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Vladimir Putin Approves Weeklong Workplace Shutdown Amid Surge; Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro Defiant After Panel Calls For Charges; Pan American Health Organization: 41 Percent Of People In Latin America And Caribbean Are Now Fully Vaccinated; COVID Cases Soar In U.K. And Other Parts In Europe; Former "400 Mawozo" Captive Describes His Ordeal; U.S. Toy Shops Face Uncertain Supply Christmas Rush; Report: Facebook Plans To Change Its Name Next Week. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired October 21, 2021 - 00:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I'm John Vause.

Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, Europe's COVID crisis the only region in the world where new infections are surging, bringing back nationwide lockdowns, mask mandates and warnings healthcare systems are again under pressure.

Brazil Senate drops the homicide accusation against the president but insists his failed pandemic response mounts to a crime against humanity. Jair Bolsonaro says he is guilty of absolutely nothing.

And a social media behemoth by any other name is still toxic and dangerous if all it does is change its name. Details on plans to rebrand Facebook.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: For the third week now, new COVID infections are rising in Europe, more than a million confirmed cases were reported last week. And in some countries, hospital admissions and deaths are also slowly rising.

According to the WHO, everywhere else, COVID numbers have either plateaued or are declining. The uptick in the spread of the coronavirus across Europe is driven in part by a fall of vaccination rates and an end to mitigation efforts which are now being reintroduced in some countries.

A month long nationwide lockdown in effect right now in Latvia, a country once considered a COVID success.

Russia shutting down workplaces for a week.

And rising death toll in Romania has caused a shortage of coffins at funeral homes.

In the U.K., despite dire warnings from health professionals for the looming winter crisis. The British government has no plans to reimpose restrictions.


SAJID JAVID, BRITISH HEALTH SECRETARY: We're looking closely at the data. And we won't be implementing our plan B of contingency measures at this point. But we'll be staying vigilant preparing for all eventualities while strengthening our vital defenses that can help us fight back against this virus.


VAUSE: Russia is now dealing with the highest rate of COVID infection since the pandemic began, so to the death toll.

And the country which claims to develop the world's first COVID vaccine, well, many they are refusing to take it.

CNN's Sam Kiley has details.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Vladimir Putin the Russian president has thrown his weight behind government proposals to effectively enforce a national holiday on Russian workers from October the 30th through to November the seventh in a bid to try and avoid a nationwide lockdown in the strictest sense, but also reduce the levels of infections from COVID-19, which continue to climb on a daily basis. And those climbing figures are being matched by soaring numbers of dead in the last 24 hours. The latest reporting period 1,028 new victims dead from the virus.

Now, Vladimir Putin has regularly expressed his frustrations at the slow take up of the vaccine program here in Russia. This is what he said today

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Unfortunately, we see the dangerous consequences of the low level of vaccination in our country.

I repeat, once again, the vaccine really reduces the risks of illness or serious complications after an illness and the threat of death.

Therefore, of course, I support the proposals made by the government and draw the attention of the heads of the regions to the need to increase the rate of vaccination.

KILEY: Now, that frustration is no doubt driven by the fact that some 28 percent -- just over 28 percent of Russians have been vaccinated, they've taken the opportunity to take one of the four indigenously produced Russian vaccines, but more than two-thirds of the population have not been vaccinated and that is beginning to show in the death toll and the climbing infection figures as winter approaches.

Sam Kiley, CNN in Moscow.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Brazil's president has denied accusations he recklessly mismanaged the pandemic response as detailed in a Senate report which recommended criminal charges.

Jair Bolsonaro said the commission is not productive and that he's not guilty of any crimes. But the senators want to take the allegations to the International Criminal Court.

CNN's Shasta Darlington explains.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brazilian senators have recommended President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with 10 crimes including crimes against humanity, alleging it was his reckless mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Brazilians.

A Senate commission investigating the president officially presented their report on Wednesday. It accuses him of an epidemic resulting in death, charlatanism and crimes against humanity among other crimes.

