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Health Experts Outrage of U.K.'s Inaction; Jair Bolsonaro Slammed Senate Investigations; India Vaccinated One Billion People; Monsoon Rain Killed 150 in Nepal and India; U.S. Still Want Diplomatic Talks with North Korea. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired October 21, 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 here on CNN Newsroom, health experts are slamming the British government calling their newest plan to tackle the pandemic incredibly concerning. We are live in London.

Deadly flooding in Southeast Asia, hundreds of people have evacuated their homes and dozens are dead. The latest forecast just ahead.

And the race to space, South Korea is set to make history by launching a special rocket into space.

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

CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

CHURCH: Well, we begin with new details of yet another surge of COVID cases in the U.K. Health care professionals are warning of a winter crisis as COVID infections soar but the British government isn't bringing back restrictions. The so-called plan b. Instead, they are planning to ramp up the vaccination program. Take a listen.


SAJID JAVID, BRITISH HEALTH SECRETARY: We are 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.


CHURCH (on camera): New COVID cases in the U.K. are now topping 40,000 a day. Cases are also rising in other parts of Europe amid dwindling vaccination rates.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins me live from London to talk more about this. So Fred, health experts are slamming the U.K. government over its lack of response to this soaring COVID cases. What is the latest on this?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they certainly are, and one of the things that you just said there, Rosemary, and we showed that graphic is that is that cases are topping 40,000 a day. And that's just not on single days. That is something that has been consistent in the past.

In fact, over the past seven days, the U.K. has been above 40,000 new daily cases every single day. And on Monday it was even 49,000. So certainly, the cases are going up. And it's quite interesting, because we saw that clip there of Sajid Javid, the health secretary at that press conference yesterday when he acknowledged that this was going on, and he acknowledge that things are most probably going to get worse. He says that this country could get up to 1000 cases per day in a not-too-distant future as of course the winter comes in.

Nevertheless, the government is saying it does not want to implement that plan b. And that has indeed led medical associations, and quite frankly, the NHS to slam the British government. The NHS is saying that they believe that a plan b should be initiated immediately.

And the British Medical Association they came out this morning, and they also slammed the government. I want to read you some of what they said. This is a quote from this morning. They said, quote, "the government has taken its foot off the brake giving the impression that the pandemic is behind us, and that life has returned to normal. It is willfully negligent of the Westminster government not to be taking any further action to reduce the spread of infection, such as mandatory mask wearing, physical distancing, and ventilation requirements, in high-risk settings particularly indoor crowded spaces."

And of course, we saw that sound bite there from the U.K. health secretary who said at this point in time, the government does not want to implement what it calls that plan b which would entail a lot of the things that the British Medical Association was outlining in that statement.

And in said, they do indeed want to vaccinate their way out of the situation, one of the things that the health secretary said is he said, look, they believe they're still ahead of the virus. They said it's a race between vaccines and the virus. They believe they're still ahead but they believe the gap is closing.

Several measures, as far as those vaccinations are concerned have been put on the table of course vaccinating as many people as possible who haven't got the vaccine yet but also booster shots as fast as possible for people who are eligible, and then also vaccinating at least with a single jab, younger children from the age of 12 as well, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, Fred Pleitgen bringing us the very latest live from London. Many thanks.

Well, Dr. Peter Drobac, infectious disease and global health expert at the University of Oxford joins me now from Oxford. Thank you doctor for talking with us.


CHURCH: So, as we just heard, COVID cases are soaring in the U.K. and the government is not taking action although they are going to rely pretty much entirely on ramping up vaccinations. So how dangerous is this with winter approaching. And what contingency measures should lead as we put in place at this time?


DROBAC: It's extremely troubling and really some shockingly out of touch comments that we heard from the health secretary yesterday about deaths being, what he called mercifully low when in fact we're seeing 1,000 people dying a day from COVID in the U.K. And hospital beds are about 90 percent full with COVID.

And so, we're seeing a tremendous amount of pressure on the NHS this is before winter hits, and we know things will get harder particularly on the health system as flu season comes. So, there's a whole bunch of factors that are coming together.

