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Panel To Evaluate Use Of Pfizer Vaccine In Kids 5-11; Alec Baldwin Fires Prop Gun On Movie Set, Kills Cinematographer, Wounds Director; White House Walks Back Biden's Remarks On Taiwan; Biden Administration Close To Deal With Pakistan For Military Operations In Afghanistan; E.U. Chief: No Funds For Belarus Border Wall; NBA Player's Second Post Slamming Chinese President; F1's Lewis Hamilton Launches Mission 44 Foundation. Aired 2-2:45a ET
Aired October 23, 2021 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A warm welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Paula Newton. Coming up, the 9-1-1 call and details from a search warrant. Questions grow over how Alec Baldwin and killed someone with a prop gun on set.
A French priest, corrupted by a notorious Haitian gang, telling CNN, what life might be like for 17 missionaries, now, under their control.
Plus one-on-one, with Lewis Hamilton, as the 7-time world drivers champion, set to race in this weekend's U.S. Grand Prix.
NEWTON: In the U.S. state of New Mexico, they're trying to determine how a prop gun Alec Baldwin fired on the set of his latest movie killed the film's cinematographer and injured its director. Newly- released 9-1-1 audio, shedding more light on the frantic moments, after that shooting.
In a search warrant, it is now revealing a assistant director handed Baldwin a prop gun that had been set up an armorer. But then he said cold gun, meaning, it did not have live rounds.
Now the actor fired it, while rehearsing a scene. The person who swore the affidavit says the assistant director did not know It had live rounds at the time. The "L.A. Times" has reported several crew members had quit the production, due to safety concerns, including gun safety protocols. Nick Watt has more.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've had two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun. We need help immediately.
(END AUDIO CLIP) NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the set. The director, Joel Souza, was injured. The director of photography, Halyna Hutchins was killed.
Two individuals were shot on the set of "Rust," according to the Santa Fe, New Mexico, sheriff's office, when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin.
Baldwin distraught in the sheriff's parking lot after questioning. The investigation remains open and active; no charges have been filed. A prop firearm should shoot only blanks.
BEN SIMMONS, CO-FOUNDER, BARE ARMS LTD: With a blank round, you have everything that you would normally have in a real round but you don't have the bullet on the end of it so that, when it fires, you do get the flash.
You do you get the bang, you get the recoil, you get the explosion but you don't get the bullet flying out the end of the gun. And it doesn't mean that blank rounds are safe.
WATT (voice-over): Hutchins posted this video the day before she died, horse riding on a day off.
"One of the perks of shooting a Western," she wrote.
Born in Ukraine, Hutchins started out as a journalist, then moved to the U.S. to study and work in the movies, named a rising star in 2019 by "American Cinematographer" magazine. She was 42.
JIM HEMPHILL, FILMMAKER AND JOURNALIST: She kind of brought that eye that she had from documentaries and nonfiction filmmaking to, again, action movies and horror movies. So they had this sort of immediacy and realism, as well as this eye beauty that she had. And it was a really unique look.
WATT (voice-over): A death on set like this rare but not unique. Brandon Lee was shot and killed on the set of "The Crow" in '93. A blank was fired but dislodged part of a live round stuck in the barrel.
In '84, on the set of the show "Cover Up," actor Jon-Erik Hexum jokingly put a prop gun to his head and pulled the trigger. The pressure and wadding from the blank killed him.
"Rust," starring and produced by Baldwin, hinges on the accidental killing of a rancher in 1880s Kansas.
This morning, Baldwin tweeted, "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness. I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred. My heart is broken for her husband, their son and all who knew and loved Halyna."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NEWTON: Steve Wolf is a theatrical firearm safety expert and he joins me now.
We will try to rewind on all of this.
But just so we explain how this happened, what is a prop gun?
Is it a real gun?
How could it possibly kill someone?
NEWTON: Does it mean that it must have had live ammunition it?
STEVE WOLF, THEATRICAL FIREARMS SAFETY EXPERT: So the definition, in Hollywood, of a prop, is anything that a actor touches. If I touch my cell phone on camera, it is now a prop phone.
This is different, when it comes to firearms. If I touch any gun, then that just became a prop.
But a "prop gun," in quotes, per se, is a gun that's been modified so it cannot fire live ammunition.
If I were to take live ammunition and put it inside of this gun, look at that. I'm saved by the gun.