More than 600,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Brazil, the second highest death toll in the world. After the report came out, Bolsonaro told the crowd of supporters that he wasn't guilty of any crimes and said the report produced nothing but hatred and resentment.


DARLINGTON: He said, we know we did the right thing from the first moment. The document produced after six months of testimonies and allegations, also recommends charging another 65 people of crimes including current and former health ministers, and three of Bolsonaro's sons.

It's not clear that the recommendation will actually lead to any criminal charges, however. The commission senators are expected to vote on the final report next week and if approved, the document will go to the Attorney General who's considered an ally of Bolsonaro.

Nonetheless, the inquiry has already taken a heavy toll on Bolsonaro. Live television coverage of the testimonies and accusations was watched closely by Brazilians who tuned into a daily as if it were a soap opera.

The investigation contributed to a sharp drop in Bolsonaro's approval rating, making his bid for re-election next year look increasingly difficult.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.


VAUSE: The Pan American Health Organization says more than 40 percent of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully vaccinated, and the region will soon receive another big shipment of vaccines from the COVAX program.

But we're told so far the distribution has been uneven and parts of the Caribbean are seeing a spike in new cases.

CNN's Rafael Romo has details


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Act locally, act smarter and act together, that's the message coming from Pan American Health Organization director Carissa Etienne regarding COVID-19 continuing efforts in Latin America.

During her weekly press briefing Wednesday, Etienne said that 41 percent of all residents in the region are now fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The problem she warned is that coverage hasn't been evenly distributed. She has regional leaders to maintain sanitary measures saying they should still be prioritized.

As for hotspots, the director said the situation is more severe in the Caribbean where two countries, the Dominican Republic and Barbados have reported increases of over 40 percent in the number of confirmed cases over the last week.

The good news according to Etienne is that 4.6 million COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX initiative will reach Latin America and the Caribbean by the end of the week.

And given that many people have spent months indoors and may have lowered defenses, Etienne also pointed out that the influenza vaccine is even more important now to prevent infections.

She said the Pan American Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are working together to implement a new protocol to detect both the flu and COVID-19 from the same sample.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Mexico City.


VAUSE: Dr. Scott Miscovich, is a National Consultant in the United States with COVID-19 Testing and President of Hawaii's Premier Medical Group. Welcome back, it's been a while.


VAUSE: I'm well, thank you, Sir.

Well, the Russia is not alone in dealing with this surging rate of infection of COVID infection. What we're seeing in the Czech Republic, mandates are back for face masks in public as well as other restrictions after deadly infections there doubled in the past week. And number of hospital admissions and deaths also increased.

Latvia, once the success story, now the first country in Europe about to head into a lockdown for a month and here's why, listen to the health minister.


DANIELS PAVLUTS, LATVIAN HEALTH MINISTER: Latvia is in first place in the world with this infection rate, we stand on the edge of the cliff. Also, on the edge of the cliff stands our hospital system. If we don't do anything or do not do enough, then shortly this would grow rapidly. Hundreds if not thousands of people would get ill and hospitalized.


VAUSE: It just all sounds very familiar. But is it fair to say the concern here is not so much due to the rising rate of infection, but the increase in the number of hospital admissions and the increase in the number of people dying, like what we're seeing in the Czech Republic?

MISCOVICH: Yes, John. I would say congratulations to Latvia for bold leadership, which is what needs to done -- to be done. And then you have Russia which is kind of just putting his toe in the water to see if it's warm, which as you know, I believe on the 30th, they're going to have a partial shutdown for non-essential workers and they are in the midst of a massive surge right now.

This is a problem that has happened across the world by leaders that do not understand where they are when you have a surge especially with a contagious variant like Delta.

What you're dealing with right now, the mortality rate is out there for 24 to 40 -- 27 days after you've been diagnosed. So, we're already projecting what the next week month will look like in those countries.

The only way you can solve that is to shut it down now, and Latvia did the right thing. Russia is going to have a very challenging next month to six months unless they do something a lot more bold.


VAUSE: Yes, it seems five days at home with pay is not going to cut it at this point.