It's clear that once again we are in a situation where the government is moving too slowly, all the warning signs are there, and simply to say cases could go to 100,000 and we're not going to do anything about it is really out of touch.

There is a plan b, it's sensible, and there are things that are not very restrictive. We can all be doing right now. Face coverings indoors, vaccine passports for crowded indoor gatherings and nightclubs. And those kinds of things could be implemented right now. Vaccinations alone will not be enough to slow the spread of transmission at the stage.

CHURCH: Really, we're just so at the mercy of their leaders to make the right decisions. And sometimes, they just don't. And of course, it's worth pointing out this isn't just a problem in the U.K. COVID cases on the rise across Eastern Europe as well, what is going on? And what needs to happen in all of those locations, as well to control this?

DROBAC: Yes, again, there are a number of different things going on. One certainly maybe a certain amount of waning of protection of the vaccine as we get further out from the initial campaign. We saw this in Israel, which is really the first country in the world to do mass vaccination of its population.

And as you get to about six months out, particularly in those who are over 50, you do start to see some decrease in protection. And that coupled with the highly infectious Delta variant has meant that you still have cases start to rise. So that's part one.

Part two has been children and young adults with still very low rates of vaccination, who are unprotected, who can be than reservoirs of transmission continuing to churn the virus through the community. And so, efforts really need to be made to step up vaccinations in those age groups, apartheid that easing children, vaccine mandates can be a very effective way to encourage young adults to get vaccinated. And then finally, we need to take seriously the other public health measures we've all become so familiar with. We're not talking about lockdowns but we are talking about face coverings, distancing, ventilation, et cetera.

CHURCH: And doctor, Russia's COVID crisis is deepening with record infections and deaths. It's an overwhelmed health care system and a high level of vaccine skepticism plunging that country into its most deadly phase of the pandemic, with Moscow ordering all those over 60 and not vaccinated to stay home for four months.

How surprised are you that President Putin hasn't put more vaccine mandates in place? Instead using these pretty draconian lockdowns to take control of this, or at least try to.

DROBAC: Yes, it's very troubling to see what's happening in Russia, and it's almost, you know, it's almost a call back to what we are experiencing a year ago before we had vaccinations whereas cases rise, you're forced to implement measures like lockdowns. There's a tremendous amount of mistrust of vaccines in Russia.

For many reasons, but in part because Sputnik and the other vaccines in Russia have not yet received international authorization because the data have often not been released. And so, I think that's an issue that needs to be overcome. I can't see as to why, what the calculus was between lockdowns versus vaccine mandates. But clearly, extreme measures need to be taken with rates of hospitalizations and deaths as high as they are now.

CHURCH: Dr. Peter Drobac, always a pleasure to talk with you and get your perspective, many thanks.

DROBAC: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, just months after India was ravaged by a second wave of coronavirus, the country's health ministry now says it has administered one billion doses of COVID vaccine. It reached that milestone by giving eight million shots in a single day.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted he is congratulations to the nation calling it a triumph of Indian science, enterprise, and collective spirit.

And CNN's Vedika Sud joins us now live from New Delhi to talk more on this. And Vedika, it really is an incredible milestone, isn't it, after that deadly second wave. India ramping up its vaccination drive to reach one billion doses so far. So, talk to us about the plan going forward to get more shots in arms, because it's not over yet.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Well, it's a very encouraging figure indeed, Rosemary, but very quick point here. Two of them. Firstly, the Indian government is looking to fully vaccinate its entire adult population, which is by about 944 million people by the end of this year.

[03:10:06] Very quick statistics to help us understand where we're at right now currently in India. About 74 percent of the entire adult population has received one vaccine, while about 30 percent have released both.

So, you can see a huge difference in those numbers in the percentages really, and that's the first challenge before the Indian government if they're even looking to think about inoculating the entire adult population by the end of this year.

Another problem (AUDIO GAP) about 41 percent of the entire population is of those children. Those 18 and below the age of 18, they haven't even received a single dose yet. We're hoping that there will be a vaccine which will be rolled out in the coming months for children, but that is yet to start.