Now if I take an identical looking gun that is not a prop gun, it looks the same, right?
But look at that, live ammo goes in it. So very important to distinguish between a gun that is being used as a prop and a gun that's been modified, so that it cannot have live ammo introduced into it.
So, no I do not believe anyone who's killed this week with a prop gun -- because prop guns don't accept ammo. They accept blanks. Blanks can go in here. That's it.
NEWTON: So explain to us how this could have happened. There's a lot of language about what is the difference between a hot gun and a cold gun. It seems to be what Alec Baldwin was saying, just after the incident.
WOLF: Yes, there is a lot of "hot gun," "cold gun," "live gun," "warm gun," whatever. there is a lot of hooey (ph). There are guns that have nothing in him, guns that have blanks in them and guns that have ammunition that kills people in them.
A gun that is capable of taking live ammo shouldn't be on set. When we say that we are going live in Hollywood, we mean, with whatever we have planned to do, we are actually going to do it now. We're not rehearsing anymore.
So if we are supposed to blow the car, OK, everyone, we're going live, the car's going to, blow up, boom. OK, we are going live, we are handing out guns that have blanks in them, so we aren't rehearsing anymore.
There is no way anyone would expect that, when they said that they were going live, they actually meant that they were using live ammo, in an unmodified firearm.
NEWTON: To be clear, in your work history, would you have ever used live ammunition, for any reason?
WOLF: I have used live ammunition because I do shows for Discovery and they want to see what does a bullet do to this or that. So, yes, there are times when it is appropriate to use live ammo because we're trying to document what the ammunition does to something.
What is not appropriate is to use live ammo in a theatrical filming. And what is less appropriate, more so, is to ever point the gun at anything you don't want to see a hole in. Even if they tell you it's a prop gun, even if it's only loaded with banks.
Why point it at anyone?
Totally unnecessary, a violation of one of the major firearm safety and just not done. So no one should just hand a gun to an actor and say, here we go. (INAUDIBLE). No, you say this is a prop gun. It's been modified it. It has blanks.
Blanks can kill people so please don't point it at anybody. Then the actor, it's on them at that point to not point it at anyone. But you can't expect an actor without firearms training to know the gun safety rules. That's up to the prop master and the armorer, whoever is in charge of handling the firearm safety on that set to inform the actor how to do it properly.
That, clearly, wasn't done. I doubt that someone said to Alec, you know, don't point this at anyone and then he pointed it at them and fired it. Unlikely.
NEWTON: So as far as you're concerned, you think must have gone completely wrong with safety protocols here. They just weren't followed.
WOLF: If I took a real gun, that's designed to shoot bullets and I put real bullets into that gun and I discharged it in a safe direction, no one would have been hurt. The bullet goes whizzing past everyone's head, people would say, oh, my gosh, I can't believe we're using live ammo.
They would've quit the job and no one would've been killed. If I had taken a prop gun that's been modified and only had blanks in it and I shot it at somebody 20 feet away, probably also nothing would happen.
But if you're pointing a live gun at somebody with real ammo in and you press the trigger, all of a sudden they have a hole in them, well, that is what guns are designed to do.
So it's up to the protocols and the safety procedures to make sure that that's not what happens. And there's lots of ways this is done, this isn't new science, this isn't rocket surgery, we know how guns work.
There are thousands of year old technology. But if you don't follow the rules then you can expect that you're going to create injuries.
NEWTON: Steve Wolf, thank you so much.
WOLF: Thank you, Paula.
NEWTON: That is chilling when he went through all of that.
We want to tell you what more we know about Halyna Hutchins.
NEWTON: During her career, she was involved in 49 films, TV shows and videos, including "Archenemy," released last year.
Adam Egypt Mortimer was one of the directors she has worked with.
And he tweeted, "I am so sad about losing Halyna and so infuriated that this could happen on a set. She was a brilliant talent, who was absolutely committed to art and to film."
Hutchins' husband says their family needs some time to process her death.
Saying, "I don't think there are words to communicate the situation. I am not going to be able to comment about the facts or the process of what we are going through right now. But I appreciate that everyone has been very sympathetic."
To Haiti now, where a new police chief is calling on the entire nation to join the fight against crime. Franz Albe (ph) promises to crack down on gang violence and kidnappings that are ravaging Haiti but he also said, all Haitians have to play a part, in what he called, a big fight against criminals.