The U.K. is also seeing rising daily infections. And here's the health minister on where this outbreak could be heading, listen to this.

MISCOVICH: Well, you know --


JAVID: Cases are rising. And yesterday, we reported 43,738 new cases across the U.K., up 16 percent from the previous week. And they could go yet as high as 100,000 a day.


VAUSE: Could be 100,000 a day and yet, the government there said no need to reimpose mitigation efforts right now, they'll remain vigilant, which is good for Harry Potter, constant vigilance, but crossing your fingers and hoping it doesn't get worse seems to be a winning strategy for, you know, to make sure that it gets worse.

MISCOVICH: Yes, and again, just -- what we just stated with Latvia who made a bold decision.

You know, the other problem we're having with the U.K. is they're starting to have a little rise of a modification of the Delta variant, which is the AY.4.2. It's the Delta variant that is now pushed up to be another 20 percent more infectious. And right now, it's closing on 10 percent.

So, from our perspective right now, the group gatherings, the mask enforcement, all of the things that the countries have been doing that are successful, need to be instituted now in the U.K., not waiting a week or two weeks, or a month, because again, we're going to have the same issue, the trend is up. If you don't put any mitigation in play, you're only going to see that arrow gets steeper and the deaths and the infections get higher.

VAUSE: You know, the reasons why have changed to some degree, you know, but the story is pandemic hasn't really changed. Every time there is some kind of relaxation or mitigation efforts or you know, easing off of restrictions, this virus finds a way back.

MISCOVICH: Yes, exactly. And, you know, I look at this as we're into this 18 months, there's only one way you're going to solve this disease, which is wearing masks effectively, social distancing, doing effective contact tracing, and having people stay away from indoor spaces.

So, what is Russia looking at right now? I checked today the temperature is, you know, in the 40s to 50. Winter is coming, people are going to be going indoors, same things happening in the U.K. and other areas in the Northern Hemisphere, we are going to see the disease spreading.

And look at Russia right now, what, a third of the population is vaccinated, they can have a very challenging winter.

I think most of us look at the U.K. and say it's a little bit perplexing because the vaccination rates are fairly reasonable. But what we do believe is the mitigation measures are not being followed and that's what the people of the United Kingdom have to do.

Remember, masks, indoors, and remember, mitigation helps.

VAUSE: Yes, it's a -- it's a one to deal, right? You got to have the vaccination. You got to have the mitigation. Otherwise, this thing is just going to continue.

Dr. Scott Miscovich, it's good to see you, it's been a while. Thank you very much.

MISCOVICH: Good to see you, John, take care.

VAUSE: Thank you.

The conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region appears to be escalating after another day of airstrikes on Wednesday. Black smoke blanketed parts of the regional capital Mekelle with weapons sites used by the Tigray People's Liberation Front, targeted according to the Ethiopian government. But the TPLF says residential areas were hit and civilians were hurt.

Reuters reports the government carried out a second strike about 80 kilometers away. A government spokesman said one targeted a military training center, as well as artillery depot.

North Korea is accusing the U.S. and the U.N. of tampering with a dangerous time bomb. That's in response to a Security Council meeting Wednesday to discuss Pyongyang's latest submarine launch missile test. Ireland, Estonia and France calling for strict enforcement of existing sanctions. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says Washington has not given up on diplomacy.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: These are unlawful activities. They are in violation of multiple Security Council resolutions, and they are unacceptable. Each new advancement of the DPRK's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs destabilizes the region and threatens international peace and security.


VAUSE: This launch and test of a hypersonic missile last month, if true would mean North Korea much bigger threat to the U.S. forces in the region as well as U.S. allies including South Korea and Japan.

Former captive of the criminal gang 400 Mawozo is describing what he endured after being kidnapped earlier this year in Haiti. That gang is now holding a group of mostly American missionaries hostage, demanding $17 million for their release.

CNN's Matt Rivers has more now reporting from Port-au-Prince.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Looking into the suburb of Croix-des- Bouquets where the abduction of 17 missionaries has stunned many around the world. But in Haiti, the event is not so shocking. Gang related kidnappings here carried out by gangs including 400 Mawozo are brutally common.