So, that's the other challenge that the Indian government is facing. Children have not received a vaccine yet, like it is in most other countries. The third challenge is again, the gap between those in urban centers and those in rural areas. When it comes to the urban centers about 34 percent of the population has received one vaccine, whereas in rural areas it's about 64 percent.

And the health ministry is of the opinion that there is a sizeable population that has not receive the second vaccine. They have written to states, they've reached out to states saying you really need to ramp up that number because we really want to get to that ambitious total of inoculating the entire population by year end.

But just another note here. When we talk about the vaccines and the supply of vaccines, which is really been ramped up over the months, especially after the second wave which India witness between March and May this year. It took India about seven months to inoculate five -- to administer 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. And the same amount of vaccines has been administered within the next three months from August to October.

So, it's pretty clear that the supply has really gone up from before which is again very encouraging. But there are so many challenges ahead for the Indian government to look at. And to ensure that there is an encouraging number they can report about by the end of this year. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. Incredible nonetheless. Vedika Sud joining us live from New Delhi. Many thanks.

Well, Brazil's president is lashing out at the Senate panel that accused him of recklessly mismanaging the pandemic, saying he's not guilty and their report was a big waste of time. The Senate commission investigating Jair Bolsonaro, is recommending he faced 10 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity.

Three of President Bolsonaro sons are also among the accused along with some 60 current and former government officials.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAIR BOLSONARO, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): We know that we are guilty of absolutely nothing. We know that we did the right thing from the first moment. It took up the time of our health minister, public employees, humble people, and businessman. They have produced nothing but hatred and resentment among some of us.


CHURCH (on camera): Senators are scheduled to vote on the final report next week, if approved, it will go to the attorney general. But he is considered a Bolsonaro ally. So, it's unclear if the allegations will go anywhere. The investigation has hurt the president's approval rating and is a major setback for his bid for reelection next year.

A helicopter came to the rescue as heavy flooding swamp parts of India and Nepal, killing at least 150 people. India's air force posted this video showing a helicopter pulling out people stranded by floods in Uttarakhand state. More than half of the victims were in Nepal, where dozens more are injured and missing.

Record flooding has also washed away homes and bridges on both sides of the border.

And Derek Van Dam joins us now with the weather forecast for the area, and for the rest of the day. So, Derek, what are you seeing?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Rosemary, first of all that video is absolutely astounding and some of the images that we're seeing coming on the region. Northern India wow, just this rain is so intense and it's washing away bridges. You can also see some of the mountainous terrain here. This is an important part of the narrative of the story.

Let me explain why. Basically, we have a phenomenon take place that's called orographically lifting. Think of this mountain range that you see behind me in the graphic behind me as a movable surface, like a wall, for instance. So, if you were to take a very wet sponge and push that against the movable surface, mountain or the wall, it's going to remove all of that water.


So that's basically what's happening. We are getting this air that's force to rise up and over this mountain terrain, and it allows for cool and condensing to take place, eventually ringing out that sponge. And it is going to allow for that heavy rainfall to occur.

And of course, the elevation gains within this area, the mountainous region the terrain, that just exacerbates the problem. It allows for the water to pool of and funnel down the canyons and the ravines leaving to flash flooding as you saw.

Some of these impressive rainfall totals just get a look at this over 400 millimeters in some of those northern states of India. There is some light at the end of the tunnel though. The southwest monsoon is slowly starting to retreat across the Indian subcontinent. You can see on this water vapor satellite imagery. That shading of brown that's drier air.

Still the monsoonal moisture present across the sudden portions of the Indian subcontinent right where it should be this time of year or just a little bit behind, I should say, there's a current withdrawal position and the precipitation is going to be heaviest across the southern portions of the country.

That is where the India meteorological department has alerts for this particular area for the potential of heavy rain so that you need to be on the lookout for that. Rainfall totals into the Kerala Strait could -- state could equal 100 millimeters within the next three days. (Inaudible) flooding possible there but in terms of the precipitation across Nepal and northern India, still some hefty showers there, but it will start to slowly come to an end as the monsoon retreats. Back to you.