He spoke after the recent abduction involving the Ohio based missionary group, Christian Aid Ministries; 17 people, both missionaries and children, are being held by the notorious gang, called the 400 Mawozo.
It is demanding $17 million for their release. And, now, we want to give you an idea of what it is like to, really, be at the mercy of that kind of an infamous gang. A French priest, abducted by the 400 Mawozo earlier this year and was later released. He spoke about his time in captivity with Matt Rivers.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The threat from the 400 Mawozo gang leader, Wilson Joseph, was chilling. It his ransom demands are not, met he, says he will kill the 17 missionaries his gang kidnapped, last weekend. From its stronghold, in the suburb, of Croix-des-Bouquets, the gang has terrorized this community for years. Kidnapping, now, a hallmark tactic to make money.
Something French priest Michel Briand knows, firsthand. We met him in a church compound, in Port-au-Prince. Where, he told us, the same day, that same gang took, him and others, back in April.
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.
RIVERS: 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, made even more difficult by the fact that five of them are children, with the youngest being just 8 months old.
RIVERS (voice-over): In the small town, where the missionary group is based, a protest, calling for their release. Palpable anger rising, toward what they see as an incompetent government.
This protester says, "These missionaries do things for us and our village, that the government doesn't. They've handed the country over to the gang, we demand their release, because these missionaries are everything for us here."
People remain angry, because there are little updates from the government, as to, what if any, progress is being made. A government source says, that is on purpose so as not to make the negotiations harder.
But it remains impossible to know how long the 17 missionaries will remain captive, inside whatever location the gang has placed them.
For Father Briand, it was nearly 3 weeks in total. He said, "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.
NEWTON: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, says, when it comes to young children, the benefits of the Pfizer COVID vaccine outweigh the risks. Now the U.S. drug regulator, posting that assessment, late Friday. Earlier in the day. Pfizer posted data, showing, the vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in children, ages, 5 to 11.
The FDA said while the vaccine carries a theoretical risk of causing heart inflammation, the risk from COVID is higher, if enough virus is circulating. FDA vaccine advisers, meeting the next week, to evaluate Pfizer's application for emergency use authorization, of that shot in young children.
NEWTON: The U.K. reported more than 49,000 new infections Friday but despite those escalating numbers, prime minister Boris Johnson said that the U.K. would stick with its current COVID plan, no lockdowns, no mask mandates.
That has drawn swift backlash from scientists who urged officials to plan for new measures, that can, be rapidly, deployed if needed. On Friday Johnson said the surge in new cases, wasn't outside of the parameters for what had been predicted.
He made the comments while visiting a vaccination clinic in West London, encouraging people over 50 to get their boosters when they were called.
So words, as we know, have power, especially when they reveal too much. Why the White House is rushing to undo President Biden's candid remarks, defending Taiwan.
Plus, the U.S. and Pakistan, may be close to striking a deal to use Pakistani airspace to hunt down terrorists in neighboring Afghanistan.
NEWTON: The Biden White House is trying to tamp down a new fire storm, over Taiwan. Insisting, America's military policy toward the, island has not changed. The controversy erupted at the CNN town hall, Thursday night, when President Biden said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You hear people saying Biden wants to start a new cold war with China. I don't want a cold war with China. I just want to make China
understand that we are not going to step back, we are not going to change any of our views.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So are you saying that the United States would come to Taiwan's defense --
COOPER: -- if China attacked?
BIDEN: Yes, we have a commitment to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Now administration officials say the U.S. remains committed to assisting Taiwan's self-defense. But that policy is intentionally vague about the U.S. military and what it might do if Taiwan were attacked by Mainland China.
U.S. policy toward Taiwan has larger implications for the entire region, especially in South Korea and Japan, which is where we find CNN's Blake Essig.
Nice of you to join us. I know this is making major headlines there. President Biden was forthright in his answer, right?
Something his own Indo-Pacific policy coordinator says the U.S. should never do, in his own words, Kurt Campbell has said, there are some significant downsides to that kind of strategic clarity. Biden went there anyway.
So what is the reaction?
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you might expect, the reaction here, specifically, between Beijing and Taipei, was very different in Taiwan. Biden's words were met with celebration. And Taiwan's foreign ministry, reiterating that the government will continue to strengthen its self-defense capabilities, to fully defend Taiwan in China.