RIVERS: Something French priest Michelle Breyan (PH) knows firsthand. We met him in a church compound in Port-au-Prince, where he told us about the day that same gang took him and others back in April.

He says we had to go through Croix-des-Bouquets to get to a work event and on our way there, we were intercepted by young men with guns. The gang forced our driver to follow them. That's when I knew we were being kidnapped. I just kept calm.

They were taken to a more rural area. At first, forced to sleep outside on cardboard under a tree. Then they were moved to one abandoned house and then another in difficult conditions to say the least.

He says it was like a dark hole, like a prison cell the last place we were in with no windows.

At the beginning, they were giving us food once a day. But by the end, they stopped feeding us. They forced us to go hungry, he said. Believing it was a negotiation tactic.

A source in Haiti security forces tells us that he believes these 17 missionaries could be going through a very similar situation right now somewhere several miles down that road. Maybe even more difficult by the fact that five of them are children, with a youngest being just eight months old.

It remains impossible to know how long the 17 missionaries will remain captive inside whatever location the gang has placed them. For Father Breyan it was nearly three weeks in total.

He says the kidnappers play with time, they test the nerves of their victims, especially when they are negotiating, so the victims can't lose faith, they need to keep their hopes up. In our case, our faith was our best ally.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


VAUSE: Well, still to come, those global supply chain issues might just make it (INAUDIBLE) you may find that perfect gift even harder for these holidays. And this year, the advice is start that Christmas shopping a little early.

Also ahead, while Facebook under pressure from regulators around the world, it appears that companies are planning to change its name. Maybe no one will notice it. What's behind the rebrand, that's next.


VAUSE: 16 months of negotiations between the U.K. and New Zealand have ended with a free trade agreement. Part of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's attempts to move the U.K.'s economic focus away from the E.U. in a post-Brexit world, this deal will eliminate tariffs on goods between both countries and it's been praised by Mr. Johnson as well as the New Zealand Prime Minister (INAUDIBLE).


BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Its parts part of our -- of our vision in the U.K. as you know, Jacinda, to deepen our ties with the Indo-Pacific region, particularly with New Zealand. Our whole Indo- Pacific tilt is is in your direction. And we see this deal as a big, big part of that.


JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: So, I believe this is an agreement that we can both be rightly proud of. Unlike a rugby match, I think we can literally both come off the field feeling like winners in this occasion.


VAUSE: Trade between both countries valued at more than $3 billion last year and set to grow under this new trade deal.

It's looking like a grim Christmas in the United States, shoppers and retailers may not get the presents they want due to the supply chain crisis which is slamming the economy. It's now so bad prices are soaring and some suppliers are imposing surcharges.

CNN's Clare Sebastian has more now, reporting in from New York.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Staff at this New York City toy store had no idea they'd be getting this delivery of books and toys today or that all of the orders would be incomplete.

CHRISTINA CLARK, OWNER, "KIDDING AROUND" TOY STORE: We're placing orders every day constantly as many as we can think of. One of my bigger companies, I ordered a huge order in February, and it just shipped a couple of weeks ago. So, it's so hard to determine when and if things are going to come.

SEBASTIAN: The enticing displays here mask an unprecedented inventory problem. Many items running out.

CLARK: I have three of these, there's no more downstairs. I have three of these. There's no more downstairs.

SEBASTIAN: Others in oversupply.

CLARK: I've got about 20 times that in my basement.

SEBASTIAN: And behind the scenes.

CLARK: This is what my very messy office looks like with shipping out to be done and shipping into process.

SEBASTIAN: Christina Clark says she was warned by suppliers to stockpile ahead of the holidays. 85 percent of all toys sold in the U.S. are imported according to the Toy Association.

And right now, the ships that carry them mostly from Asia are stuck in a giant maritime traffic jam, the result of surging demand as economies recover and ongoing COVID related disruptions.

But it's not just a shipping crisis affecting the toy supply chain, there's also port congestion piling on and shortage of truck drivers to get them to their destination.