CHURCH: All right. We appreciate you giving your close eye on that. Derek Van Dam, many thanks.

Well despite increased commitments from world leaders to combat climate change a new U.N. report has found many countries are planning to actually ramp up fossil fuel production. It says over the next decade governments will produce more than double the amount of energy from oil, gas, and coal than would be needed to limit global warming.

The report comes as a new study from the Lancet Medical Journal warns the health effects of climate change are expected to get worse in the coming years.

Time for a short break. Just ahead, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations condemns North Korea's latest missile test, drawing a fiery response from Pyongyang.

And later a former captive of the 400 Mawozo gang in Haiti speaks out about his ordeal. And what the 17 missionaries now held by the same group may be facing.


CHURCH (on camera): 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 launched missile test.


Ireland, Estonia and France are calling for a strict enforcement of existing sanctions against the North. And the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says Washington hasn't 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.


CHURCH (on camera): North Korea watchers call the latest missile test called a step forward, but not an immediate threat without some upgrades to Pyongyang's aging fleet of submarines.

CNN's Ripley has our report.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Somewhere North Korea a missile rises from the water. The images deliberately menacing and deliberately vague. State media shows a submarine part of an aging fleet, the same vessel used in 2016 to test North Korea's first submarine launched ballistic missile.

ADAM MOUNT, SENIOR FELLOW, FEDERATION OF AMERICAN STUDIES: Their submarine technology lags far behind U.S. capabilities, but also South Korea capabilities. So, in order for the system to be a real operational threat, they have to demonstrate the ability to keep those submarine safe.

RIPLEY: Keep them safe for more advanced militaries, which state-of- the-art submarines more than a match for the North's noisy diesel electric fleet.

MOUNT: These platforms have to survive until they are able to launch. And where the U.S. and South Korea have extremely capable anti- submarine warfare capabilities, with our own submarines, with aircraft --

RIPLEY: The test triggering an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. There is not much the council can do, experts say. North Korea is already smothered in sanctions over its nuclear program.

BONG YOUNG-SHIK, RESEARCH FELLOW, YONSEI UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN STUDIES: North Korea can maintain high leverage from the Biden administration in any potential negotiations on denuclearization.

RIPLEY: The Biden team continues to offer talks without preconditions. North Korea continues to reject the so-called lies of its arch enemy. Former President Trump's diplomatic efforts failed, just like all the previous presidents who tried. Biden, faces perhaps the most dangerous North Korea ever. North Korea fired dismissal in 2019 from an underwater platform.

If the North now has a ballistic missile capable sub, and that's a big if, experts say, it could bypass missile defense systems in South Korea and Japan making the North Korean military a bigger threat. A goal of Kim Jong-un who gave the speech in January.

KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KORAN LEADER (through translator): We must further strengthen the nuclear war deterrent while doing our best to build up the most powerful military strength.

RIPLEY: Last month, North Korea claimed to test a hypersonic missile that could theoretically fly from Pyongyang to Washington in less than two hours. Likely still in the early stages, experts warn it could eventually make modern missile defenses obsolete.

YOUNG-SHIK: Now the targets are not mainly the United States, but South Korea and Japan, and U.S. forces stationing in those nation allies as main targets for North Korea short range nuclear missile threats.

RIPLEY: And now, perhaps a new weapon in Kim's growing arsenal.

Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


CHURCH: So, let's head now to Seoul South Korea, and John Delury, professor at Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So, let's start with that smaller ballistic missile that North Korea test fired on Tuesday, and that's basically triggered all of this. Some experts suggest it doesn't pose an immediate threat; do you agree with that assessment?

DELURY: I think that's probably right, the problem is that we've seen a real change over the last couple of months where it's not anyone isolated test, but North Korea does appear to have gone back to the, you know, older pattern, and at this point it's on one of those ramps where we're seeing more and more tests and new kinds of technologies.