ESSIG: The foreign ministry said, the U.S. should be cautious on the Taiwan issue and not send the wrong message, one that could seriously damage U.S.-China relations and threaten peace and stability, across the Taiwan Strait. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANG WENBIN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON: On issues concerning China's core interests, such as sovereignty and territorial integrity, China has no room for compromise. No one should underestimate the Chinese people's determination and strong ability to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ESSIG: North Korea's foreign ministry described Taiwan as an inseparable territory of China. And condemning the United States for raising military tensions by commenting on Taiwan.
There is no question, tensions are high between Taiwan and Mainland China. Put it into perspective, in just the first 5 days of this, month China sent more than 150 planes, including fighter jets, and nuclear capable bombers into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone. That is a record high.
Recently Taiwan's defense minister said, he believes China will be able to fully launch an attack on the island, by 2025 and military tensions between Beijing and Taipei, are the worst they've been in over 40 years.
Of course, if a conflict does take place, the big question is, will the United States come to Taiwan's defense?
Last night, Paula, during the town hall, President Biden, seemingly, answered that question. Paula?
NEWTON: When he was asked a direct question, he gave a direct answer. Some experts say, the U.S. should be that blunt about it. But there is an uneasy detente between China, and the United States.
What do people say, if there are more blunt words in this direction?
ESSIG: It's hard to argue, it wouldn't make relations between the 2 superpowers worse than they already are, again. According to China's ministry of foreign affairs, the, words and actions, from the U.S., on the situation between China and Taiwan, will seriously damage U.S.- China relations. At the same time, threatening peace and stability, across the Taiwan Strait.
That is what we've seen, here in the region. Seemingly, anytime comments are made and actions are taken, promoting in dependence, China sends Taiwan and, the rest of the international community a not so subtle message, by holding military drills and sending warplanes into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone. It only further escalates tensions, in an already tense region. Paula?
NEWTON: So few words and so many complications to follow it up. Blake, thank you for spelling out for, us we appreciate it.
Now when the last U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan at the end of August, it was a major setback, of course, for U.S. counterterrorism operations in that country. The Biden administration says, it is close to securing a deal, so American drones will continue to fly through Pakistani airspace, as they hunt down ISIS-K and others.
CNN's Oren Liebermann, has the details.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Biden administration told lawmakers in a classified briefing on Friday morning that the U.S. is nearing an agreement with Pakistan, a formalized agreement, for access to their airspace, which is a critical component in getting U.S. military aircraft and drones, to Afghanistan.
To conduct what is called, over the horizon operations, necessary for counter-terrorism efforts and an important part of intelligence gathering efforts, in Afghanistan. The negotiations between the U.S. and Pakistan ongoing, according to 3 sources familiar with the discussions around the briefing on Friday morning.
So that continues. One source says, it is not exactly clear what Pakistan wants and the terms of the agreement could shift amid a lot of back and forth. Pakistan looking for help with its counterterrorism efforts, as well as assistance managing the relationship with India.
Right now, the U.S. military uses Pakistan's airspace to get drones to Afghanistan as the intelligence gathering efforts. And, as part of counter-terrorism efforts. But there is no formal agreement in place, making sure that access continues.
That is a big risk for the Biden administration, because it vowed, it will be able to continue counter-terrorism efforts, as needed. A formalized agreement, a memorandum of understanding, going a long way to making sure that is in place.
Meanwhile, the administration, also, briefed lawmakers that Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are emerging as the top 2 options for basing U.S. military troops, in the region. To also conduct that over the horizon operation. And this point, any U.S. aircraft that wanted to fly to Afghanistan, have to come from the Gulf, hundreds of miles away, from bases and countries, like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
That poses an enormous challenge, because of the distances involved. Bases for, the basing of personnel or troops and equipment in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan would go a long way to solving that problem. All of this is ongoing, but it's a big part of President Biden's pledge that the U.S. will still conduct counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan.
LIEBERMANN: He has been severely criticized by Republicans for not only, of course, how the withdrawal the evacuation from Afghanistan ended but in difficulties doing just that, the ability to carry out counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan -- Oren Liebermann, CNN, in the Pentagon.
NEWTON: Queen Elizabeth is back home and resting. What we know about the monarch's night at a hospital this week. That, after the break.
