is next.



REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): --democracy because they lie about the election that's contributing to violence.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Listen, as you know it's different to come on television. I'd say you're doing this. But then say you're working for the American people, you're doing this, but then nothing gets done and then it because people, quite frankly, most people don't know how the sausage is made, nor do they care.

They just want to see some action. They want to see results; they want their lives to be better. Democrats control the House, they control the Senate, and they control the White House. And yet, nothing's happening why?

SWALWELL: Don, so to the moderates, I would say, look, I understand your concerns about the price tag, but the Republicans are going to lie about you anyway. It doesn't matter what you do, they're going to say that you're for open borders, that you're a socialist that you want to defund the police. They're not honest.

So we might as well deliver in ways that matter for the American people. And to the progressives, I would say, look, wherever we come up short; let's tell the voters it's a down payment on what we can do when we get a bigger majority in 2022.

But again, we have to put this football in the end zone too many people are counting on us. And doing nothing is the surest way not just for us to be the minority, because who cares about politics is the surest way to lose a democracy that's on life support, right?

LEMON: Do you think when your colleagues wake up in the morning, and they get ready to go in and fight for whatever it is that they're fighting for? Do you think they're thinking I have to win this battle? Or do you think the first thing in their minds is we have to save the republic because that's the first thing we have to save our democracy.

That should be the first thing and not you know, I got to win this battle over this one issue where I got to get you know, a little bit more money on this. And nobody really cares about that. What they care about saving a democracy they care about, the restricting of voting rights, they care about reforming the police department, they care about the issues they voted on in 2020.

But we're now no longer in 2020, the rules have changed. And I always say, Congressmen Democrats read the room or they are you and your colleagues reading the room right now? Do you understand the urgency and the time that we are in right now? Are you just acting on, you know, some old idea of what politics in Washington should be like old idea meaning even from a year ago?

SWALWELL: I'm reading the room down and I see a showdowns coming. I see Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Bannon circling the Capitol with gasoline cans in their hands and dousing the place ready to drop the match. And if we're fighting ourselves over these numbers that only helps them.

So time to deliver and then tell the American people how dangerous they are. Because as I said, this is going to be a very, very close election, and they're going to lie about whom we are? They're an anti- majority party, and we have to show results, and then define who they are because if they're in the majority, they will do everything to take us to an authoritarian regime. They've tried it once with an incompetent president; they'll do much better next time.

LEMON: Let's talk about the reality of what's happening in the country. There's rising gas prices, supply chain issues, people quitting their jobs in record numbers. Is the president focusing enough on these kitchen table issues? Because we certainly know we hear from them every single day we know Americans are focused on them.

SWALWELL: Yes, Don. He's bringing in the private sector right now, especially on the ports to get 24/7 port operations going so that you can end the backlog there. As far as gas prices, one way to bring down gas prices also is to pass the infrastructure bill that invests in more resources of energy.

And by the way as to that labor shortage, when you have paid family leave for all when you have childcare tax credits, you allow more people in the workforce, more people to go back into the workforce. We're staying home right now. So this all it's not disconnected and that's why there's a real urgency here for us to get this done and deliver.

LEMON: Eric Swalwell Congressman, thank you very much. I appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks Don!

LEMON: All right. It's not even Halloween but the Fox propaganda network has already yelling about their newest war on Christmas starring this guy.



LEMON: Well, not even Halloween, not even Halloween. But the right wing anti-Biden media is already going after the president accusing him of being "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas". I guess this is a new war on Christmas. Here's CNN's Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Biden, who stole Christmas. BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Christmas has come early for the anti-Biden media.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: You'll get your Christmas presents next year.

STELTER (voice over): From the network that brought you the original war on Christmas.

HANNITY: Some far left folks want to diminish Judeo Christian tradition and renamed the Christmas tree, "The Holiday Tree"

STELTER (voice over): Comes as sequel inspired by the Commander in Chief.


STELTER (voice over): The GOP highlighting that line on social media as incredibly complex supply chain concerns exacerbated by a global pandemic being boiled down into a simple holiday tune.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We begin at the White House where the administration is trying to protect the president from being the "Grinch Who Stole Christmas".

STELTER (voice over): If that sounds familiar, it's because another host said the exact same words one hour early.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now to the White House with the administration tried to protect the president from being the "Grinch Who Stole Christmas".

STELTER (voice over): It's like an annoying Christmas carols stuck on repeat. Fox is repeating this notion of Biden ruining Christmas.

INGRAHAM: Grinch has nothing on these people. The fact is the Biden Administration has broken our economy.

STELTER (voice over): Laura Ingraham even showing cartoons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then he went up the chimney himself. And the last thing he took was the log for their fire.


STELTER (voice over): And on Newsmax the exact same theme. Just remember it's still the middle of October.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are now officially, the White House that stole Christmas.

STELTER (voice over): Marketers call this Christmas creep, putting out trees and toys earlier every year. Right wing media calls it content. They've been rerunning talking points the way Hallmark reruns holiday movies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe that's why Fauci "The Grinch" tried to cancel Christmas.

STELETR (voice over): But the same show on the same night also declares that there's a war on Halloween because a single Seattle elementary school called off a Halloween parade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You Mark my words Thanksgiving is next. Presidents Day is next. The Fourth of July is next. It's coming.

STELTER (voice over): So happy holiday's maybe Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.


LEMON: Very interesting. I remember - now let's just take you back in time. Last year, Postmaster General, right remember? Louis DeJoy issues with the post office. People weren't getting their gifts on time. What did the Fox propaganda network say about that?

Did they call the former president who was in power at the time "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" since it was his appointee who screwed it up? Just asking - just a question just asking Brian Stelter, thank you very much.

Here's our breaking news tonight. Former President Bill Clinton hospitalized he's an ICU but on the mend. We've got the latest right after this.