So, I don't think it's a problem in the immediate sense, but the pattern is certainly unnerving to see that they've really resumed that kind of robust testing regime that we saw, you know, of course back in 2017.

CHURCH: And of course, was that missile launch as we mentioned that triggered Wednesday's emergency U.N. Security Council meeting where the U.S. again offered to meet North Korea without preconditions, and made clear the U.S. has no hostile intent toward Pyongyang. Saying, it's time to engage in sustained and substantive dialogue toward the goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.


But North Korea has previously rejected that, and wasn't happy with that on Wednesday either. And we saw diplomatic talks under former President Trump fail, so is there any hope for diplomatic solution here.

DELURY: Well, you know, the only hope in the long run is for diplomatic solutions. I think that the Americans, the Biden administration are trying to thread a needle right now. If we parse the language out of the U.N. Security Council, on the one hand it's kind of the standard language about DPRK being unlawful and its activities and violating the existing resolutions.

On the other hand, as you mentioned, there was a pretty deliberate emphasis on the willingness to talk, that there's no hostile intent. And also, from what I saw at the U.N. that the U.S. ambassador said well we don't need more sanctions at this point, we need to implement, enforce the ones we have.

That issue of enforcement kicks it over to China and Russia, and of course, the story there is for some time China and Russia have been quietly lobbying for sanctions relief, and seeing that as the way to actually remove some of the logjam and gets talks going back with the North Koreans.

So, I mean, we are seeing these things come to a head at the U.N. Security Council. Again, the only way forward is to get back into negotiations. And I think at some point the Biden administration will get there, but it's tough to get the door open the North Koreans for the moment I think are focused on testing their toys and making progress on that side.

CHURCH: Right. And you mention that because, professor, you posted a tweet Wednesday, that was attached to an article on both North and South Korean showcasing weapons technology despite attempts for these talks. And you said this. Am I the only one losing track of which Korea is testing showing up what new weapon?

What are -- what are we to make of this weapons race on the Korean peninsula at a time when there is this push for diplomacy?

DELURY: Well, it's dizzying because, I mean, here in South Korea, for example, in a couple of hours we're waiting for a space vehicle launch, which of course if the North Koreans launched a space vehicle it would be considered, you know, something that you would probably go to the U.N. Security Council in terms of dual use.

And South Korea has been really making great strides in terms of defense development and what they call military modernization with also submarine launched ballistic missiles and a whole slew of advanced technologies.

And meanwhile, that's just the two Koreas. You know, we're getting reports of maybe multiple hypersonic glide vehicle test by China recently which Russia has also been doing. And of course, we had the American U.K. subdual in Australia.

So, sitting here in Seoul it feels like there's a bit of a frenzy right now where everyone is arming up. And it's not only the North Koreans, although they are the ones who are in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

But on the one hand, people are talking about wanting to get back to negotiations. On the other hand, if you look at the big powers you don't see movement towards arm control -- arms control. And if you look at the two Koreas, again, South Korea is moving just as quickly as North Korea, only minus their nuclear weapons piece of it.

CHURCH: Yes. John Delury, many thanks for joining us from Seoul. I appreciate it.

DELURY: Good to be with you.

CHURCH: And still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, more trouble for the Chinese real estate giant Evergrande, why they've called off a multibillion-dollar deal with the rival develop. We'll take a look.

Plus, global supply chain issues could mean fewer presence under the Christmas tree. Why experts say you may need to get a head start on holiday shopping. That's ahead.

Back in a moment.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Singapore has reported its highest one-day COVID death toll since the pandemic began, despite 84 percent of the population being fully vaccinated. The government says, COVID restrictions will be extended for another month.

And journalist, Manisha Tank, is following this for us in Singapore. She joins us now live. Good to see you, Manisha.

So, 84 percent of people fully vaccinated and yet recording a number of deaths, a record number, right, of deaths Wednesday. So, talk to us about what is going on here.

MANISHA TANK, JOURNALIST (on camera): Well, this is basically the impact of having a COVID policy that is one of normalization. Saying we've decided to live with COVID and these will be some of the numbers that we will have to live with. We've seen cases here particularly the Delta variant surging in recent weeks. So there are indication from the ministry of health according to the statistics that they're now seeing, the data that they are seeing that that number could be plateauing.