(MUSIC PLAYING) NEWTON: British prime minister Boris Johnson, sending every possible
good wish, to Queen Elizabeth. The 95-year-old monarch, spending a night in hospital, earlier this week. CNN's Phil Black with the details.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was Wednesday when we first heard the queen was unwell and was reluctantly accepting doctors' advice to stay home and cancel a planned ship to Northern Ireland. We were told she was disappointed.
Buckingham Palace has now confirmed the queen spent Wednesday night in a private hospital in Central London, for what it describes as, preliminary investigations. She left the next day. She was back in Windsor Castle by Thursday lunchtime. Still here, resting, but also working and undertaking live duties.
We know it's not COVID but not much else. That's not unusual; the queen is famously discreet. We rarely hear about the effort and care that is taken to manage her health. The last known hospital stay that was publicly discussed was in 2013. That is for a stomach bug.
A palace source has told CNN the visit was confirmed after the fact because the queen deserves medical privacy. There were practical reasons for staying, overnight and the medical team was being cautious.
The palace is using an important reassuring phrase and that is, she's in good spirits. Stressing she's resting but also working. The clear theme through all the statements on this, please don't make a fuss -- Phil Black, CNN, at Windsor Castle.
NEWTON: A refugee crisis in Europe and the E.U. raises major concerns of migrants being used for political purposes. CNN goes inside of a refugee center, to find out more.
Plus Formula 1 superstar Lewis Hamilton facing another title at the Grand Prix. His goals on and off the track in an exclusive with CNN, next.
NEWTON: The president of the European Union, not funding any barbed wire or wall, at the border with Belarus. Poland's parliament, approved the construction of a border wall last week, amid influx of migrants, traveling through Eastern Europe. There is already barbed wire fencing around the Polish border with
Belarus, as you can see, in these pictures. The E.U. chief on Friday said, there is concern about the situation and accused Belarus of using migrants for political purposes.
Many migrants, hoping to make it to Germany, which is Europe's largest economy. Fred Pleitgen, has more on the people caught in the middle.
FREDERIK 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 Gino (ph) just arrived from Iraq via Belarus with her mother and sister and says Belarusian 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.
PLEITGEN (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?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes. Yes.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Few of the refugees stay in Poland. Most try to move on to Germany, the Brandenburg 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 space -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Germany.
NEWTON: So the Boston Celtics' Enes Kanter is again, angering China, posting a second video in as many days, harshly critical of Xi Jinping and China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ENES KANTER, BOSTON CELTICS: Right now, as I speak this message, torture, rape, forced abortions and sterilizations.
KANTER: Family separations. Arbitrary detentions. Concentration camps. Political reeducation. Forced labor. This is all happening, right now to more than 1.8 million Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, in north and western China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: You also noticed the T-shirt he's wearing there. He ignited a furious backlash among basketball fans in China, with these, custom- made shoes in a video, condemning Beijing's treatment of people in Tibet.
Beijing denies any wrongdoing but is notoriously thin-skinned about criticism. After Kanter's first broadside, China canceled showing the Celtics' next game. His name was blocked on some Chinese fan websites.
The Formula 1 title race is heating up again. At this time, they're headed to the United States' Grand Prix, on Sunday. All eyes on the rivalry between British superstar Lewis Hamilton and Dutchman Max Verstappen.
Now Hamilton has a good record in Austin but is 6 points behind Verstappen in the standings right now. CNN's "WORLD SPORT's" Coy Wire, exclusively, sat down with Hamilton ahead of the race.
LEWIS HAMILTON, F1 SUPERSTAR: I love coming out here, being in the States, I spend as much time as I can in the States. And the people are really beautiful and positive. Every time we come here, we have the best crowd.
Americans are the greatest sporting fans. There are just so crazy. Once they have the hook and they are into something, the energy they bring is spectacular. That's something I really have missed so it's good to be back in the middle of it.
COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Max Verstappen is rolling right now.
What is the biggest challenge for you, finishing, ahead of him this season?
HAMILTON: It's a whole team of, us right?
There's many people on our team. It's keeping people on our toes, minimizing mistakes. We need to finish those remaining races and scoring maximum points. I think just making we are continuing to enjoy the journey and not apply too much pressure to themselves.
We've been here many, many times before but not let that desire and that yearn for success, overpower, everything and put added pressure on us that we don't need.