STEVE PASIERB, PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE TOY ASSOCIATION: The combination of online shopping, COVID shutdowns, resupplying things that were out of stock and the holidays together have all combined into what you know really is a crisis of shipping in a crisis of consumer products.

SEBASTIAN: And it's sending costs skyrocketing.

PASIERB: The average shipping container has gone from somewhere right around $3,000 to around $24,000 on the stock market.

SEBASTIAN: Christina Clark says many of her suppliers have raised prices twice this year, and some are now tacking on a shipping surcharge. Most of which she isn't passing on to her customers.

Financially, how is this affecting you?

CLARK: Well, I just have a lot of debt. I have a huge amount of debt and hope that it will be covered.

SEBASTIAN: Her message to customers, start your holiday shopping now. This will not be over by Christmas.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Facebook could soon have a new name with reports of a major rebranding set to be announced next week. According to The Verge, Facebook plans to put its family of apps under one umbrella name which may reflect plans to build a metaverse which Facebook says will combine virtual and augmented reality in a digital world.

Josh Constine is a Principal Investor and head of Content at venture capital firm SignalFire. He is also the former editor at large of TechCrunch and is with us this hour from San Francisco.

Josh, thank you for taking the time. Good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, so, after weeks of global outrage and anger at the health impacts, Instagram it's had especially on teenage girls in terms of suicide, and eating disorders, growing demands in many countries for Facebook to stop spreading racism, bigotry, and hate, as well as disinformation which is undermining the fabric of democratic institutions.

Mark Zuckerberg takeaway from all of this is we have a branding issue, we got to get a new name. CONSTINE: It seems like a little bit short of a decision not quite sufficient to really erase the enormous problems that you listed off, but it at least could help next generation of potential Facebook product users from aligning its toxic brand with the new types of features and metaphors worlds that it's trying to build.

VAUSE: How toxic though is the name Facebook right now in terms of brand identity?

CONSTINE: It's not only toxic, but a huge portion of people don't actually know that it owns Instagram and WhatsApp. And I think Facebook wants to keep it that way.

It's hoping to be able to remove some of that stigma, that stench that's come from Cambridge Analytica and the privacy scandals and allow it to rebrand and develop new products without that Facebook name.

If you remember that Facebook released a smart video to screen called Portal. And everyone loved it except for the fact that it was made by Facebook. And I think it took that note to saying we should really change the name at least.


VAUSE: You mentioned that this could also be about, you know, changing the focus of the country for the future, which we all about the metaverse which apparently is the idea is to create a space similar to the internet, where users via digital avatars can walk around and interact with one another in real time.

In theory, users could sit around at a virtual meeting table with remote colleagues, then walk over to a virtual Starbucks to meet up with a friend. They also do that in the real world.

Is this really as terrifying as it sounds? You know, social media, it already has such a, you know, huge disconnect from the real world. It seems the metaverse just takes that to the ultimate conclusion and closes the door completely.

CONSTINE: The internet is just getting more immersive over time, and we're going to have to accept that it's going to start to look more attractive than the real world to a lot of people.

And so, the idea of this metaverse is if the internet is for interconnecting 2D websites, the metaverse will interconnect 3D virtual worlds where your -- where you'll get to walk around as your own avatar, but also bring your identity and possessions and items with you, as if lots of the video games you might play today were all interconnected.

And I think that this could be a little bit scary if big corporations own tax and gate keep this space instead of independent players who truly want it to be a place for self-expression, where you can really make a second life for yourself, where you can be who you truly want to be. VAUSE: So, it is as terrifying as it sounds. There's a lot of speculation, a lot of, you know, suggestions on the internet about, you know, what the name of the company should be, my vote is for hot or not. But what do you think, what are they looking at in terms of just branding? What would the name actually sound like?

CONSTINE: You know, I think it'll probably be something that can be used as a verb, the same way that you might say, oh, Facebook me, or you know, that's the Instagram something. They'll probably look for a name that has that same verb ability.