But yes, you're right, a record number of deaths due to complications from COVID-19, 18 to be precise. And I think, also what's quite interesting is the context, nine of those people were vaccinated, eight were unvaccinated, and one was partially vaccinated. But all of them had underlying medical conditions or health issues, one kind or another. They were also age 55 to 96.

So Singapore is extending the restrictions that it put in place a couple of weeks ago, this includes restricting outdoor dining, for example, in -dining in restaurants, to groups of just two, amongst the number of restrictions. Mask wearing is mandatory here. All of this is going to be extended for another month, despite the fact that we have some major public holidays coming our way.

And the government has said, we will keep on reviewing this every two weeks, but this is the kind of thing you get when you are living with COVID. What Singapore is doing is encouraging people to keep on getting tested, to test themselves, they've also announced that is going to be sending test kits out to Singaporean households to encourage that to happen.

And it's worth pointing out that a vast number of cases that have been reported here in Singapore are people recuperating at home and they're not having to go into hospital or be hospitalized. But still, of course, Rosemary, it doesn't take away from the sadness those families must be feeling to have lost their loved ones.

On a slightly different note, before I hand it back to you, I did want to mention that this week also, travel lanes, vaccinated travel lanes have opened up with eight more countries and this follows up on a recent experiment that happened with Germany and the United States is on that list, and much the happiness that there are a number of U.S. expats over here, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yeah. Absolutely, Manisha Tank joining us live from Singapore, many thanks.

Well, Evergrande stock is falling in Hong Kong after a multi-billion dollar deal for a stock in its property management unit fell through. The Chinese real estate giant is struggling to restructure a $300 billion mountain of debt. The company's stock has plunged about 80 percent this year. Evergrande is trying to sell off a number of its assets including a partial stock in its electric vehicle and an office tower in Hong Kong.

So let's turn to CNN's Selina Wang, she joins us live from Tokyo with more on this. Selina, what is going on here and what is the future for this company.

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Rosemary, this deal falling through is a big blow to Evergrande. We saw shares fall as much as 14 percent after shares resumed trading. They had been halted for three weeks as investors were waiting for HAPS and Development (ph), which is another Chinese real-estate firm to buy 51 percent state in its real -- in its property services unit for about $2.6 billion dollars.


Now, we know that the deal has now fallen apart that they were unable to agree to the terms of the deal. But now this has fallen through with that much needed cash injection. The big question, Rosemary is what happens next? How is Evergrande going to sort through its mountain of $300 billion worth of liabilities? We are just days away from this dollar bond deadline that could take tip this company into default.

As you said, Evergrande has been trying to find buyers for its assets but so far it has been unsuccessful. Now, when I talk to analysts about what might happen they say that they expect Beijing to find a way to save this company while making it look like the private sector actually did it. Even though Beijing was working behind the scenes. And because the stakes here are just so high for Beijing, this has

become one of the biggest risks to China's economy, it has set panic throughout the global financial markets. There's also fears of contagion throughout China's property sector which settle other property developers. Now, also indicating they are struggling to pay off their debts.

And Rosemary, what happens to China's property sector is crucial for China. The property sector has supercharged China's economic growth for the past several decades. It's now accounting about 30 percent as much as 30 percent of China's GDP. And about three quarters of household wealth in China is tied up in property.

But Beijing here is in a tricky position. It wants to prevent a complete collapse while also sending a warning signal to other property developers that have also been driven by this very, very vast amount of debts. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Selina Wang, joining us live from Tokyo, many thanks.

Well it could be a gloomy Christmas in the United States. Shoppers and retailers may not get the presents they want due to the supply chain crisis slamming the economy. It's so bad prices are soaring and some suppliers are even imposing surcharges.

CNN's Clare Sebastian visited one store which is just trying to survive.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN 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 -- huge order in February and it just ships 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 over supply.

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 in to processed.