But it's all about preparations, now back in training, pushing harder than ever, trimming down, getting the weight just right for the race and making sure we kill it this weekend.
WIRE: You don't have much to lose, so that's --
WIRE: -- as a former wrestler, had to cut to make weight. I respect that.
HAMILTON: It's crazy. And people don't realize weight is so important for us, that 2.2 pounds, worth 0.3 seconds. So there is a race that is over 2 seconds, I think. So that can be a big distance.
WIRE: Incredible when you think about it.
WIRE: When you think about your journey, what does that represent to you?
HAMILTON: My dream was always to get to Formula 1, to do something like (INAUDIBLE). He had 3 world titles. Then, to see him myself match him, at one point and then go beyond that.
To think that I'm here today, where most people don't even get one championship, then, to have, 7 is very, very crazy, still. But every year, when I come back, it is like a reset. I'm not a champion, I have no titles, I'm going for the first. That's kind of my mentality.
WIRE: You were always the smallest one growing up, bullied in school at times.
How did you persevere through those moments?
For those who may be going through something similar right now?
HAMILTON: The fact is, there will be so many people who are going through, it in different ways. You have social media, bullying and hate that is constantly growing and obviously, we need to push to have these platforms, do more to protect the youth.
My dad would always just, say do your talking on the track. So I am a fighter. So I want to -- when I was getting bullied by these bigger kids, I always wanted to fight back. But I was too weak.
So for example, I went and did karate, because I wanted to be able to channel that aggression I had and learn to be able to protect myself and potentially anyone who was around me.
And then, I put it into my racing. When I was on the racing track and parents would, say you aren't good enough or parents would shout names at my dad or at me, particularly kids would do that, so I would go out there and just beat them. And It's a good feeling when you do that. You hit them where it hurts. That's it.
WIRE: Incredible champion, on the track. But also, off of it. Champion for change.
What is the mission now for Mission 44?
HAMILTON: The mission of Mission 44 is to create change, to create opportunities for underprivileged kids, to create more diversity within my industry, for example. We just did a great bit of research. Only 1 percent of the 40,000 people in the industry, in the U.K. alone, are from Black backgrounds. Going to change the pipeline.
HAMILTON: Get more eyes and get more encouragement for young kids, getting into STEM subjects so they realize there are so many great avenues that engineering can lead to. So that is the goal there but also, shifting some of the systemic issues that are in the educational system, in the U.K.
For example, I was part of a system that failed me in school. Young Africans in the U.K. are 2.5 times more likely to be expelled. And I was one of those. It was actually for something I never actually did but the headmaster was --
WIRE: You got blamed?
HAMILTON: Yes. And so there's a huge amount of work to do. What I really wanted to make sure, is that from the findings from The Hamilton Commission, it is not just a commission that just gives information, it is actually a commission and a foundation, that really does something.
Even here in the States.
HAMILTON: Even if you just look at my industry within the States, you are seeing what Bubba is doing. And I don't know if they even notice how great he is in being but when you're the only one of color in a room or in an industry, you notice it. And you wonder why.
NEWTON: Thanks to Coy Wire there, in that interview, with Lewis Hamilton.
Back in the early 1980s, it was a long time ago, many New Wave bands, probably, didn't think that they'd still be playing 40 years later, including Duran Duran. Take a listen.
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NEWTON (voice-over): Duran Duran have just released their 15th album, called "Future Past." It commemorates a decades long career since their debut album, in 1981. The song, "Anniversary," is basically a happy birthday to themselves. The group started work on their latest album, in 2018, after some pandemic related difficulties, they finally released, it this week.
JOHN TAYLOR, DURAN DURAN: We would never have expected to still, be making music together, after all this time. We were just kids. We came together in punk rock, in the late '70s. Nobody was thinking long- term, it was like, could we just play next year?
But I think, as time has passed and we've grown into each other, we are perfectly matched for each other. We've grown together, as artists.
NEWTON (voice-over): Formed in 1978, Duran Duran rose to fame with hits such as "Girls on Film" and "Rio." They have sold more than 100 million records, worldwide.
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NEWTON: And, thank you so much for spending part of your day with me. I'm Paula Newton. "MARKETPLACE AFRICA," starting right after the break. Then, I'll be back with more news around the world. Stay with, us you're watching CNN.