And one potential option is Meta, Facebook actually already owns the website, and an anonymous internet giant has been buying up all the URLs similar to The same way Facebook has done for its own URLs, buying .net .co and any misspellings of Facebook.

So, that's one potential idea. But we've also heard that Mark Zuckerberg doesn't wants to shock and surprise people with something truly different. And just calling it Meta might seem like a kind of totalitarian approach to taking over the metaverse and claiming it as Facebook's own.

So, it might look for something a little bit more demure. And one option is Horizons, which is the new metaverse world that it's released.

VAUSE: OK, Horizons, interesting. Some have said this is very similar to the time when Google became Alphabet. How similar are these two --

CONSTINE: Most people don't remember that Alphabet was this new corporate name that Google released in a hopes of being able to disconnect some of its loss of your business units from the really big cash cows, like it's Google Search website.

And so, the idea here might be not that Facebook, the website, the blue app that you know is going to change its name, but the overarching corporate name will change. And that probably means that no one's going to stop calling it Facebook.

VAUSE: Despite what Mark Zuckerberg wants, OK, well, we'll see.

Hey, Josh, thank you so much. It's been great to have you with us. We really appreciate it.

CONSTINE: My pleasure. Enjoy the metaverse.

VAUSE: Thank you.

Well, it has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, yet Singapore reported more COVID deaths on Wednesday than ever before. We'll have a live report when we come back.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: We'll take a break. When we come back, keeping refugees out. Poland promising to build a wall along its border with Belarus.



VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

The Ethiopian Air Force now admits it carried out successful airstrikes against separatist installations in Mekelle, Tigray, on Monday, according to the state-run news agency. Earlier though, the government had previously denied the strikes took place, and said that Tigray's People's Liberation Front is crying wolf.

CNN's Larry Madowo has more.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERENATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Eyewitnesses tell CNN they saw these two airstrikes. They saw people scrambling for safety, and some reports say some people were killed.

But the TPLF says the Ethiopian government is once again attacking innocent civilians, which is against international law.

Coming up to the first anniversary of the start of this conflict, and it appears to have gotten worse. It has spilled over into the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara.

The international community has been calling for a cessation of hostilities, the investigations of any of the atrocities that have been reported, and access for humanitarian aid.

Larry Madowo, CNN, Nairobi.


VAUSE: Now to Eastern Europe, and a looming refugee crisis on the border between Poland and Belarus. The migrants actually don't want to stay in either country, simply a stop on the way.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has the story.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trapped and desperate between Belarus and Poland, refugees begging for passage to Germany. And while many are stopped, an increasing number are now making it to Germany to this refugee center in the town of Eisenhuttenstadt.

Seventeen-year-old Geno (ph) just arrived from Iraq via Belarus with her mother and sister and says Belarussian authorities even drove them to the border.

GINO, IRAQI REFUGEE: They put us in a truck, and then they took us to the other border. They cut it, and they told us to walk.

PLEITGEN (on camera): They cut the border. So there was a wire? They cut the wire?

GINO: Yes, they cut the wire.


(voice-over): The E.U. accuses strongman Alexander Lukashenko of state-organized human trafficking, luring refugees to Belarus and sending them across the border, a claim Lukashenko denies.

Poland says it has sealed its border with barbed wire and will even build a wall. Refugees are often trapped between the two sides for days, and shoved back and forth. This woman from Syria tells me the group she was part of slept under trees and ran out of food and water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five days later, we drink water from on floor -- on the floor. We didn't have anything.

PLEITGEN (on camera): You drank water from puddles?


PLEITGEN (voice-over): Few of the refugees stay in Poland. Most try to move on to Germany, the Brandenberg state government says. They also say they've gone from 200 new arrivals in all of August to almost 200 every day now.

OLAF JANSEN, BRANDENBERG IMMIGRATION AUTHORITY: We increase the capacity here, and we of course, also sped up all of the administrative procedures, without compromising security and health checks.

PLEITGEN: Poland says the situation at its border with Belarus remains tense, and the interior minister of the German state with the highest refugee influx tells me he wants the E.U. to get tougher on Lukashenko.