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

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

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

SEBASTIAN: And its sending cost 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 attacking on shipping surcharge. Most of which she is in pausing onto your customers.

Financially how is this affecting you?

CLARK: Oh, you just have a lot of that. I have a huge amount of debt and hope. 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.


CHURCH: A deadly conflict is intensifying. Coming up, details of another round of airstrikes in Ethiopia's Tigray region.



CHURCH: What appears to be human remains have been found in a Florida wilderness area where authorities have been searching for Brian Laundrie. The fiance of Gabby Petito disappeared 37 days ago. His parents were reportedly the last to see him. The family's attorney says it's very likely the remains are Laundries.


Earlier today investigators found what appears to be human remains, along with personal items such as a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: Petito and Laundrie were traveling in the Western U.S. when

their social media post abruptly stopped in late August. Petito's body was found in a national forest in Wyoming last month. The Coroner said she was strangled. Laundrie has not been charged in her death but he is charged with unauthorized use of her debit card.

A 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 and demanding $17 million for their release.

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


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Looking into the suburb of Croix-des-Bouquets with the abduction of 17 missionaries has stunned spent 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.

Something French priest, Michel Bryan 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 have to go through Croix-des-bouquets to get to our work and our own 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 weren't giving us foods once a day but by the end they stop 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 the 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 the youngest being just eight-months-old.


It remains impossible to know how long the 17 missionaries will remain captive inside, whatever location they gang has placed them. For father Brian, 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. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: The conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region is escalating with another day of airstrikes Wednesday. Black smoke blanketed parts of the regional capital Mekelle. The government said the strikes targeted weapons sites used by the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front. But the TPLF said the strike hit residential areas and injured civilians. Reuters reports, the government also carried out a second strike, about 80 kilometers away.

And our David McKenzie is in Johannesburg, he's been monitoring this story and he joins us now live. So, David what more are you learning about Ethiopia's air strikes in the Tigray region.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Rosemary, this is a significant escalation. And you'll remember that there has been relative calm in Mekelle, the capital of Tigray since mid this year when the TPLF, to the surprise of the government took over that regional capital. But this shows that the Ethiopian forces are looking to strike back, there were airstrikes, acrid smoke rising from the capital in footage obtained by CNN.

A witness told CNN that this did strike near an industrial area but also damage some civilian buildings. The TPLF for their part saying it hit a residential area. It follows those dramatic air strikes on Monday, where the U.N. says at least three children were killed.

Because of the insecurity, the United Nations said, they've dispatched at least 100 people out of the zone and this comes as the humanitarian situation in Tigray, Rosemary, continues to deteriorate more than 5 million people need assistance and there are pockets of famine developing because of a lack of aid access.

You'll remember also that in late September, several senior U.N. members were kicked out of the country by the Ethiopian government. So it appears this is perhaps the first salvo in a major fight back in this conflict that has lasted since late last year. Rosemary.

CHURCH: So what is the likely next move here? What is the international community need to be doing? And of course, you mention that humanitarian crisis. I mean, there needs to be some action here.

MCKENZIE: Well, there has been a lot of talk and a lot of attempts by the international community including the U.S. government and others to pressure Prime Minister Abe to reduce the tension and move to talks. That hasn't happened.

And as I said there are indications of a major fight back or real offensive by Ethiopian forces. While Tigray itself and the capital certainly has been calmer because of the TPLF being in charge there. There has been fighting in other regions of Ethiopia and this both conflict and humanitarian crisis sees no signs of abating, as people basically starve because of the lack of access. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Just horrifying. David McKenzie, joining us live from Johannesburg, many thanks. And still to come, the minutes are ticking down until South Korea test

its first rocket made entirely in country. We're live in Seoul with a preview of the historic launch.



CHURCH: South Korea's planned test launch of its first domestically produced rocket is now just minutes away. The Nuri or World Rocket is considered a major step for the country's space program, if successful it will put a dummy satellite weighing more than a ton into orbit.

And CNN's Paula Hancocks, joins us live from Seoul. She's been following the latest developments. And Paula, this is historic, what are you learning?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Rosemary, this certainly would push that space program forward for South Korea if it is a successful launch. So, we should be seeing lift-off in about 10 minutes according to officials. And what they would consider a success is, if this did actually launch 600 to 800 kilometers away from the earth.

So, if this rocket carrying that satellite dummy made it into orbit, now, if that in fact happens South Korea would be just the seventh country in the world too have managed to do that with a 100 percent domestically produced rocket.

It has done it in the past, back in 2013. It managed to launch one of these rockets with a space vehicle but that did have some Russian input into it, part of the rocket was built elsewhere. And so what South Korea has been trying to do now for some 12 years, costing about $1.6 billion is to be able to have this rockets domestically produced and to put a satellite into space.

Now as I say, it would be a dummy satellite this time around. If it is successful, May of next year is when South Korea will then try and put a satellite into space. It has had other satellites put into place, but always on soil overseas, never within South Korea itself or with just South Korean manufactured and produced rockets. So certainly it would be a significant moment for the country. We just put a lot of focus on its space program in recent years, Rosemary?

CHURCH: Right. Less than 10 minutes away now from that historic launch. Paula Hancocks, joining us live from Seoul, keeping an eye on all of that. I appreciate it.

Well, the space race is expanding as more countries aim for the great unknown. Along with new players has come a renewed effort at collaboration as some countries realize they can make it to the stars quicker by working together.

CNN's Isa Soares has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Lifting off from their

satellite launch center in the Gobi Desert, China rocketed three astronauts towards the country's new space station. The crew will now live and work there for 183 days. It's China's longest mission yet and a major step in the country's young space program, quickly becoming one of the world's most advanced.

Though China arrived late to space exploration, the government has been investing billions of dollars in its advancement. In the past three years, Chinese missions have brought rock samples from the moon back to earth for the first time in 40 years. Successfully landed an exploratory rover on the far side of the moon and then one on Mars.

There were only the second country to do so. The United States unsurprisingly came first. But America's cosmological dominance could soon be challenged by China, as well as, others space ambitious nations. As its space program expands, the United Arab Emirates also reached Mars earlier this year, though their mission didn't touch the surface. The UAE scientific satellite began orbiting the red planet in February. The country also plans to send an uncrew spacecraft to the moon in 2024.

India hopes to do the same later this year or in 2022. After a failed attempt in 2019, the country has been inching towards a new date for the unmanned lunar landing.

India's Prime Minister is also encouraging the private sector to help the country's space ambitions. Following the U.S. in a pivot towards commercializing space. Another with lunar ambitions is the European Space Agency which is working to develop a moon lander. The ESA also has probes currently exploring the solar system.


Still a player in space, Russia is planning a collaborative asteroid mission, joining forces with China for a robotic probe set for 2024. They are also hoping to launch an automatic lunar station in July of next year.

And in a first, both the space and cinema, a Russian film crew returned to earth Sunday after shooting scenes on the International Space Station for the first ever movie, partly filmed in space.

As a whole, however, Russia Space Program has dwindled from decades ago, when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into space. In the meantime Russia's former space rival has grown more ambitious. (Inaudible) has sent five rovers to explore the surface of Mars, just launched a 12-year mission to explore asteroids and says it will soon land the first woman and first person of color on the moon.

As advancements unfold, the space race is much changed from its former standoff era. Now mixing contest with collaboration. Take a look on the crew on the International Space Station, astronauts from the United States, Japan, Belarus, France, and Russia, high above geopolitics, a truly international cooperation at the helm of humanity's next frontier. Isa Soares, CNN.


CHURCH: Queen Elizabeth is resting for the next few days at Windsor Castle on her doctor's advice. She reluctantly canceled a planned trip to Northern Island. The palace said the 95-year-old is in good spirits and a source told CNN this is not COVID related. The queen hosted a reception Tuesday night with business leaders including Bill Gates. She still expected to attend the COP-26 Climate Conference in Scotland later this month.

I'm Rosemary Church, thanks for spending part of your day with me. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Isa Soares.