"It's a question of tough international diplomacy," he says. "We as Europe cannot allow Belarus to do something like this. From my point of view, we could also involve Russia. All diplomatic channels need to be used."

But few believe solutions will come quickly. Folks at this refugee shelter say they are already preparing for more arrivals, already clearing additional stakes.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Eisenhuttenstadt, Germany.


VAUSE: Police in Norway say five people killed in an attack last week, were stabbed to death, not shot with a bow and arrow, as initially thought.

Investigators say arrows were fired during the rampage, where at one point, the suspect allegedly abandoned the bow.

Four women and one man were killed. Three others were seriously hurt.

Police believe the suspect may have mental health issues and is being held in a psychiatric facility.

The leader of the military group Hezbollah says last week's violence in Beirut was dangerous and marks a turning point in Lebanese politics.

Seven people were killed in the worst street violence in over a decade. And it underscores growing sectarian differences amid the investigation into last year's Beirut port explosion.

We have more details from senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The chants, the flags are out again on Beirut's Martyr Square, to mark the second anniversary, the mass uprising against a political elite that has ruled, many say misruled Lebanon since the civil war.

But where two years ago, there were tens of thousands on this day, just a few hundred. The demands, however, haven't changed.

"We want our country back," says Abita Arigie (ph). "We want our rights. We want to live like everyone else."

And they want accountability for the catastrophes this country has suffered in recent years.

Siehel Azus (ph) lost his job as an interior designer. Now, he has the time to construct a model of the fate he hopes for Lebanon's politicians.

"What matters," he says, "is that people need to wake up and rise up, and arrest all the murderers and crooks to put them in an iron cage and set them on fire."

At dusk, they gathered near the city's port, a symbol of the fatal negligence and corruption, which has plagued Lebanon for decades. And the impunity of a ruling class that is yet to be brought to account.

(on camera): Two years ago, there was a sense that something with changing. But since then, the Lebanese economy has collapsed. The country has been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. There was an explosion in the Beirut port in August of 2020 that killed more than 200 people.

And most recently, there were clashes in Beirut, reminiscent of the Lebanese civil war. Whatever hope there was two years ago, much of it has faded.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Still to come here on CNN, Facebook may not be too thrilled with the current reality it's facing. So now it plans to build the virtual reality of the future, just ahead.



VAUSE: The torch-lighting ceremony in Greece for next year's Winter Olympics was disrupted briefly by human rights activists. They held up a banner which read "No Genocide Games," and they called for a boycott, all three of them.

But the ceremony went on. Police kept the activists away from the temple where the torch was lit. No word on charges being filed.

The Metaverse, it's an idea straight out of science fiction, but now Facebook would like to make it a reality. The tech giant says it plans to hire as many as 10,000 workers in Europe to build a massive new online world.

Fans of the Metaverse say it's the future of the company and are already embracing the idea, as well. But as CNN's Anna Stewart reports, Facebook could face an uphill battle with E.U. regulators.


ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This announcement from Facebook has prompted many around the world to question what is the Metaverse? Which sounds like something straight out of science fiction.

It's a vision for the future where users could interact online as avatars in a virtual world, with the aid of virtual and augmented reality, to bring the experience much closer to real life.

Some people have already their toes in the metaverse. Those who play multiplayer games, or attend virtual conferences using V.R. headsets.

But this could extend to having virtual homes, attending virtual concerts, and virtual shopping for all your virtual needs.

And Facebook isn't the only player that's investing in the space, with competition from game developers like Roblox and Epic Games. It's interesting, though, that Facebook has picked the E.U. for this big investment, a market that's not really considered all that friendly when it comes to U.S. tech companies.

The E.U. Commission has launched many antitrust probes on U.S. tech firms, including one on Facebook in June, which is ongoing. Ireland has fined WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned company, for breaching data privacy rules, something WhatsApp is appealing.

The E.U. Parliament has also invited Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen to speak next month. But by investing in the E.U. with 10,000 jobs. Facebook will make the E.U. much more invested in its future.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


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